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Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  187 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The flare was momentary, followed by black darkness, in which, however, the apparition still showed white and motionless; then by insensible degrees it faded and vanished, like a bright image on the retina after the closing of the eyes. A peculiarity of the apparition, hardly noted at the time, but afterward recalled, was that it showed only the upper half of the woman's f ...more
Kindle Edition, 49 pages
Published (first published 1913)
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Community Reviews

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Paquita Maria Sanchez
SPOILER WARNING: I didn't even finish this book. My opinion is un-researched and I fully accept this fact. I normally don't even add books to goodreads that I haven't completely completed to completion, but I felt this twisted (some would say thoughtful) need to warn you off. Awwhhhhnnngrrr. I guess I sorta love you guys. And what's more is, I LOOOOOOOOOVE to bitch. So let's get to it, shall we?

Seriously, ever heard the phrase "one-trick pony?" I mean, An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge was mostly
...more
Simon Ph.D.
This short collection is guaranteed to make you feel eerie in those cold, dark nights when you stayed home alone to read. But then again how else to savor these stories? Here is a pointer. Get your hands on a copy of this book sometime around mid-day Friday. Blow off your friends for the night and go straight home. Wait until the daylight is just a memory and then sit with this book on your favorite old chair, preferably near a window, and delve into it with only the nightstand light on. Take ti ...more
Grace Harwood
I quite enjoyed reading this short volume of ghost stories from Ambrose Bierce. Again (as in The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter) there is that famous Gothic trope of distancing himself as the author from the tales by stating that they have been told to him as true and the reader is not to question too much as to explanations. However, something akin to an explanation is attempted at the end with Dr. Hem's theory of "cavities" in the earth being as "Space is pervaded by luminiferous ether..." wh ...more
Theresahpir
While not a book that would be of interest to everyone, I found Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories to be a wonderfully delightful collection of spooky stories set around the Civil War era. Each story was short and to the point, not relying on a lot of convoluted and unnecessary details and imagery to...enhance...the reader's experience.

It's an interesting way of presenting this collection of ghost stories. In what comes across as a journalistic presentation of facts, as opposed to flow
...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Bierce's eerie tales of mystery. I have an audio version which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Linda
Ambrose Bierce was a contemporary of Mark Twain but much more acerbic and less prolific. I'm not sure how to describe his style - I think it's something you either like or you don't. I do. After reading M.R. James's Collected Ghost Stories, I felt in the mood for more and read this one. A world of difference. Where James is florid and Victorian, Bierce is terse and American. But both write good stories. These are exceptionally short, some only a few paragraphs. But some of the shortest ones pack ...more
Holly
I listened to a Librivox audio recording of this book when commuting on the train. The ghost stories were short, simple, subtle, not overly dramatic or sensationalized - and eerily spooky for that.

If I had read them on a dark, windy night, or as a child, I think I would have been so crept out by their weird surreality that I would've been kept from sleeping.

...As it was 6am and I'd been up since five, I had little trouble dozing on the train.
Arax Miltiadous
Jan 18, 2013 Arax Miltiadous rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arax by: Τολης Κουκουλουδης
εχμ ναι...
" Συμβαίνει...
... και στους πιο Επιφυλακτικούς!"
Αυτό θα προσέθετα στο τέλος του βιβλίου, συνοδευόμενο με την ανατριχιαστική φώτο του Bierce και ένα σκίτσο σαρδόνιου χαμόγελου.
Το βιβλίο, όπως προϊδεάζει και ο τίτλος, περιλαμβάνει διηγήματα.
Διηγήματα σκοτεινά, με μια αρχαϊκή πνοή επαρχιώτικου μυστηρίου να τα διέπει, εμπνευσμένα ή ακόμη και βασισμένα σε ρεαλιστικότατα συμβάντα.
Παραδέχομαι ότι χρειάστηκε να διαβάσω όλο το " Συμβαίνει και στους πιο ρεαλιστές", την πρώτη υποενότητα δηλαδή, γ
...more
Patrick
Interesting read. Concise little stories about ghostly happenings. I could string together several to make a more modern horror story, which makes these good source material for sparking writing ideas.

