Tales of Terror!: Or, More Ghosts

Tales of Terror! Or, More Ghosts. Forming a Complete Phantasmagoria.

Author: Unknown
Publisher: Ann Lemoine, J. Roe
Publication Year: 1802
Language: English
Book Dimensions: 11cm x 18cm
Pages: 36
University of Virginia Library Catalog Entry, Sadleir-Black Collection: PZ2.E575 v.2 no.7

Material History

This collection of chapbooks is in good condition, likely over 200 years old. The cover, made of brown calf leather, features an intriguing, speckled pattern, possibly created with lime juice or another acidic liquid. Although devoid of text on the front and back covers, the spine identifies this book as “The Entertainer” with a “2” indicating its placement in a larger collection of books. Additionally, spiraled gold patterns adorn the spine. Inside the front cover, a handwritten table of contents lists the following titles: Thetis, Dutchess de LancyCaptain Robert Singleton by DefoeRobin HoodCaptain Socivizca (5th ed.)Duncan or the Shade of GertrudeNath. Bentley’s “Dirty Dick”; and Tales of Terror or More Ghosts. Three stories—A Curious Account of WallachiaThe Dulwich Hermit, and Granger’s Wonderful Museum—are present in the collection but omitted from the table of contents.

This specific story is titled Tales of Terror! Or More Ghosts: Forming a Complete Phantasmagoria. The chapbook consists of 36 pages and serves as the final installment in the collection of short texts. Within this edition of Tales of Terror!, the font size is small, with minimal spacing between lines and on the top and side margins. The margins at the bottom of each page are significantly larger. Tears and folds at the bottoms suggest potential post-print trimming or the manual cutting of uncut pages. Despite yellowing, the text remains free of major stains or written marks. The prolegomena and “Terror One” appear to share the same paper type, while “Terror Two” is printed on a distinctly thinner and stringier paper that allows words printed on the back to be visible from the front. “Terror Three” is printed on paper like that of the prolegomena and “Terror One.” Each page features a page number in the top corner and “TALES OF TERROR.” across the top. Additionally, many pages are marked with a letter and number combination, such as “A2” or “C3,” denoting specific groupings within the larger text. Letters designate pages belonging to different sections— “A” for Terror One, “B” for Terror Two, and “C” for Terror Three— while the numbers denote the page’s position within the designated section.

Opposite the title page of Tales of Terror! lies a frontispiece illustration depicting a man in armor, wielding a sword and torch, confronting a ghost-like figure draped in a white sheet. The man’s discarded helmet rests on the floor nearby, while two additional armored figures in the background bow their heads. Credited to “Crookshanks Del.,” the illustration is accompanied by the quote, “Follow me said the figure, unless you want the courage of your race” from page 11 in the text. The first ‘s’ in “unless” is a long ‘s,’ a characteristic feature of prints from the early nineteenth century. On the title page, there is a brief poem that says “Twelve o’Clock’s the Time of Night That the Graves, all gaping wide, Quick send forth the airy Sprite In the Church-way Path to glide.” Published for Ann Lemoine and J. Row on July 24th, 1802, this text was made available for purchase through all the Booksellers in the United Kingdom, according to the title page. Tales of Terror! was priced at six pence.

Textual History

There is very little information available on the history of Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts. The author is unknown, although the work has been wrongfully attributed to Matthew Gregory Lewis. Details about the publishers (Ann Lemoine and J. Roe) and printer (Thomas Maiden) are included on the title page, and the frontispiece is credited to Isaac Cruikshank. The title page claims that the book is “Sold by all the Booksellers in the United Kingdom,” and The Women’s Print History Project lists Thomas Hurst, specifically, as a bookseller of this text.

According to WorldCat, there are two editions collected by various libraries worldwide. One edition is 48 pages long and is owned by five libraries: Stanford University Library, Indiana University at Bloomington’s Lilly Library, Harvard Library, the British Library, and the British Library Reference Collections. Nowhere in the notes on any of these libraries’ catalogs does it indicate that the text is in any way connected to Lewis. The other edition is 36 pages and is owned by five libraries: University of Virginia Special Collections Library, Northwestern University Library, Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Butler Library at Columbia University, and New York Public Library. Multiple of these libraries’ catalog entries, including those for the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, acknowledge that this text has been incorrectly credited to Lewis. Both editions were published in 1802 and were printed and published by the same individuals; however, the 48-page edition contains two additional terrors— Terror Four and Terror Five—that are not included in the 36-page edition.

