Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan
(NARRATIVE OF THE GHOST OF A HAND)
ABSTRACT ? LE FANU, JOSEPH SHERIDAN ? NARRATIVE OF THE GHOST OF A HAND. 1863 (Various publishers) One that appears in several short horror story collections. The narrator delivers a traditional, rather chilling ghost story about an old ?Tiled House?, as told to him by a woman called Rebecca Chattesworth. Servants had been refusing to live in or work in the Tiled House any longer. This provoked a fierce legal battle between the landlords who owned the estate as one wished to sell it off because it was becoming impossible to maintain. The other wanted to keep it going and obliged on his partner to fulfil certain contractual obligations. The reason why the house had been abandoned was its ghost. The problems had begun when a lady of the house spotted a HAND outside a window on an upper storey, trying to get to a window latch, as if someone had climbed the outside of the building, and was just about to force entry via bedroom. Her screams spark a search of the grounds but there is no trace of an intruder or trespasser there. More sightings follow, each leading to no discovery of who the invader is. Soon, the sightings are taking place within the house as well as outside. Servants begin to flee one by one due to the cold atmosphere pervading the house. Each sighting is of a hand and fingers, though it is not a disembodied one, like Thing in The Addams Family or The Beast With Five Fingers. It is clearly attached to someone who is always hiding in shadows, or just round corners or within wardrobes, etc. Knocking, rattling noises follow. When the hand is felt molesting sleeping ladies, and seen in an attempt to assault a sleeping child, even the family of the house decide to move out. The identity of the ghost is never revealed, which makes the appearances more mysterious and malevolent. A story not to be read by those of a nervous disposition.