The Damned
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The Damned

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  26 reviews
And instinctively, once alone, I made for the places where she had painted her extraordinary pictures; I tried to see what she had seen. Perhaps, now that she had opened my mind to another view, I should be sensitive to some similar interpretation--and possibly by way of literary expression. If I were to write about the place, I asked myself, how should I treat it? I delib...more
Kindle Edition, 116 pages
Published (first published 1914)
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Irena
Compared to today's horror stories, The Damned would disappoint you if you want and expect things to jump at you.

Bill and Frances are visiting their widowed friend, who has just come back home. Her home, the Towers, seems to have kept her bigoted preacher husband's essence.
Nothing ever happens in the Towers. The thing is, the most frightening thing here is the wait. They constantly expect something, anything really, to make itself known. That lack of action is the actual story and its essence is...more
Jack
This is one of those books that gets hurt by modern horror writing. The atmosphere is creepy and there is a constant sense of dread throughout. You constantly expect something horrible to happen, and it never really does. A lot of reviewers on this site have used that as a criticism. They say nothing really happens, which was exactly the point of the book, even going so far as being explicitly stated.

The characters do not trust that their feelings are genuine. They want to leave, but they feel f...more
Portia S
This was alright. The point of the book I think was that horror is not always one that peaks to the point of ultimate terror, but sometimes there are several layers of the haunted area which are fighting for complete control. Yet they cannot have it, and in the end, only the seeming ascension of something that is about to happen occurs, however nothing really happens. I know, sort of confusing isn't it?

The book is about a brother and sister, Bill and Frances who visit a friend of theirs, Mabel(...more
Ryan McCarthy
This longer story (or is it a novella?) would be a great exhibit of Blackwood's mastery of nameless dread if one could just ignore the denouement. Like in his better work, such as "The Willows," Blackwood is able to conjure all shades of terror from subtle impressions and details, made all the more intense because of the inability to define it or explain it away. The atmosphere through the middle of the tale is therefore classic Blackwood. The problem arises when an explanation begins to surface...more
Mike McArtor
This wasn't bad, but it lacks action. The narrator himself, and I kid you not, mentions several times that "nothing happens" and the lack of things happening is a central aspect of the story. Up until the narrator starts pounding into us that nothing happens there's a hope that the constant buildup of tension will find a released. But no. That doesn't happen. Because nothing actually happens.

This is an atmospheric piece and it is at its best when indulging in the slow and steady construction of...more
Nancy Butts
Over and over again in this story, the narrator says the horror of the “haunted house” in which he, his sister, and the “damned” hostess are staying lies in this: “Nothing happened.” And the whole story feels like that; nothing much does happen. There is a clearcut theme in this story, one that grew out of Blackwood’s childhood with a domineering father who apparently subscribed to a conservative Christian sect that preached judgment and damnation. Blackwood condemns that utterly in this story,...more
Christina
I have found a new author to love. An excellent ghost story...
David Elkin
actually listening to the podcast-on chapter 5-Very well read (and free).

Now finally finished as I listened to the last chapter.

I found a treasure trove of free Lovecraft and Lovecraft like tales:
http://cthulhupodcast.blogspot.com/

Excellent reader who keeps you interested.

As for the story The Damned is interesting for the time it was written. It was only 116 pages, thus certainly could be classified a novella. He wrote it in 1914 and was a fairly brave examination of intolerant religious bigot...more
Sistermagpie
Interesting book by Algernon Blackwood! A brother and sister spend some time with a recently widowed friend. Her deceased husband was a strict fire and brimstone preacher who damned everyone who didn't believe like him to hell. His less strong-willed wife fell under his spell, but now the house seems to be haunted by...a shadow? Goblins? Ghostly pagans? Or many different things at once.

