G-g-ghost pirates?
June 9, 2017 12:52 AM   Subscribe

I want to read ghost stories set in coastal/maritime settings. I am willing to read anything from quality writing to pulp fiction. Folktales and so on are also acceptable.

I like to read short stories before bed, because I typically don't have the time or energy to get invested in a novel. If my user name doesn't give it away, I like ghost stories. These days I have a hankering for things that make me think of ships, and spooky stuff related to the sea.

I think I'm basically looking for short stories that remind me of The Fog, or of that glowing seaweed ghost from Scooby-Doo. I do not need high art, and if pressed, I'd prefer fun over depth (and I'm not ashamed to say so). I also love folktales, and I'd love to hear stories from all around the world.

Also, I'm sorry, but I hate H.P. Lovecraft.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
William hope Hodgson is your man. I'm going out on a limb here, but I think you might like his story, "the ghost pirates".
posted by smoke at 1:19 AM on June 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

Well, if your hatred for HPL applies to that whole genre of purple-prosed antediluvian eldritch weirdness, you won't like William Hope Hodgson very much either, but nonetheless his book The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" is a classic.

On preview: Jinx, buy me a tentacled horror!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:20 AM on June 9, 2017

A Cabin on the Coast by Gene Wolfe (collected in Endangered Species)
posted by crocomancer at 3:11 AM on June 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

In Book XI of the Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew travel to the shore of an island on the Western edge of the world and carry out a ritual specified by the witch Circe which allows him to speak to the shades of the dead in the underworld in a sequence referred to as the katabasis.

...and on looking at the OP again you're asking for short stories, which the Odyssey and the Epic Cycle are definitely not. But, I did find the Odyssey much more fun to read than Iliad which was a bit of a slog, and if I recall correctly I actually did read it at bedtime over many nights. Though I think I had a more poetic translation than the public domain one I've linked to above; there's lots of advice online about choosing a translation.
posted by XMLicious at 3:21 AM on June 9, 2017

The are a few MR James short stories set on the coast. Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad is the one that comes most immediately to mind.
posted by antiwiggle at 3:33 AM on June 9, 2017 [10 favorites]

Check out this collection of short stories...I found the paperback at a used book store a few months ago, couldn't yank it off the shelf fast enough.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:14 AM on June 9, 2017

Helen Creighton's Bluenose Ghosts may scratch this itch. Pretty sure you can get it from Amazon.
posted by angiep at 7:06 AM on June 9, 2017

Perhaps On Skua Island by John Langan, collected here?
posted by orrnyereg at 7:09 AM on June 9, 2017

"The Ocean and All Its Devices," by William Browning Spencer

The collection looks like it's out of print, but the story is included in the wonderful anthology The Weird, which is where I found it.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:11 AM on June 9, 2017

Oh, and previously on Metafilter, if radio plays are your thing.
posted by orrnyereg at 7:13 AM on June 9, 2017

(yes there are mermaids in that, yes there is ghost stuff, too)
posted by oflinkey at 7:36 AM on June 9, 2017

Sir Andrew Caldecott was a British colonial administrator who published a collection of ghost stories in the style of MR James. The collection is available on Project Gutenberg Australia, and Whiffs of the Sea is suitably maritime.
posted by Azara at 7:58 AM on June 9, 2017

* Robert Aickman: "Ringing the Changes"
* Sydney J. Bounds: "A Little Night Fishing"
* A.M. Burrage: "The Running Tide"
* R. Chetwynd-Hayes: "She Walks on Dry Land"
* F. Marion Crawford: "The Upper Berth"
* Arthur Conan Doyle: "The Captain of the 'Pole-Star'"
* Daphne Froome: "The Rip Current"
* William Hope Hodgson: "A Voice in the Night"
* M.R. James: "A Warning to the Curious"
* Richard Middleton: "The Ghost Ship"
* George Minto: "The Ghost of U65"
* Barry Pain: "Not on the Passenger List"
* Terry Tapp: "Mariners"

Many of these I first came across in the great (though, as it went on, a little spotty) Fontana "Great Ghost Stories" anthologies.

If you're open to other supernatural beings associated with the coast, I highly recommend David Thomson's The People of the Sea: A Journey in Search of the Seal Legend. Scottish folklore is a rich vein for spooky stories of beaches, shoals and sea creatures.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:31 AM on June 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

IIRC ghosts aren't the primary focus of On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (who is a good writer--ignore all connections to Pirates of the Caribbeans pls), but they're in there.

Then again there's also vodun and stuff which I might cringe at if I read it again--haven't read in 25 years, can't make any promises.
posted by wintersweet at 1:58 PM on June 9, 2017

Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory may tick a lot of your boxes.
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:03 PM on June 9, 2017

These are super cool suggestions, and I am very excited to read them. Thank you. You people are wonderful.

I'm still open to more suggestions, too!
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:56 PM on June 9, 2017

I picked up this book at a used book store months ago, thinking that it was "true" accounts of haunted lighthouses, finally cracked it open the other day and saw that it's actually a short fiction collection. Either way, it reminded me of this question, so there you go...
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:38 AM on June 29, 2017

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