Gothicism must abide on a frontier—whether physical or psy-
chical—and it is not necessarily European.
— DAVID MOGEN ET AL., Frontier Gothic
The land [Vietnam] was haunted. We were fighting forces that
did not obey the laws of twentieth-century science.
— TIM O'BRIEN, The Things They Carried
As the problematic influence of place will figure . . . in our nar-
rative . . . I think it strategic for me to digress, as it were; and to
provide for the reader a brief summary of the history (both au-
thentic and “legendary”) of the Devil's Half-Acre. For, while to
some knowledgeable persons the very name of the place con-
notes lawlessness, and mystery, and, indeed, the demonic; in oth-
ers, I am afraid, it strikes no familiar chord at all.
— JOYCE CAROL OATES, Mysteries of Winterthurn
Let us begin our quest for a typology of horror with a meditation on the environment of ghosts. But can we take the issue seriously? It's a joke, perhaps; or, as Joyce Carol Oates ironically suggests, “it strikes no familiar chord at all” (158-59). For the modern rational mind at least, ghosts are easy to dismiss: inhabitants of Disneyland funhouses and low-budget Hollywood films or the staple model of children's costuming at Halloween. But Tim O'Brien's comment on GI lingo sug