More Short and Shivery: Thirty Terrifying Tales by Robert D. San Souci
Ever since I was a little kid I’ve enjoyed reading scary stories; and now as an adult, I still do. In fact, I have Alvin Schwartz’s trilogy, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, read by George Irving, on my MP3 player, and I still listen to it from time to time.
These days I find that my interest in these stories is more for the folkloric aspects; in another life, I think I must have been a folklorist. I’m reasonably familiar with the phenomenon of urban legends and I can recognize the markers of a typcal UL most of the time, and I can recognize common folklore themes in certain stories. Some of the stories in this book, for example, were familiar to me as stories that I’d encountered in other settings. “The Golden Arm”, for example, is a story which demonstrates a classic motif; someone steals something from a dead person, and their ghost comes back to reclaim in. In this story, it was a woman’s golden arm; but in other stories it could be a liver, or a big toe. I know that academic folklorists have a specific number to reference this particular motif, but I have no idea what it is.
Many great horror or fantasy stories have been based on folklore from around the world; I’ve written a few based on some urban legends myself. I checked this one out of the library along with a number of other similar books (such as Raw Head, Bloody Bones) in search of story fodder. And I do believe I’ve found some here…