Carnacki, The Ghost Finder

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Press: Book Jungle (February 18, 2008)
Author Name:Hodgson, William Hope


William Hope Hodgson wrote essays, and fiction. 
His fiction consisted of fantasy fiction, horror stories, and science fiction.
His hobbies included bodybuilding and photography.
Carnacki is considered to be one of Hodgson's best horror novels and was a great influence on Stephen King.
Carnacki was a quiet man living in an apartment by the river or was he in actuality a ghost hunter armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of supernatural manifestations and the arcane arts.
In this novel Carnacki confronts demons, hauntings and invisible forces.

About the Author

William Hope Hodgson (1877 - 1918) was an English author. 
He produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction and science fiction.
Hodgson used his experiences at sea to lend authentic detail to his short horror stories, many of which are set on the ocean, including his series of linked tales forming the "Sargasso Sea Stories".

--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.


Literature & Fiction,Genre Fiction,Horror,Ghosts,Literary

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     I love the Carnacki stories! I am glad that a number of authors picked up the original character, and very well, too
  •     Carnacki is an investigator of hauntings. He is methodical in his techniques to confirm or disprove paranormal activity. He routinely attempts to photograph ghosts, gathers facts on the case, and even uses scientific tricks to confirm the veracity of certain phenomena, such as if doors really opened during activity. He is often called when owners of a home cannot deal with a haunting any longer. This sounds pretty conventional for today, which is why it is impressive that Carnacki, The Ghost Finder was published over a century ago in 1913.Written by William Hope Hodgson as short stories for magazines between 1910 and 1920, Carnacki, The Ghost Finder collects six cases of the ghost hunter. Each case is written by a friend of Carnacki who recounts the ghost hunter retelling everything that happened through the course of the investigation, giving it an air of armchair reminiscence and a slight nod to Watson's retellings of the Sherlock Holmes adventures.Carnacki is neither a Christian crusader nor a disbelieving scientist. He is methodical in his investigations, often using hairs or wax to tell if doors have actually opened while an area was locked and setting up unique tools like a camera triggered by a string. Some of his knowledge and ghost classification comes from the mysterious Sigsand Manuscript which he mentions, but Carnacki is hardly an occultist like you might see in Lovecraft or more modern works. Other than drawing circles or pentacles, he has no actual magical ability. He just uses what he has learned for defense and investigation. That is not to say that he is not without his innovations. One of the most intriguing ideas is Carnacki's Electric Pentacle. After noting that electricity appeared to enhance barriers against the paranormal, he merged it with the occult pentacle. Using vacuum tubes, the Electric Pentacle sends electricity continuously in the occult shape and is plugged into a battery within the protected area.Carnacki himself is an interesting character. He isn't some Lovecraftian scholar, lost in his fear of the unknown, his brain locking up in the darkness. Carnacki is brave, but he is not full of bravado either - he clearly gets scared in the middle of the dark night, fearing things in the unknown and trying to stay immobile in his pentacle. The most dominant part of Carnacki's personality seems to be his can-do attitude. He always has a next thing to try, a new way to continue the investigation. Even when scared, he does not dwell, he merely rests and begins again.Why haven't you heard of Carnacki before? The name comes up here and there, but mostly in more literary accounts that are usually talking of the history of the horror or supernatural genres. Rarely do you hear him mentioned as a recommendation for reading. William Hope Hodgson died at the age of 40 in World War I and his works fell into obscurity since then. Every decade or so there is a resurgence, and his works capture a few new readers. Though it seems obvious to suggest Hodgson influenced Lovecraft, the latter did not discover Hodgson's works until 1934, late into his career. Carnacki has only been adapted to the screen once, in an episode the 1970s TV series Rivals of Sherlock Holmes where Carnacki was played by Donald Pleasence.It is impressive that the Carnacki stories are still quite readable for modern readers. Some works of that age come off stilted, slow, or lacking in bite due to all the things we've read in more modern works. But the Carnacki stories are still quite interesting and creepy. While there might be a few words that may be confusing or antiquated, the narrative voice is quite comfortable to read. The biggest drawback is that since this is Carnacki's account to a friend, every paragraph begins with a quotation mark and actual things said appear in nested quotes, which can be confusing at times. But outside of this small annoyance, the stories are still enjoyable to read without them feeling an uphill struggle.Carnacki has passed into public domain at this point. You can find his stories free as an ebook. This also means that other authors are free to use him in their own works, as they have. Besides cameos in other works as varied as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Doctor Who novels, you can find the further adventures of Carnacki written by a variety of authors. I can speak only for the original works, but if you have an ebook reader, there's no reason not to check him out, if not for the amazement value of a type of story so commonplace now occurring over a century ago.