It's an interesting concept, a house possessed by the strong beliefs of those who lived there before. I imagine...more
Mary
While I am fascinated with the idea of damnation since my Isaiah class, this is a tedious book where nothing happens. There is backstory and leadup and...nothing happens. People's hair stand on end, they faint and shutter and hear mysterious sounds (or do they?) and...nothing happens. I'm not anti-nothingness; I love Chekhov's pained nothing-happening in The Cherry Orchard , but here it's merely the old Lovecraft racket of "something so horrifying it can't be described" and even more irritating...more
Dennis
I always give books here five stars and simply because I am too lazy to rate them. Someday I will make revisions though I believe.
I liked this book because I kept waiting for something really scary to happen and yet nothing ever really did. Quite unlike the film 'The Changeling' in which something happened in like every scene.
It still had the same level of suspense as The Changeling though because of the cool Victorian wording. I think that it was first published in 1914. That's still Victori...more
Tricotaine
This story has a slow rhythm to it. You get caught in the atmosphere of the house and as it is said so many times "nothing happens". That said the atmosphere of terror and the tension crafted in parts of the book is amazing. True nothing happens but the tension is palpable and it makes the book.
Brian Cooke
May well be among the most atypical ghost stories I've ever read with a palpable tension that had me tensing my shoulder to the point where I'd have to put it down just to take a break. This was an odd one since I normally deplore any story where there's divergence from the typical buildup and climax. This one ramps up, get's going and then it just sort of ends. Yet I am thoroughly satisfied. :)
Holly
This was really pretty good! I'd like to give it 3.5 stars, not just 3, but can't. Considering when this was written, I can imagine it gave people quite a scare! There were parts of the book where I was a little on edge. Doesn't come right out with big scary things coming at you. He uses subtle imagery to allow the reader to use his/her imagination to fill in the scary parts. Nice!
Justin Howe
Not quite 4 stars but I rounded up. There are better Blackwood stories out there than this one, however this is still a Blackwood story and as such it delivers at least one chilling and eerie moment, while also remaining hopeful. Parts of it reminded me of the Nicole Kidman movie "The Others".

Also you can download it from Project Gutenberg!
Jeremy Stephens
I couldn't decide wether to give this 3 or 4 stars because although it is a classic haunted house story and does present an original expanation for the paranormal activity, it's kinda dry at time and most of the activity in the house is too subtle for my liking. Still, it really wasn't too bad of a read.
Kathryn
Not up to par with Blackwood's other works but I have a tendency to prefer his short horror stories. This was more of a suspenseful experience, still good though. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the 'goblin garden'.
Bianca van Willigenburg
Good story, I wouldn't classify this as horror but as suspense. Something's happening that isn't natural but it never really comes to a climax. In the end everything is neatly explained to the reader, and main character.
John Gillespie
A great haunted house story along the lines of Turn of the Screw and the Haunting of Hill House. This is my first time reading Algernon Bloackwood, and I hope his other works as as subtle and well-written.
Walter
A suspenseful, gripping tale about the tyranny of closed mindedness disguised as a horror novel. A few plot devices I could have done without but overall quite good. A lesser Lovecraft.
Elleigh
This gave me the s$&ts mainly because of the perpetual rise to climax that grew on you the entire story whilst getting steadily creepier
Abi_88
This story held me captivate from beginning to end. The struggle of beliefs and fears seemed very real to me.
Aara
Some great imagery and atmosphere, but the ending is a bit...uneventful.
Sёkoya♪♫ Dixon
Style!!!!
-76 to 150 years old: 10 points (1860-1934)
Angela
so slow and ugh, but it was an all right read.
Aslynn Absher
Aslynn Absher marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2014
Patty
Patty marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2014
Ross Diskin
Ross Diskin marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2014
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Blackwood was born in Shooter's Hill (today part of south-east London, but then part of northwest Kent) and educated at Wellington College. His father was a Post Office administrator who, according to Peter Penzoldt, "though not devoid of genuine good-heartedness, had appallingly narrow religious ideas".Blackwood had a varied career, farming in Canada, operating a hotel, as a newspaper reporter in...more
More about Algernon Blackwood...
The Willows Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood The Wendigo Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories

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