Tag Archives: haunting

Misty Short Stories VIII: Ghosts

In our eighth volume on Misty short stories we turn to the subject of ghosts, which, predictably, is huge. Owing to the expanse of the subject, there will be no individual thoughts for each story. However, the stories will be grouped into subthemes in accordance with the role the ghost served in the story, and there will be “closing thoughts” at the end.

1: Revenge from Beyond the Grave

It is no surprise that a lot of ghosts in Misty’s complete stories were there to inflict comeuppances. In many cases the motivation was revenge for causing the death of the person who is now a ghost, by murder, neglect or other means. The ghost’s revenge usually takes the forms of:

  • Punishment fitting the crime, sometimes in a “give them what they want” manner (“The Disembodied”)
  • Ruin them (“Dance of Death”)
  • Ensure they don’t enjoy their ill-gotten gains (“Black Agnes”)

Dance of Death

Misty: #27

Artist: John Richardson

A cruel innkeeper, Joseph Higgins, forces fiddler Peter Price and his daughter Nancy to play and dance for their supper, ignoring their protests that they are too cold and hungry to put on a good performance. Their performance is predictably awful, and the cruel spectators torture Nancy too. Higgins kicks them out into the cold, where they freeze to death, and smashes Price’s fiddle. But their ghosts start haunting the inn, fiddling and dancing, which drives off customers. Higgins tries to sell the inn, but nobody will buy it with those ghosts in “permanent residence”, and he is ruined.

A Room of Her Own

Misty: #69

Artist: Joseph Gual

Lorna Barnes is taken in by the Hennings after her grandmother dies, but their daughter Joan does not want to share her room with Lorna. So Joan tries to get rid of Lorna by playing “haunted house” to scare her away (a trick also used in the Misty short story, “Nightmare!”). It goes too far when Lorna runs away in terror and drowns in a swamp. But Joan soon finds she still doesn’t have the room to herself – she is now sharing it with Lorna’s ghost.

Malice in Wonderland

Misty: #75

Artist: Bob Harvey

Reprint: Best of Misty #8

The ghost of a girl haunts a fairground, Wonderland. She has driven off customers and the once-booming fairground is now deserted. The owner, Richard Hobson, confronts the ghost for ruining him. She says she is making him pay for the negligence of the roller coaster that caused her death, which he bribed his way out of in court. Hobson tries to run her over with the same roller coaster, but forgets she is a ghost, and only sends himself plunging to his death. He in turn becomes the resident ghost of Wonderland, which reopens under more savoury management, and can only watch as its new profits go into the new owner’s pocket.

The Disembodied

Misty: #68

Artist: John Richardson

On a class trip Olivia rips a page out of a book of spells that was once owned by an baron who practised black magic She uses the spell to summon the spirits of three of her teachers to give her all the answers to a school test. But she gets greedy and demands more and more information from them, which keeps them up past dawn, despite their protests. When Olivia learns the three teachers have died, she discovers too late she overlooked something: if the spirits do not return to their bodies before dawn they will become disembodied and cling to the person responsible for their deaths until the day their true deaths should have occurred. The disembodied spirits take revenge by giving Olivia more and more answers until she gets information overload – literally – and her head is ready to burst.

Black Agnes

Misty: #59

Artist: Josep Gual

In 1665–6 London, Agnes Barton takes up a position as a servant in the wealthy Patterson household. She poisons the family, taking steps to ensure everyone puts it down to plague, so she can steal their moneybox. But she soon finds the Pattersons’ ghosts are following her around. At Pudding Lane the haunting drives her to breaking point and she throws the stolen money back at the ghosts: “Take your gold! Begone I say!”, but knocks over a candle while doing so. This starts the Great Fire of London, and she perishes in the blaze.

Lead Kindly Light

Misty: #57

Artist: Maria Barrera

Ruth’s stepfather Jabez Penallen is a shipwrecker and he whips her into being his accomplice. Ruth sees no way to escape. Running away is hopeless because Jabez will only find her again. Reporting him is no use because he has everyone believe he is a devout, respectful churchgoer. An old friend, Sybilla, arrives and helps Ruth escape on a ship, but Jabez wrecks it while not knowing she was on board. Ruth returns as a ghost, but Jabez does not realise she is one. She uses his own false light and takes advantage of his blind rage towards her to lure him to his doom over the cliff. She then extinguishes the wrecker’s lantern forever.

House on Forbidden Hill

Plot

Heather Sims was staying with her Aunt Enid, but couldn’t understand why she was forbidden to climb the hill behind her aunts lakeside b&b. She keeps getting strange urge to climb the hill, it seems her Great Aunt Grace had same urge and never returned.