I've read the compiled writings of Charles Forte, particularly The Book of the Damned, which this reminded me of. I suspect Forte of borrowing Bierce's format for his works.
Pam
Some of the best. Discovered this when researching stories of time slips; specifically the story about the man who disappears while walking through a field, in "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field". Even more curious that Bierce himself disappeared years later.
Yas

I enjoyed this book, a short story collection of VERY short stories, about 20 in all, relating to ghostly presences, appearances and mysterious disappearances of people and so on.

My only complaint would be that the stories were in some cases ridiculously short of which made me think, well what was the point in that?! But for the most part I enjoyed all of the stories, all of which are broken down into various sections such as haunted houses, mysterious disappearances, army related and so on, so
...more
Eric Carter
The stories were hit or miss with me. I enjoyed the story "spook house" the most.
Shawn Fairweather
40 pages of various storylines that are often repetitive. Some may have trouble finding the stories scary due to the fact that this piece is dated especially when compared to modern standards but remember that these stories are over a 150 years old. In any event the stories are not well developed and seem to be simply plot lines often ranging from a few paragraphs to a couple of pages. Often times they dont feel like stories at all but more or less someone revisiting an experience they believe t ...more
Cooper Renner
Not horror, but old-fashioned quietly told ghost stories and stories of strange "disappearances." Interesting, moody.
Martha
Not really a collection of actual ghost stories, more like a collection of non-fleshed-out story outlines. Some are literally paragraphs long.
I'm not familiar with the author and his abilities, but it seems like he should have been able to elaborate on these a bit to make them more interesting. Some, like the title story, read like a short blurb in a newspaper. I was not actually engaged enough to read every story, someone please enlighten me if they feel there's a worthwhile Bierce story I sho
...more
Lynn
These ghost stories all take place at or around the time of the Civil War. It makes sense that the war would spur ghost stories and many of them in this collection are fine. I have to say the first story, Present at a Hanging was my favorite so as I read on, the stories had less charm for me. Still, the collection was entertaining and fun. Everyone likes to be scared once in awhile and ghost stories help us deal with our inner most fears.
Sarah
These are civil war-era short ghost stories. Nothing incredible, just some spooky little tidbits to be told around a campfire. It took me a couple to get a feel for them; they're very simple, but it was worth a read.
Elizabeth
Actually very creepy. A proper good old fashioned ghost story collection to sit around a fire at Halloween and tell each other until you're too scared to go to the bathroom by yourself.
Gian
Bierce's writings haven't aged particularly well but one could easily imagine still getting a few chills reading these stories around a campfire.
Paul Foley
Who doesn't love a good ghost story? These mostly Civil War-era short tales satisfy the craving for the spooky and irrational.
Ivan Soto
I read this as part of Classic American Literature: 13 books by Bierce in a single file, improved 1/7/2011 [Kindle Edition]
A.R.
This is a really cool non-fiction book. Here we get a fascinating collection of very short, true ghost stories.
Emma
Not worth your time. The author uses good language, but the plots aren't scary, only a little bit interesting.
Justin Howe
These aren't so much ghost stories as journalistic accounts of hauntings and other strange occurrences.
Carla
Really fun little collection of old, classic, not-so-scary ghost stories.
Jo
I was unimpressed with these so called ghost stories. Disappointed.
Nick Kinsella
What a load of tosh. The least scary ghost stories ever. Avoid.
Hazen Master
Neat stories. Most were too short.
Shaun Murray
Shaun Murray is currently reading it
Dec 18, 2014
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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary.

The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the nickname "Bitt
...more
More about Ambrose Bierce...
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary Ghost and Horror Stories The Complete Short Stories Civil War Stories

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