  •     The precursor of The X Files in Conan Doyle style.
  •     A series of "ripping yarns" as they'd say in a book such as, well, a book such as this. The tales of a valiant late 19th Century gentleman of leisure, Carnacki,...
  •     Carnacki, the Ghost Finder was originally published back in 1913 and bears some similarities to the works of HP Lovecraft.
  •     Excellent weird tales!
  •     Worth it for The Whistling Room, otherwise take it in small doses. The stories do get repetitive and a few are pretty stupid.
  •     These are wonderfully stories with a bit of the supernatural. You always want to see the solution at the end of the story. Carnacki is a fabulous character.
  •     I first read Wm. Hope Hodgson in the Ballantine fantasy reprint series edited by Lin Carter in the 1970's. Therein I discovered a brillant mind of the macabre for the first time, with his "House on the Borderland" and "The Night Land" a new master of the fantastic was given to me. I ended up back in those heady gothick days of ordering a British edition of "Carnacki, the Ghost Finder" and adoring every delicious page. Alternating between supernatural & rational explainations for the phenomena in tow, I was in ghost story heaven! A personal literary belief of mine, is that the ghost story is arguably the best expression of the elegance of the English language extant. Contained in "Carnacki" is the "The Whistling Room" my vote for the best ghost story of all time. An award I do not lightly give.
  •     Kindle edition only contains the first 6 short stories. It does NOT contain the last three stories as shown in the Kindle preview.
  •     Several great short stories. Not really scary by today's standards but much better than today's blood and gore horror.
  •     Could have had actual chapters. Instead of the stories being started to the next without much of a marker. I enjoyed the book.
  •     First, some housekeeping. There are innumerable Kindle, hardback, and paperback editions of "...Ghost Finder" available. If you are a collector of rarities you already know this. If you have just run across references to Carnacki from time to time, or if you like the work of the author, William Hope Hodgson, (as I do), and you want to see what the fuss is about, then the Kindle freebies seem the best way to go. I read the Kindle freebie. It was well formatted, perfectly readable, free of typos or errors, and downloaded without a problem. My version had six of the Carnacki stories, and I was fine by that.These are oldies, but remarkably clever and satisfying. Carnacki is a bit curt and a touch condescending as he tells his stories to his dinner companions, but he is a no-nonsense sort who lays out the details and events of his various adventures with economy and clarity. There is enough atmosphere and detail and careful buildup to make a cracking good story, but the tales are still very streamlined.All of the tales turn on haunted or possessed houses, and some of the hauntings are legit, some are shams, and some fall somewhere in the "who knows?" category. Because Carnacki is thorough and business-like in his investigations the tales aren't overly dramatic or embroidered. You get a sort of "Dragnet" just-the-facts-ma'am kind of feeling, and a very modern sense of narrative style.So, if you like haunted house tales you should sample Hodgson, and if you like Hodgson you should sample some Carnacki. These are fun and free, and at a minimum you will learn exactly how properly to set up a protective pentacle.
  •     Refreshing approach to 'ghostly' tales, the book is clean of cursing and sexual situations. An easy, pleasant read. Some may find the language stilted because it is an older writing without grandiose embellishments of its dramatic moments. It is a book that can stand its worth over time because it does not employ references to famous people and events to define its substance in any way. (Example of how writers do this: "Her Mae West voice intoned endearments..." which meant something to people several decades ago, but has no meaning to many people today) The format is interesting: a narration within a narration. The story/ies begin with one narrator who with a few others goes to the second narrator's home, where they dine together with their host before the second narrator (who is Carnacki, the host) actually tells the story that is the book's substance. Introduction to the evening, then periodic comments and finally the closing of the tale as the friends take their leave are made by the original narrator (the one invited with others to the dinner and evening).

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