Horror Lit: The Apple Tree

My best friend recommended to me Daphne du Maurier’s story “The Apple Tree.” I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of this author, although I was familiar with her work, unbeknownst to me. Her works Rebecca and “The Birds” were the stories behind Alfred Hitchcock’s movies of the same names, and which are both on my reading list now.

When I began reading “The Apple Tree,” I was expecting it to be something between Johnny Appleseed and Sleepy Hollow — only based on the title. I was very wrong. Instead, it was an engaging tale of a marriage turned sour. Told from the perspective of an old man who only sees what is wrong with his wife, du Maurier pulls you into a sad story of how life can be made harder when there is no love left between a couple.

The image of the apple tree was used very well in the story to represent the bitterness between the protagonist and his wife, and it reminded me of an earlier ghost story from the 19th century by Elia Peattie called “The Crime of Micah Rood.” Similarly, this story was told from the perspective of an old man, but that and the apple tree image are where the similarities end. This story is about poverty, jealousy and greed … and regret.

When I read “The Crime of Micah Rood,” I was struck by the central image of the apple tree. In both this story and “The Apple Tree,” the tree and its fruit act in supernatural ways that reflect the protagonists’ struggles. Peattie’s story is much shorter, but just as satisfying as du Maurier’s. They are good stories to read as companion pieces.

du Maurier, Daphne. “The Apple Tree,” The Birds and Other Stories, Virago, 2004, originally published as The Apple Tree: A Short Novel and Several Long Stories, Gollancz, 1952.

Peattie, Elia. “The Crime of Micah Rood,” Great American Ghost Stories, ed. Bill Bowers, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

Halloween Décor Ideas

Bloody Candles

For a straightforward, scary piece of Halloween décor, take a red candle and melt it over top of a white one so the red wax runs down like blood.


Cheesecloth Spirits

Glue cheesecloth onto foam mannequin heads (available at wig shops) and hang them from the ceiling. Spook them up with a fan on low speed.

Find many more great Halloween décor ideas at homedit: 20 Super Scary Halloween Decorations.

Paper Cup Ghosts

I love the simplicity of this Halloween craft. All you need are some white paper cups and a black marker, which are easy enough to get at a dollar store. Turn the cups upside down, draw goofy ghost faces and—voilà!

Visit Non-Toy Gifts to learn how to add glowing noses to these spooky cuties.

Ghost Cinema Trivia: Ghostbusters (1984)

In the middle of the film’s initial release, to keep interest going, Ivan Reitman ran a trailer that was basically the commercial the Ghostbusters used in the movie, but the 555 number was replaced with a 1-800 number, allowing people to actually call in. Callers got a recorded message of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd saying something to the effect of “Hi. We’re out catching ghosts right now.” They got 1,000 calls per hour, 24 hours a day, for six weeks.

Read more behind-the-scenes facts at IMDb: Ghostbusters (1984) Trivia.

Haunted Canada: The Screaming Tunnel, Niagara Falls, Canada

The Screaming Tunnel is a small limestone tunnel, running underneath what once was the Grand Trunk Railway lines (now the Canadian National Railways), located in the northwest corner of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

A local legend recounts that the tunnel is haunted by the ghost of a young girl, who after escaping a nearby burning farm building with her clothing ablaze, died within its walls. Several variants of the legend exist locally, one version has the girl set on fire by her enraged father after he loses custody of his children after a nasty divorce. Another tells of a young girl being raped inside the tunnel and her body burned to prevent any evidence from being found. All versions of these legends ends with the girl screams filling up the tunnel as she was burning to death.

Learn more about the Screaming Tunnel and how one version of the legend has become a rite of passage for local youths on Creepy Canada:

The information above about the Screaming Tunnel is from Wikipedia: Screaming Tunnel.

Haunted USA: Alcatraz Spectral Visitor

Teaching assistant Sheila Sillery-Walsh from Birmingham took the photo on her iPhone 5c when she visited the former prison in April while on holiday in San Francisco with her partner, Paul Rice.

The 48-year-old said: “Alcatraz Penitentiary is a must-see for any tourist. However as soon as we entered the prison, everything felt very eerie. I didn’t feel comfortable there.

“Whilst doing an audio-tour of the place, I casually stopped to take a snap of the empty visitation block window on my iPhone.”

The couple have tried to find out the identity of the ghostly woman in the photo by contacting staff at the Alcatraz site, but none of the old-timers could recognize the woman in the picture.

“I am so curious to know who she could be though – perhaps she was a female visitor of a prisoner who kept returning back. I would love to know why she’s shown herself in my photo.

“Weirdly when we were near that cell, a woman came on the audio tour who used to visit a prisoner. It makes you wonder.”

From DailyMail.com — The ghost of Alcatraz: Tourists spooked by photograph of young woman waiting in the notorious prison’s visitation block