The incorrect attribution to Lewis likely is a consequence of a collection of ballads, also called Tales of Terror that was published anonymously in 1801. This text’s full title is Tales of Terror; with an Introductory Dialogue and does not share any similarities in content with Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts. In 1887, Henry Morley published a collection called Tales of Terror and Wonder that includes the entirety of Tales of Terror; with an Introductory Dialogue and another text called Tales of Wonder that was originally published in 1801. In his introduction to Tales of Wonder, Morley writes that Lewis was entirely responsible for Tales of Terror and Wonder by declaring that “Lewis published at Kelso, in 1799 his ‘Tales of Terror,’ followed them up in the next year with his ‘Tales of Wonder’” (5). Montague Summers argues in A Gothic Bibliography that this attribution is “baseless” (525).  The short title Tales of Terror is included in his bibliography, but both mentions seem to refer to Tales of Terror; with an Introductory Dialogue, even though Summers’s analysis is included as a note for Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts in the catalogue of many libraries, as aforementioned. The first Tales of Terror in A Gothic Bibliography states that the text has “three colored engravings” which is true for Tales of Terror; with an Introductory Dialogue but not for Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts (Summers 525). The second entry of Tales of Terror in A Gothic Bibliography explains why Summers did not believe Lewis was the author of the “Tales of Terror” included in Tales of Terror and Wonder, referring to the same stories published under the name Tales of Terror; with an Introductory Dialogue.  Summers does assert that Lewis contributed to Tales of Wonder by writing three of the ballads and helping to collect about six more of the sixty total ballads. The title of the 1801 edition of Tales of Wonderwas originally meant to be “Tales of Terror,” perhaps contributing to later confusion. Tales of Terror; with an Introductory Dialogue was published anonymously in the same year, and Summers declares that Lewis was not responsible because “he was too popular a literary figure to make it probable that he or his publisher would forego the benefit of his name as author,” the writing is too “gruesome” to be reminiscent of any of Lewis’s previous work, and some of the ballads list Lewis as an inspiration (Summers 526).   

While some libraries, like those at the University of Virginia and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, acknowledge that Lewis is sometimes credited with authoring Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts, the incorrect attribution is likely because Tales of Terror; with an Introductory Dialogue shares a similar name and publication date. The author of Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts remains unknown.

Narrative Point of View

Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts is comprised of one plasmagoria (or introduction) and three separate and unrelated tales that the text calls “terrors.” The plasmagoria is written from a first-person perspective, indicated by personal pronouns such as “I” and “we” throughout, though the text does not provide any identifying information about this narrator. This section acts to provide the reader with helpful information on the text’s conception of ghosts to enable readers to fully engage with and understand the succeeding stories.

Sample Passage of First-Person Narration in the Plasmagoria:

Having thus given the most striking outlines respecting ghosts, I shall next treat of another species of human apparition, which, though it something resemble it, does not come under the description of a ghost. These are the exact figures and resemblances of persons then living, often seen not only by their friends at a distance, but many times by themselves; of which there are several instances in Aubrey’s Miscellanies: One, of Sir Richard Napier, a physician of London, who being on the road from Bedfordshire to visit a friend in Berkshire, saw at an inn his own apparition lying on the bed as a dead corpse: He nevertheless went forward, and died in a short time. (Tales of Terror!: or, More Ghosts 4)

The plasmagoria adopts a first-person perspective to enhance credibility and convey the information as imparted by a knowledgeable authority on ghosts. Through this lens, the expert narrator delivers descriptions, explanations, and anecdotes, instilling trust in their expertise. This, in turn, heightens the likelihood that readers could entertain the possibility of ghosts’ existence, setting the stage for genuine fear upon indulging in the subsequent terrors. 

Terror One, Terror Two, and Terror Three are all presented in the third person by an anonymous narrator who never makes an appearance in the text. Each narrative primarily centers around the journey of a single main protagonist, and the protagonist is distinct for each tale. While all the tales include dialogue and some depiction of emotions, particularly fear, the narration only delves minimally into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. The one deviation from this perspective is a letter in the third terror written in the first-person from Anselm to Hortensia.

