Ghost Stories and Other Dark Tales
by John "Jack" Koblas

Cover Art and Illustrations by John Stevens


     Introduction by Jon Arfstrom
     The Aqueduct
    Bailey’s Hound
    Red is For the Devil
The Ringmaster
    Trapped on Xylphia
    Something’s Wrong in Northfield
    Where the Ghosts Hang out
     The Keep
Rest in Peace
    Cruel Planet Earth
    The Stolen Heart
Blackstone Park
    The Boy Who Loved Monsters
    The Isthmus
    Descent into Madness
    The White Bus
    An Unpleasantness on Pleasant
    The Outpost
    Walker in the Walls
Flight from Tridok
    The Pond

        Part Two
    Ledford’s Basement
    House of Mirrors
    The Calling
    The Recital
    A Prisoner of Glass
    The Chequamegon Horror
    The New Man
    The Devil in Mr. Mottingcalf
    The Cliff
The Guest
    The Moon-spawn
    The Caverns of Forgetfulness
    The Devil’s Clock
    Guess Whut’s Coming to Dinner
    The Trondheim Horror
    The Off-the-way Place
    Revenge of the Heads
    The Case of Charles Dexter Weird
    The Thirteenth Floor
    Quest of the Necronomicon

   Quality Trade Paperback, 400 pp.
ISBN 978-1-55497-179-4   $30.00


Other Books by the Same Author



Introduction by Jon Arfstrom

Jack Koblas, the historian and biographer who offered us the lives of such historical figures as Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jesse James and personalities active in the Civil War; the writer who gave us a history of America’s last wars with native Americans in Ashes, has finally had published a collection of short fiction not all his fans would have expected, but some had long awaited with great anticipation.

You, dear expectant reader, are embarking on a sometimes chilling journey through forty-seven tales of the strange, the bizarre— Jack’s first collection of such tales should be read by candlelight on a night when thunder is rumbling across turbulent skies and lightning is slashing the darkness. He has opened a Pandora’s box of wild themes that should appeal to the haunted house aficionado as well as S/F fans who like a change of pace. One readily ascertains the author’s research background for historical times and places; he just doesn’t say ‘a long time ago’—often we have firm dates and vivid descriptions that give authority to the story.

We are offered a twist on Great Cthulhu and the Old Ones, and a haunting search for Arkham and Miskatonic U. While some stories will provide that old-fashioned ‘bump in the night’ experience we all enjoy, sometimes a touch of humor is added to the mix. We are witness to the dark thoughts of John Dillinger that warm July night when he met his fate outside the Biograph Theatre, and the bloody memories of an old Frank James. Take a cab ride in Providence for a rather spectral get-together, and descend into pits in France that are on the fringes of hell. We are transported to the roof of the world in an unholy quest, and invited to attend a musicale with rather fiendish aspects.

There are phantoms to be found along the rocky shores of Lake Superior, and outrageous happenings at an observatory tower lost in a swamp. We observe Indians and bloody uprisings in 19th Century Minnesota. And there is that wondrous, hellish clock, something that should have been left buried in the past. Check out the new help at the furniture store—too good to be true, and Old Buck, baying at the moon....The man who searches the glass maze. There is a brief play about a family waiting to meet the boyfriend—!

And we can’t forget that kid who just loved his monster toys. But wait, there is much more—that is only the beginning of that wild journey!

Jack has had his biographical and his historical works available for years, and now we have solid evidence that he can weave a tale of fictional fright to place him on equal footing with his peers in the fantasy field.

— Jon Arfstrom

Anoka, Minnesota, January 2012