Notes

  • Art: David Matysiak

Appeared

  • House on Forbidden Hill – Suzy: #103 (25 August 1984) – #105 (8 September 1984)

The Haunted One

Plot:

Strange things began to happen to Lynn Weston, when her family came to live at 23, Woodland Way. It started when she found an old rag doll which seemed to influence her behaviour. Whenever she tried to get rid of the doll, something always stopped her.

haunted one

Notes:

Appeared:

  • The Haunted One  – Judy:  893 (19 February 1977) –  (?)

Bess of Black Fell

Plot

Bess Turner wanted to turn her inheritance, Black Fell Farm into an  animal sanctuary, but it was haunted by Elda, a witch drowned by the people of Charn village four centuries before. The present-day villagers wanted Bess to fill in the pond, but some swans nested there, and Bess decided to drain it to another place nearby. Dickon Hayter, whose ancestor Elda had loved, tried to help her, but the angry villagers stopped them. The villagers grew even more hostile after the church bell began ringing by itself.

bess of black fell

Notes

  • Art: Oliver Passingham

Appeared

  • Bess of Black Fell – Judy:  #893 (19 February 1977) – #902 (23 April 1977)

The Sailor Doll / Sam

  • The Sailor Doll – Bunty PSL: #265
  • Reprinted as  Sam  Bunty PSL: #396
  • Artist: Peter Wilkes

Plot/Thoughts

This month is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking.  I’m sure  with all the books on the subject that have been released and James Cameron 1997 film Titanic is being re-released in 3D, that it has been pretty hard to miss. So with the month that is in it I thought it was a good time to look at the story “The Sailor Doll”.

The story is drawn by Peter Wilkes and is a mystery/ ghost story involving a girl Jackie and a sailor doll that was on the Titanic. Jackie is going on a school trip with her friends Donna and Fran, they are taking the cruise ship “Odin” to New York then onto Disneyland for a week.  It must be some fancy school school these girls went to, if they can afford a cruise ship to America and a week in Disneyland on top of it. I also wonder about the logistics of the trip so they get a ship to New York then do they fly to Disneyland, because presumably if it’s in California that’s a really long drive to take!

As a mascot Jackie’s father gets her a sailor doll named Sam from a junk shop. When they are sailing off Jackie nearly drops Sam into the water. It’s the first sign that there may be something strange going on.

In the standard procedure of these stories,  more strange things happen when the girls keep finding their porthole window open and Sam beside it. At first these things are dismissed and Jackie’s friends are particularly cynical that there is something unusual with Sam. Then Jackie has a nightmare in which she is drowning she also see a young girl in old-fashioned clothing, looking for Sam.  While she tries to forget these nightmares and just have fun, she starts to see visions during the daytime.

 

So the only reasonable theories Jackie can have is that she is hallucinating or that Sam is trying to tell her something. Later from a tear in his jacket she finds a note.  She can’t read all the note but she can make out the date of  April 1912 and words “exciting, cold and  big ship” also the name of the ship ends in ‘anic’.  So Jackie researches the information and finds out about the sinking of the Titanic. I would have thought this is something she would of heard of before in school at some point but apparently not. She notices that there are similarities between the Titanic and the trip they are on now, they are travelling the same course, between the same dates and their captain is also name Smith.

Jackie tries to convince her friends that there is a connection with their trip and the Titanic. When more strange things happen Fran and Donna agree to help investigate. Jackie sees the young girl again and falls down steps chasing after her, ending up with a concussion. Fran decides to throw Sam overboard thinking if he’s gone all the trouble may stop. Jackie is upset when she finds out this, she is also convinced their ship is going to sink as well and only Sam could have helped them. Not sure how Sam could have helped him but instead of finding Sam sinister and creepy, Jackie thinks he is a good spirit.

Luckily it turns out Sam fell onto a lower deck when Fran dropped him so Jackie finds him again. She figures that the girl would have been saved if she hadn’t gone back looking for the doll, while Sam was rescued from the water and now he wants to be reunited with the girl. The girls decide they need to toss Sam overboard on  April 14  at 11.46pm.

After this the ship arrives safely at its destination. Fran and Donna believe they let their imaginations run wild but Jackie believes Sam and the girl are happily reunited.

The story is quite a common one; strange occurrences, ghosts and cynical friends. It has the more accurate historical setting which is a bit more educational than the usual made up ghost history. A lot of these tortured ghosts were looking to be reunited with a beloved item, if there is a lesson to be learned I think its if your ship is sinking/house is on fire/school collapsing etc… do not go back for your favourite toy/ locket because you will be killed and end up haunting some girl 60 years later.