Weekly Machen & A New Fairy Tale

New Prose & Poetry

Pamela Bruns offers a new fairy tale, The Three Youths. In this piece, she successfully weaves theological parable into a childlike tale of wonder.

Timing by Joshua Alan Sturgill

The Weekly Machen

arthur-1920wToday, we begin a new series focused on the journalism of Arthur Machen. Far from being banal hackwork, Machen’s large body of articles reflects his desire to seek the ecstatic and wonderful in all things. A new article will posted every Thursday. In addition, Machen Studies will become a space for longer meditations on the writer’s work, with postings on an irregular basis.

The 2021 Inklings Festival is continuing to garner interest. Two brief write-ups appeared in the latest issue of Machenalia, a newsletter of the Friends of Arthur Machen. An item also appeared on scholar Douglas A. Anderson’s site Tolkien and Fantasy.

Vanishing Limited Editions

Levavi Oculos by Arthur Machen: 1 copy remaining

One Is Found First (Hardcover, Limited & Signed) by Gaelan Gilbert: 5 copies remaining

A Secret Language by Arthur Machen: 9 copies remaining

A Yule Log Story


Joshua Alan Sturgill completes Heir of Prophecies: Parts IX & X
Tălmaciu by Pamela Bruns
Whale Wail by Benjamin Rozonoyer

A Sheaf of Yule Log Stories

In North America, we are accustomed to think about ghostly and creepy tales during autumn, most especially at the end of October. However, in Merrie o’ England, the tradition for telling such stories occurs in winter, and somewhat counterintuitively, during Christmastime. The low winter sun and long cold evenings were quite conducive to the sharing of chillers and spine-tinglers with the most famous and obvious example of this long-standing tradition being typified in A Christmas Carol by Dickens. Another fine historical instance was the yearly reading of a new ghost story by M. R. James. In grand fashion, the master held a select audience spellbound every Christmas Eve with many of the recited tales finding publication after their yuletide debut. This phenomenon was finely defended by the words of our guide for this Christmas season: “These particular stories lie on the border land between the seen and unseen; they may be very incredible; but they will serve to pass away the happy time around the Yule Log, when mythic stories are most acceptable.”    

The Reverend Augustine David Crake (1836-1890) belongs to a long list of English priests who contributed to ghost story literature, including Sabine Baring-Gould, whom he name-drops, and E. G. Swain. Mostly, Crake wrote historical religious fiction and devotional books, but we will be exploring his singular contribution to the fantastic, A Sheaf of Yule Log Stories (1888). The book is a collection of stories Crake heard around the fireplace as a child in the 1840s and is divided into the seven nights of Christmas week. Below is the first story.

Crake’s Introduction to the volume is not to be passed over. It is a delightful recounting of Crake’s childhood holidays full of snow-laden hills, iceskating atop deep lakes and the nightly sharing of cheer and spine-tingling thrills. Seemingly, it is a time and experience now vanished. In an era of drone-delivered consumer products, major holiday discounts and a multiplicity of screens, we don’t seem to talk to each other; we don’t share stories any longer. Say what you will about “progress,” but I feel a loss.

Introduction & Night the First


imageThis week, Joshua Alan Sturgill crossed the threshold of 200 contributions to the Darkly Bright website. Since 2018, Sturgill has provided us with an astounding body of work including poetry, essays and fairy tales. A very short list of recommended highlights:

Ambrose and the River Troll

Literacy as Medicine for Obsessive Thoughts

Feast of Books

Celestial Cartography


The Violent by Linda Lobmeyer

Joshua Alan Sturgill: Heir of Prophecies, Part VI, VII & VIII


Closing out a successful year for Machen study and appreciation, we present the fifth and penultimate chapter from Far Off Things, that enigmatic volume of memoirs by the Apostle of Wonder.

To Be Nobly Wild


This week, we present a keynote lecture from the 2021 Inklings Festival… Dreamt in Fire: The Dreadful Ecstasy of Arthur Machen by Christopher Tompkins.

This is the ecstatic alchemy of Arthur Machen, his mythopoeic vision: a perichoretic landscape built by hieroglyph upon hieroglyph, a world of symbols beneath clouds of images which seek to speak not to the intellect only, but to the nous, or the heart of the reader…   READ MORE.

Additionally, the Eighth Day Institute has posted Machen’s Let Us Keep the Tavern, one of the selections that can be found in the Dreamt in Fire collection.


After All, Heaven & Etc., Missing You by Joshua Alan Sturgill

Aer of Life by Mark Mosley

A Few Comments on Christianity and the Horror Genre

DSC01448This week, we present Sacraments & Ghosts, a lecture given by Christopher Tompkins at the 7th Annual Inklings Festival on October 23, 2021.

“Horror begins where the believer begins: we are transcendent. For a story to qualify as a work of horror, it must force an ontological crisis, that is, a crisis of being, for the characters, and to a lesser extent, for the reader…    READ MORE.


The Old Answers and Anyone Could Find It by Joshua Alan Sturgill