Wanna see something really scary?

pan_horror.jpgXeni Jardin and Boing Boing readers reminisce today about the childhood traumas inspired by Sesame Street characters. Wimps, say I, although in fairness I was too old to be frightened of Muppetry by the time that stuff appeared on British TV screens.

Scariest thing in the Coulthart household, easily out-classing anything on children’s television (Doctor Who monsters included), was the cover of the third Pan Book of Horror Stories. My parents had a small collection of paperbacks from the early Sixties which included some horror and occult fiction. My sister and I found this book one day while rooting in an old suitcase and were both mortified by it. I seem to remember there being dares to go and look at it again and also have vague recollections of at least one nightmare occurring as a result. A shame there isn’t a larger scan available since I’m curious to know who the artist was.

pan_horror2.jpgA few years later I was reading the Pan series myself although I never went back to this particular one. Herbert van Thal’s selections got off to a good start, reprinting old horror classics with newer fiction, but soon degenerated into detailed and repetitive tales of dismemberment and blood-letting, the kind of stuff that makes you think “cool” when you’re a teenage boy but which is otherwise worthless. Most of the writers in the later books are unheard of elsewhere which makes me suspect they were probably hacks earning a quick couple of quid writing under pseudonyms. The strangest thing about volume three now is looking at the contents list and seeing that we had stories by William Hope Hodgson and Algernon Blackwood in the house all that time and I never knew it.

Update: The cover artist was W Francis Phillips.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Druillet meets Hodgson
A playlist for Halloween
Ghost Box
Le horreur cosmique