ghost tales: dead, white & blue

reputation as a searing critic, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers. Bierce employed a
distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. His style often embraces an abrupt beginning,
dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, impossible events and the theme of
war. In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution.
While traveling with rebel troops, he disappeared without a trace. Despite an abundance of theories
(including death by suicide), his end remains shrouded in mystery, another tale of the unknown.
Stephen King: “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates”
Stephen Edwin King, born September 21, 1947, is an American author of contemporary
horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350
million copies, and many of them have been adapted into feature films, television movies, and
comic books. King has published fifty-five novels, six non-fiction books, and nearly two
hundred short stories. King has received numerous awards for his work including the
Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation.
Robert Weinberg: “The Midnight El”
Robert Weinberg is an American author. His work spans several genres including non-fiction, science fiction, horror, and comic books. Born in New Jersey in 1946, Weinberg sold his first story
in 1967, and has been writing for the last few decades. Weinberg is also an editor, and has edited
books in the fields of horror, science fiction, and the western. Along with his sixteen novels, he is
the author of more than fifty short stories. Some of his more popular short fiction includes “The
Midnight El” (1994) in Return to the Twilight Zone. His work has been translated into sixteen
languages including French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Hungarian, and has been published in hardcover and softcover all over the world.
James Thurber: “The Night the Ghost Got In”
James Thurber, the author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and the creator of numerous
New Yorker magazine cover cartoons, was born in Columbus, Ohio on December 8, 1894.
One of the foremost American humorists of the 20th century, his inimitable wit and
pithy prose spanned a breadth of genres, including short stories, modern commentary,
fiction, children’s fantasy and letters. Thurber wrote nearly 40 books, and won a Tony Award
for his play, A Thurber Carnival, in which he often starred as himself. One of his books,
My World and Welcome To It, was turned into an NBC television series in 1969-1970.
Robert Bloch: “That Hell Bound Train”
Robert Albert Bloch ( April 5, 1917 – September 23, 1994) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a
prolific American fiction writer, primarily of crime, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. He is best
known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock. He wrote
that “Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my
desk,” (a quote borrowed by Stephen King and often misattributed to him). Bloch wrote hundreds of
short stories and more than 30 novels. He won the Hugo Award for this evening’s selection “That HellBound Train”. He won other awards and was a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Science Fiction Writers of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences and the Count Dracula Society. In 2008, The Library of America selected Bloch’s essay
“The Shambles of Ed Gein” (1962) for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American true
crime. His work has been extensively adapted for the movies and television, comics and audio books.
Dead, White & Blue
Stephen King  James Thurber
Robert Bloch  Robert Weinberg
Ambrose Bierce  Washington Irving
Pendragon Theatre Presents
Dead, White, and Blue
Ghost Tales
A ghost story may be any piece of fiction that includes a ghost, or simply takes as a premise the
possibility of ghosts or the characters’ belief in them. The “ghost” may appear of its own accord or
be summoned by magic. Linked to the ghost is the idea of “hauntings”, where a supernatural entity
is tied to a place, object or person.
Dead, White & Blue
Washington Irving
“The Adventure of the German Student”
Ambrose Bierce
“Charles Ashmore’s Trail”
Stephen King
“The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates”.
Ambrose Bierce
“Staley Flemming’s Hallucination”
Robert Weinberg
“The Midnight El”
James Thurber
“The Night The Ghost Got In”
Robert Bloch
“That Hell Bound Train”
Pendragon’s programs are made possible with public funds from
The New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.
Additional support is also received from the
Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks
Cultural Assistance Program, NYSCA and Essex County.
Colloquially, the term “ghost story” can refer to any kind of scary story. These types
of tales lend themselves to short fiction. They are stories of the supernatural with elements of horror. While ghost stories are often explicitly meant to be scary, they have been
written to serve all sorts of purposes, from comedy to morality tales. Ghosts often appear in
narratives as sentinels or prophets.
A widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material.
Anthropologists link this idea to early beliefs that ghosts were the person within the person (the
person’s spirit), most noticeable in ancient cultures as a person’s breath, which upon exhaling in
colder climates appears visibly as a white mist.
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost, sometimes known as a specter, phantom,
apparition or spook, is the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear, in
visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts
vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to
realistic, lifelike visions. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular
locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of phantom armies,
ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.
Ghost or ghostly tales have been around since people first gathered around fires every evening. And,
whether or not people in our own times in America believe in ghosts, we enjoy gathering together
by our firesides, in movie theatres, at home in front of the TV, or at gatherings such as our own
today to share in the fiction of the otherworldly, just for the joy of letting ourselves be terrorized.
Washington Irving: “The Adventure of the German Student”
Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat. He is best known for his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” (1819)
and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820). His historical works include biographies of George
Washington, Oliver Goldsmith and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain. Irving
served as the U.S. ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846. He made his literary debut in 1802, and
continued to publish regularly—and almost always successfully—throughout his life. Irving was
among the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe. He encouraged American authors such
as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe.
Irving was admired by some European writers, including Walter Scott, Lord Byron, and Charles
Dickens. Irving advocated for writing as a legitimate profession, and argued for stronger laws to
protect American writers from copyright infringement.
Ambrose Bierce: “Charles Ashmore’s Trail” and “Staley Flemming’s Hallucination”
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American editorialist, journalist,
short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. His vehemence as a critic, his motto “Nothing matters”,
and his sardonic view of human nature, all earned him the nickname “Bitter Bierce”. Despite his