Sample Passage of Third-Person Narration from Terror Two:

The beams of his eyes fell full upon her, and she sickened and fainted. When she recovered her senses, she found herself in a magnificent chamber, lying on a bed of state, which was splendidly adorned with gold. She perceived through the windows, venerable trees waving their enormous branches; while the beams of the setting sun tinged some distant mountains with a purple light. The certainty that she was no longer in Franckfort instantly possessed her; but, fearful of recalling the mysterious arbiter of her fate, she remained silent, and ruminated on the singular events of the day. (Tales of Terror!: or, More Ghosts 20)

Sample Passage of First-Person Letter Narration in Terror Three:

“Though almost sinking under fatigue, and surrounded with the disagreeable bustle of an inn, I snatch a moment to inform you of my safe arrival at Genoa. May this city be more propitious to our happiness than our native one has been! At present, unconnected with it by any interesting tie of friendship, it seems to me more dreary than a wilderness: but I have been so fortunate as already to find an acquaintance, to whose house I am preparing to remove. There I hope to feel more at ease, and to be able to shake off this uncomfortable gloom which so heavily oppresses my spirits; yet I feel it will never be entirely dissipated till I embrace my Hortensia and our lovely infants. Adieu! I commit you to the protection of the Almighty and his holy angels! 
“ANSELM.” (Tales of Terror!: or, More Ghosts 27)

The third-person narration of the terrors serves to mimic a storytelling experience wherein suspense thrives on the unknown. Without direct access to the characters’ thoughts, readers are left to interpret their actions and emotions, intensifying the sense of anticipation and unease as the ghost tales unfold. The first-person letter is included to emphasize the unlikelihood that Anslem would ever purposefully abandon his family, adding evidence to the theory that his disappearance is against his will and the product of something insidious.


Tales of Terror! Or, More Ghosts. Forming a Complete Phantasmagoria is a chapbook with a prolegomena and three terrors. The prolegomena precursor to the terrors functions as an introduction that specifies the qualifications for an entity to be a ghost. It details that ghosts are traditionally conceived as the spirit of the departed individual, reappearing in the realm of the living for a variety of reasons: to reclaim belongings unjustly kept from their rightful heirs, to remedy their own injustices, to insist their bones lie in consecrated ground, etc. According to the prolegomena, apparitions are often intangible entities, capable of passing through solid objects, although in some cases they do possess some degree of materiality. An anecdote tells the story of the ghost of an old woman who haunted David Hunter by compelling her to walk behind her all night. She wanted him to lift her up, which he reported felt like holding a bag of feathers. Another tale recounts how a Dutch lieutenant did not move out of the way of a ghost and was subsequently violently thrown to the ground. The prolegomena explains that ghosts typically appear at midnight in the cloak of darkness, adorned white ropes or in the outfit they most often wore while alive. Their arrival is accompanied by a bright light and eerie sounds. Ghosts are rarely ever visible to more than one person and are not able to speak until their host speaks to them first. Interaction with a ghost involves invoking the Trinity’s authority, allowing the spirit to recount its tale uninterrupted, while questions and doubts are deferred until later. Departure often follows the completion of a message or command, sometimes accompanied by radiant light or melodic tones. Furthermore, there exists another spectral phenomenon distinct from ghosts: the apparition of the living. These phantoms, known as fetches, wraiths, or swarths, assume the exact likeness of individuals still alive. Witnessed by distant friends or even the subjects themselves, these apparitions often foreshadow impending death, though sometimes with a substantial gap between the time of the sighting and demise.

Terror One tells the story of Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, who receives the title of Earl Marshal of England after Henry of Lancaster ascends to the throne. Earl Ralph is keen to reunite with his family at Raby castle following his promotion, so he decides to brave the journey through a dense forest during a violent storm, despite warnings of danger from his retinue. Lost in the forest at the height of the storm, the Earl prays to the holy Saint Cuthbert for help, and he discovers an abandoned castle illuminated by an eerie light. The Earl’s people become increasingly unnerved, suggesting that the light emanates from a haunted castle where murder was committed, and guilty ghosts reside. Undeterred, Earl Ralph, guided by a squire and a member of his retinue named Hugh, resolves to seek shelter in the castle. Their arrival triggers a series of mysterious events, including a gliding light with no apparent source, a door opening and closing by no visible responsible agent, and inexplicable sounds echoing through the hall. Upon ascending a winding staircase, the Earl, his Squire, and Hugh encounter a veiled figure who promptly disappears without uttering more than a sigh. Later that night, the figure reappears only to the Earl and warns him of the consequences of his past actions and the trials his descendants will face as a result. As the night progresses, the three men encounter a dying traitor who confesses to a plot against the Earl, validating the warnings received earlier. Earl Ralph chooses to forgive his retinue for their desertion and resolves to heed the warnings imparted to him. He establishes a hospital as a testament to his newfound understanding of the inscrutable ways of Providence.

