I recently did a recording on YouTube of the Kate Chopin short story, The Story of an Hour.

It’s a very short story, more flash fiction: it’s a thousand and thirteen words long and took my just short of eight minutes to read out.

The Story of an Hour was originally published in 1894 in Vogue magazine, though its title at that time was The Dream of an Hour.

The Story of an Hour shows how our life is completely transformed by seeing things from different perspectives. …

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery Causes Outrage

First published in 1948 in The New Yorker, The Lottery both caused outrage and brought fame to Shirley Jackson. The New Yorker got more letters about this story than any other story in its history.

Justifiably so. The Lottery is a horrifying story and perfectly constructed. I think it’s a masterpiece.

Listen to my reading of it here.

Read the story for yourself online here.

Now, I want to look first at the construction.

The setting is an ordinary everyday world. It’s a beautiful June day in New England. This is a folksy American village…

Long Meg And Her Daughter by Tony Walker

Long Meg And Her Daughters

Long Meg and her daughters is a large stone circle that lies some miles outside Penrith in Cumbria near the village of Little Salkeld. It’s the sixth-largest stone circle in North-West Europe. It has never been formally excavated but what we see today probably dates from the late Stone Age and the early Bronze Age.

Long Meg sits close to the River Eden. There are many neolithic monuments nearby in the Eden Valley, and it seems to have been a cultural focus for Neolithic people.

The most impressive monuments like Long Meg, King Arthur’s Round Table at Eamont Bridge and…

And How Do They Get Their Suits So Wrinkle-Free?

Photo by Danny SwellChasers on Unsplash

You may be familiar with the movie franchise, Men In Black (I-III), but this article is not about that. If you were hoping it was, stop reading now and go and read “Five Ways I Made $350,000 While Asleep in Bali.”

This story is about real Men In Black, or at least it’s about the Men In Black that people claim are real. So it’s not about the Men In Black who openly admit they are actors such as Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.

I have to admit that there’s something about the shiny black suits that unnerves me…

Photo by Rhett Wesley on Unsplash: This Story Contains Amazon Affiliate Links

Can You Get What You Want Just By Wanting It?

Even those who believe that magic works would say it’s not as simple as merely wanting something and then getting it. If that were true, I’d have been happily married to Kate Bush since 1981. We would have met in 1978, but I wouldn’t want to rush things so prolonged the engagement.

No, it’s not so simple. If it was, why did the most competent magician of modern times — by his own admission — the saintly Aleister Crowly die in poverty and ill-health in a boarding house in Hastings?

Alex Sanders, “King of the Witches” in an amazingly insane…

Photo by Anna Onishchuk on Unsplash

Enargia: The Ancient Art of Conjuring a Scene

You all know what enargia is even if you’d never heard the word. Enargia is a Greek word used in the art of rhetoric to describe how an author conjures a picture with all the associated emotions to charm a reader and hook them into a scene.

Let’s look at an example, which was a best-seller in its day and still does pretty well over a hundred years after first publication.

“The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door…

The True Horror Behind The Exorcist
Photo by Alexia Rodriquez on Unsplash

Curses, Lies, and Pure Baloney

The Exorcist was a horror novel by William Peter Blatty published in 1971 that quickly became a best-seller. In the story, the Mesopotamian demon Pazuzu comes to America and, with the height of bad manners, possesses a young girl.

An exorcism takes place, and all goes rather dreadfully badly. People are hurt, not least their feelings — because the possessed girl says unkind things to them in a guttural voice. You know sometimes it’s not what people say to you, it’s their tone of voice? I think it’s like that.

That’s the book.

But the interesting thing is that William…

Photo by jack atkinson on Unsplash; This Article Contains No Affiliate Links

What I Found Out Surprised Me

Why do people use nootropics anyway? Nootropics are a disparate bunch of substances, some are plant extracts, some are synthesized compounds, and yet others are purely pharmaceuticals and available only on prescription.

Taken together, these substances are called nootropics, on the model of the class of drugs known as psychotropics. Psychotropics are pharmaceuticals used in psychiatry which change your mental state.

The word nootropic comes from the Greek ‘nous’ meaning mind, and ‘trope’ meaning turning, therefore: ‘mind-turning.’

Nootropics are classed differently in different parts of the world, but generally, they are categorized as supplements or foods rather than pharmaceuticals. …

Nootropic Rhodiola Results of Me Self-Experiment

Here’s what my Nootropic Rhodiola Self-Experiment Showed Me.

Previously, I experimented with the nootropics L-theanine to aid and bacopa to promote memory. There were mixed results, but on the whole, they did seem to do something.

The next nootropic I tried was Rhodiola. It is claimed that Rhodiola promotes strength, endurance, stamina and mental capacity, as well as being helpful on your wedding night.

It is also said to give tolerance to cold weather. I wondered whether this was a sympathetic magical idea: because the Rhodiola grows in the Arctic and withstands cold, if you take it, you will withstand cold better too.

But hey, the claims sounded…

langley castle hotel
All Photos by Tony Walker: Disclosure: There Are No Affiliate Links In This Story

How A Luxury Castle Hotel Dealt With A New Invader

The Lockdown Part One.

“In my forty-three years as a hotelier, I’ve never had to face anything like this before,” Margaret Livingstone-Evans, general manager of the Langley Castle Hotel, said.

We were talking of COVID of course.

Margaret has been a hotelier all her career, seen it all, done it all, but COVID is a new challenge.

Langley Castle Hotel is, as its name suggests, a luxury hotel in a castle. It has the feel of a boutique hotel because its not a chain hotel and it has lots of special, very unique touches that really add to the stay.

Tony Walker

Author, Psychiatric Nurse, Narrator. I also produce the Classic Ghost Stories Podcast. Link Tree: https://linktr.ee/classicghostpod

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