These aren't full readings, but impressionistic mixes, using excerpts from the stories to anchor audio brooding.
Get into your isolation tanks, at Matt Howarth used to say, and listen:
Madness rides the star-wind . . . claws and teeth sharpened on centuries of corpses . . . dripping death astride a Bacchanale of bats from night-black ruins of buried temples of Belial. . . . Now, as the baying of that dead, fleshless monstrosity grows louder and louder, and the stealthy whirring and flapping of those accursed web-wings circles closer and closer, I shall seek with my revolver the oblivion which is my only refuge from the unnamed and unnamable.
The Gothic always makes for powerful communication beyond scary stories. Case in point: late nineteenth- and early-twentieth century ads, as nicely captured in this Guardian gallery.
Consider this one, urging viewers to shun the demon drink:
Or this poster urging Belgian soldiers to avoid sexual diseases:
Gorgeous, powerful stuff.
Los Angeles art gallery Century Guild has a collection of peculiar and macabre prints from Germany, Austria, France and Italy dating back to 1880-1890. “What I find most striking is the modernity of the visual message,” says the gallery’s founder, Thomas Negovan. “We tend to view the turn of the century through a sepia-toned lens of quaintness, when the truth is that the world then was just as dynamic and thrilling as our lives are today.”
Took my young children to a cave not far from the house. Popular spot, but we had the place to ourselves. You can walk through it in about 30 minutes without too much difficulty. It has a tiny exit at the opposite end. It was pretty muddy, so we decided to turn around and head back to the entrance. Halfway back, there was a lit candle sitting about eight feet up one side. It was definitely not there on the first trip. I went into full-on protective-dad-mode knowing there was likely someone hiding in the dark while we walked the rest of the way out.
That thread led to a much larger strand, a marvelous sequence of campfire spooky stories. The conceit is a search and rescue veteran sharing the creepiest experiences s/he has had or heard. Pore through these in a brightly lit, warm house, without stairs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
Narrator's voice is in plain text, while Carmilla's is in italics:
Laura Laura are you awake are you awake I want to tell you about some feelings I think you should have can it wait until morning mm not really normal feelings? or blood feelings …normal feelings be honest normal blood feelings
oh dear another girl from the village has died HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO TALK ABOUT HER i’m sorry if i’ve offended you YOU HAVEN’T OFFENDED ME I JUST DIDN’T REALIZE ALL YOU CARED ABOUT WAS THIS INERT BITCH that’s not what i meant at all I MEAN I WOULD GO DIE RIGHT NOW IF IT MEANT YOU WOULD GO ON AND ON ABOUT ME LIKE YOU’RE DOING ABOUT YOUR DEAD FRIEND RIGHT NOW she wasn’t my friend i just thought it was sad that she died ARE WE SERIOUSLY STILL TALKING ABOUT HER HONESTLY LAURA YOU SEEM SORT OF OBSESSED WITH HER AND IT’S KIND OF CREEPING ME OUT