Terror Two begins in the fourteenth century in the bustling atmosphere of the annual fair at “Franckfort,” likely an antiquated spelling of Frankfurt, Germany. Among the group of gatherers drawn from all corners of Europe are Lady Bertha and her niece, Julia. Lady Bertha, a widow of a respected officer, had taken Julia under her care following the deaths of her husband and his brother, who perished in military service. Now, Lady Bertha’s health is failing from a consuming illness. Her physicians prescribe travel as a remedy, leading the pair to Franckfort. Amidst the crowd, they encounter a conjuror whose displays border on the uncanny, eliciting both awe and unease among spectators. The conjuror offers to unveil Julia’s future, and while Julia is apprehensive, Lady Bertha encourages him to continue. A mysterious voice without any apparent source protests the prophet-telling, but the conjuror persists through the interruption, delving into arcane rituals and incantations to peer into Julia’s destiny. Suddenly, a strange doppelganger of Julia materializes within a mystical circle. Chaos erupts, leaving Julia trapped in a vaulted chamber with the lifeless body of the conjuror. Alone and vulnerable, Julia is gripped by a growing sense of uncertainty of what ominous fate awaits her. Once she realizes that despair will not help her situation, she tries to escape through the high windows in the chamber. The mysterious voice reemerges, this time accompanied by a tall, majestic man who claims to have been eagerly awaiting her arrival in Franckfort because of his intention to marry her. Julia tries to resist his advances, but he insists that a rejection would result in him becoming her grave enemy. He eventually agrees to permit Julia a week to consider his proposal. She is in awe of the luxurious castle the man trapped her in but is terrified by the power the man commands. As the week draws to a close, Julia is led to the man’s chamber, and she denounces his proposal, demanding by all the powers of Heaven that she be restored to her aunt. In a moment, she finds herself in bed in her hotel in Franckfort where her aunt believes Julia has just awoken from a terrible dream. Lady Bertha reports that her doctors say her health has significantly improved and Julia has obtained permission to be with her lover from home that she was previously forbidden from marrying. Julia relays her dream to her aunt, surprised to find she had only been asleep for all but ten minutes, and shared the lesson she learned that it is of the utmost importance to stay true to virtue and resist temptation. 

Terror Three is a tale set in the beginning of 1700, where a friar from Bologna is tasked with retrieving valuable items left to a convent by a converted Jew in Genoa. On this mission, he encounters Hortensia, a noblewoman who is struggling after her husband, Anselm left to establish a new life for their family, but never returned. Anselm’s last letter expresses his hope for their future in Genoa, anguishing Hortensia more as she grapples with uncertainty and monetary struggles. She suspects foul play, especially given the family’s resentment towards her husband’s marriage and financial success. Hortensia now faces persecution from her family and creditors, leaving her and her children in very unfortunate circumstances. The friar is moved by Hortensia’s predicament and vows to investigate Anselm’s disappearance. Upon his arrival in Genoa, he meets Alonzo, a young soldier recently returned from serving in Tuscany and the two delve into the mystery together. Their investigation leads them to a supposedly haunted house, where Alonzo wishes to spend the night in a chamber rumored to be frequented by ghosts. They lead a vigil and are visited by apparitions that guide them to a hidden burial site beneath the house. In the underground chamber, they discover Anselm’s body with buried evidence implicating his murderers, including a notebook containing bills of exchange and a bloody knife. The murderers believed they could conceal their crime and avoid consequence, but the narrator suggests that divine justice that will ensure that no act of deceit can escape the scrutiny of a higher power.


Morley, Henry, editor. Tales of Terror and Wonder. London, George Routledge and Sons, 1887.

Peck, Louis F. A Life of Matthew G. Lewis. Harvard University Press, 1961. 

Summers, Montague. A Gothic Bibliography. The Fortune Press, 1973. 

Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts. Forming a Complete Phantasmagoria. London: Ann Lemoine and J. Roe, 1802.

Tales of Terror! or, More Ghosts. Forming a Complete Phantasmagoria.” The Women’s Print History Project, 2019, title ID 14088, https://womensprinthistoryproject.com/title/14088. Accessed 14 April 2024.

Tales of Terror with An Introductory Dialogue. London: W. Bulmer and Co. 1801.

Researcher: Isabela Barton

How to cite this page:

MLA: “Tales of Terror! Or, More Ghosts.” Project Gothic, University of Virginia, 2024, https://gothic.lib.virginia.edu/access-the-archive-2/tales-of-terror-or-more-ghosts/