Carnacki, the Ghost Finder


Carnacki is a supernatural detective created in 1910 by W.H. Hodgson.
Now, we are used of that type of character, but at the dawn of the 20th century, Thomas Carnacki and his strange adventures were quite a novelty.  In fact, he is one of the only supernatural detectives I know to deal with both real supernatural and fake ghosts. Carnacki is a kind of Victorian Ghostbuster who loves to tell the stories of his adventures ​to a group of friends after a nice dinner at this place… Yes, traditional ghost-stories by the fireplace. I won’t tell you the ends of the stories, or which is a real ghost-story and which is only a brilliant con Carnacki as to unveil, but I could sum up a little these 9 adventures before giving you my ​opinion on them…
« The Thing invisible » is the first adventure of the book. In the chapel of an Edwardian manor, an old servant is stabbed by a dagger coming carnackipaperback1from nowhere… Old malediction? Carnacki has to stay by night in the chapel to discover what has really happens, risking his life…
In « The Gateway of the Monster », Carnacki faces a haunted bedroom where a noisy spirit tears of the bedclothes and slams doors. Carnacki, at first underestimates the ​spirit, and he has to spend the night under the protection of his electric pentacle while a giant ghostly human hand try to catch him…
“The House among the laurels” is a haunted manor which kills any creature who tries to spend the night. Blood drips from the ceiling, and the heir of this abandoned ​place need the help of Carnacki to get rid of this scary and deadly manifestation. But the people of the village are reluctant to let the two men go to the manor, and what’s happened during the night doesn’t help to calm the minds…
“The Whistling room” prevents anybody in the house to sleep at night. Carnacki thinks it’s just a bad joke since he has a look at the room by the windows and nearly perishes…
“The Searcher of the end house” is a different adventure, because the haunted house is Carnacki’s! It’s his first case… In this short-story, it’s seemed Carnacki and his mothercarnacki are not the only tenants of the house; some ethereal ones are playing strange tricks to the ​detective-to-be.
“The Horse of the invisible” is the most famous story as it became an episode of the series “The rivals of Sherlock Holmes”. A young girl is victim of a family malediction. As she is just engaged, an invisible Horse manifests itself, and not to offer its blessing to the bride-to-be…
“The haunted Jarvee” is the case of a haunted ship, which is chased by strange phenomenon… How could you exorcise a ship? Good question, indeed!
“The Find” is a strange find indeed in this book, as it’s not a ghost story but a book story! Carnacki has to investigate a possible forgery. Is this precious book a real one or the creation of a very gifted counterfeiter?
In “the Hog”, a man is pursuit by an infernal swine in his sleep? Gateway to Hell? Maybe… Carnacki will have a hard-time if he wants to save his client!

carnacki (2)The stories are not all on the same level of qualities, but except the Hog I found quite boring, they all have something to offer as the fantastic and the reality mix in them quite often. It’s a pleasure to be like the detective, wondering if you will be the witness of a real evil, or just the victim of wicked human beings. Sometimes, you could pick your explanation, sometimes, Carnacki has to face both man-made mysteries and ghost and it’s always a good old-fashioned shiver! Yes, it’s not seems totally news for a today reader, but remember it’s 100 years old, and I think a lot of writers has taken some inspiration in these adventures… Carnacki, like Holmes, is really conscious of his superiority and takes pleasure to be at the centre of the attention and to tell his stories – but he never tries to hide his mistakes – and his biographer – W.H. Hodgson himself – never add an opinion. So you could have you own…
So, just switch off the light, light up a candle, take a nice cup of tea and indulge the guilty pleasure of good-old fashioned ghost-stories like no others…

carnacki (1)I read this book for a Web Book Club I’m part of : if you’re curious, this is our website :

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