Once Upon A Midnight Dreary
Withered leaves are crumbling underfoot and watchful pumpkins with carved smiles are standing sentinel outside shops and homes. It's trick-or-treating season, and as much as you may love candy corn and chocolate bars paired with "Stranger Things", there's no treat quite like reading a book somewhere warm and safe, while shadows gather at the window and the glass silvers with autumn fog and frost. Share the spine-tingling holiday spirit by participating in All Hallow's Read, a tradition started by Neil Gaiman to give a scary book to someone for Hallowe'en — an excellent opportunity to freak out your friends if elaborate pranks involving clowns and balloons are too much effort.
Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe once pulled off a balloon prank? His name has become synonymous with suspense and the macabre, but the multi-genre pioneer got up to a lot of literary mischief in addition to writing his famous tales of terror. When he published a detailed article in 1844 about a transatlantic trip in a flying balloon, the thrilling if not true story had the public clamouring to buy newspapers. The hoax may even have inspired Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. Poe's ideas were unquestionably influential: he was a writer whose imagination holds readers so spellbound that fans still leave birthday offerings on his grave, almost 170 years after his mysterious death. The strange circumstances of his untimely end continue to feed conspiracy theories and scholarly debates. Just in time for Hallowe'en, PBS is airing a new American Masters documentary, "Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive", starring the chameleonic Denis O'Hare as the spooky scribe. Watch the trailer here:
Poe's collected works are always available to read online, so break open that cask of Amontillado and curl up with your black cat and these quaint and curious volumes of unforgotten lore:
It's growing late. While you nod, nearly napping, what if suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at your chamber door? Are you going to look and see who it is? Or maybe that sound is coming from beneath your floorboards...