THERE HAS lately been a sudden revival of the appetite for tales of horror. First, Pocket Books published The Pocket Mystery Reader and The Pocket Book of Mystery Stories. Then came Tales of Terror, with an introduction by Boris Karloff; Creeps by Night, with an introduction by Dashiell Hammett; and Best Ghost Stories of M. R. James (all three brought out by World). Finally, Random House has produced a prodigious anthology called Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, edited by Herbert A. Wise and Phyllis Fraser.
One had supposed that the ghost story itself was already an obsolete form; that it had been killed by the electric light. It was only during the ages of candlelight that the race of ghosts really flourished, though they survived through the era of gas. A candle can always burn low and be blown out by a gust of air, and it is a certain amount of trouble to relight it, as is also the case with a gas-jet. But if you can reach out and press a button and flood every corner of the room, leaving the specter quite naked in his vapor, or if you can transfix him out of doors with a flashlight, his opportunities for haunting are limited. It is true that one of the most famous of ghost stories, Defoe Apparition of Mrs. Veal, takes place in the afternoon; that it is a part of the effectiveness of The Turn of the Screw that its phantoms appear out-