Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Haunted Ceiling

H. G. Wells
A recent discovery uncovered an intriguing lost story by the 19th-century author H. G. Wells. It is a ghost story entitled “The Haunted Ceiling.”

Some of Wells’ most famous stories include: “The War of the Worlds”, “The Invisible Man”, and “The Island of Doctor Moreau”.

Experts of Wells stories feel this newly discovered manuscript written by Wells in the mid-1890s does not reflect his best work but I have read it and found it fun and surprising.

Andrew Gulli the editor of Stand Magazine found the manuscript in a large archive at the University of Illinois that keeps many of Wells papers. Gulli published The Haunted Ceiling in late November of 2016 in issue #50.

The story begins with a male character named Meredith speaking to a friend who is visiting. He looks up at the ceiling and states:

“Don’t you see it?”
“See what?”
“The thing. The women.”
I shook my head and looked at him.
“All right then, don’t see it.”

The story then takes its main character on a macabre journey that involves stranger and stranger activities that occur in the old house he resides in.

Wells often told gothic tales where his characters doubted what they experienced when they encountered a supernatural event.

The Haunted Ceiling is similar to another ghost story Wells published around the same time—“The Red Room”. In this story, a skeptic—a scientist-- spends a terrifying night in a castle room trying to debunk claims it is haunted.

The Haunted Ceiling unlike The Red Room has a surprise ending.

The issue of the Strand Magazine that shared this story for the first time can be bought here.