M.R. James by Sir Gerald Kelly

Here you will find the full texts of all of M.R. James's ghost stories, information on all film and TV adaptations and illustrations from James's stories. The Haunted Doll's House, my own short film adaptation of the MR James classic is now available to watch online.

As with all the best creative works it seems next to impossible to define exactly what is so special about the ghost stories of M.R. James. It's no simple sentimentality, nor a cheap roller-coaster thrill. It has something to do with an off-kilter Englishness, a certain respectability besieged but also defined by the bizarre, the chaotic and the arcane. In part at least, it's tied up with that unique, brave and terrible period of European history in which these stories were written.

James's incredible detail finds a balance in those ambiguous ghouls to which the reader is invited to apply their own dreadful colour. Many of M.R. James's ghost stories were written to be read aloud as Christmas Eve entertainment to select gatherings of friends at Cambridge.

The ghost stories of M.R. James

They were subsequently published as: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, A Thin Ghost and Others, and A Warning to the Curious.This site is devoted to the understated master of ghastliness, Montague Rhodes James OM MA.

"Montague Rhodes James has an intelligent and scientific knowledge of human nerves and feelings; and knows just how to apportion statement, imagery, and subtle suggestions in order to secure the best results with his readers." H P Lovecraft

Stephen Gray, 2012

Mr. Humphreys and his Inhertance illustrated by Stephen Gray

Every effort is made to respect copyright, but if I've overlooked anything please let me know. This is in no way a commercial site. Portrait of Montague Rhodes James by Sir Gerald Kelly, National Portrait Gallery