My latest acquisition was Voodoo Tales: The Ghost Stories of Henry S. Whitehead, which I bought because it was huge (691 pages!), inexpensive ($3.90!), and ’cause it had voodoo in it (voodoo!). What can I tell you, it was a compelling combo.
I’ve never heard of Henry S. Whitehead, but apparently he was an early Weird Tales writer who had two Arhkam House collections. You’d think I’d be more on top of an author who had a pair of Arhkam House collections, but no. This genre keeps finding more ways to surprise me.
I’m guessing that Whitehead wrote mostly voodoo tales, but I won’t know for sure until I dig into the volume. Until then, I’m relying on the cover and the text on the back, and I’m definitely picking up a voodoo vibe.
“And behind him, like a misshapen black frog, bounded the Thing, its red tongue lolling out of its gash of a mouth, its diminutive blubbery lips drawn back in a murderous snarl…”
Let Henry S. Whitehead take you into the mysterious and macabre world of voodoo where beasts invade the mind of man and where lives of the living are racked by the spirits of the dead. In this collection of rare and out of print stories you will encounter the curses of the great Guinea-Snake, the Sheen, the weredog whose very touch means certain death, the curious tale of the ‘magicked’ mirror, and fiendish manikins who make life a living hell. Included in this festival of shivering fear is the remarkable narrative ‘Williamson’ which every editor who read the story shied away from publishing.
With deceptive simplicity and chilling realism, Whitehead’s Voodoo Tales are amongst the most frightening ever written.
Henry St. Clair Whitehead was born on March 5, 1882, and he died on November 23, 1932. Much of his fiction was published posthumously and indeed this collection includes stories published between 1924 and 1970.
Lovecraft was one of his most notable fans, calling his 1931 tale “Passing of a God,” “(p)erhaps representing the peak of his creative genius.” Voodoo Tales collects 35 short stories and two novellas: “The Great Circle” (1932) and “Seven Turns in a Hangman’s Rope” (also 1932). For Lovecraft fans, it also includes their sole collaboration, ”The Trap,” which appeared in the March 1932 issue of Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror.
Just for added color, here’s a sample of the pulp magazines these stories originally appeared in.
Click for bigger versions.
And here’s three of Henry S. Whitehead’s vintage collections: West India Lights (Arkham House, 1946), Jumbee and Other Voodoo Tales (Mayflower, 1976), and The Black Beast and Other Voodoo Tales (Mayflower , 1976).
Boy, I love the cover on The Black Beast. Wonder who the cover artist is? And I wonder if I can find a copy….
Here’s the complete Table of Contents for Voodoo Tales:
Introduction by David Stuart Davies
“Black Terror” (Weird Tales, October 1931)
“West India Lights” (West India Lights, 1946)
“Williamson” (West India Lights, 1946)
“The Shut Room” (Weird Tales, April 1930)
“The Left Eye” (Weird Tales, June 1927)
“Tea Leaves” (Weird Tales, May-June-July 1924)
“The Trap” (Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, March 1932) by H. P. Lovecraft and Henry S. Whitehead
“The Napier Limousine” (Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, January 1933)
“The Ravel Pavane” (West India Lights, 1946)
“Sea Change” (Weird Tales, February 1925)
“The People of Pan” (Weird Tales, March 1929)
“The Chadbourne Episode” (Weird Tales, February 1933)
“Scar-Tissue” (West India Lights, 1946)
“—In Case of Disaster Only” (West India Lights, 1946)
“Bothon” (Amazing Stories, August 1946)
“The Great Circle” (Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, June 1932)
“Obi in the Caribbean” (West India Lights, 1946 )
“Jumbee” (Weird Tales, September 1926)
“Cassius” (Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, November 1931)
“Black Tancrède” (Weird Tales, June 1929)
“The Shadows” (Weird Tales, November 1927)
“Sweet Grass” (Weird Tales, July 1929)
“The Tree-Man” (Weird Tales, February-March 1931)
“Passing of a God” (Weird Tales, January 1931)
“Hill Drums” (Weird Tales, June-July 1931)
“The Black Beast” (Jumbee and Other Uncanny Tales, 1944)
“Seven Turns in a Hangman’s Rope” (Jumbee and Other Uncanny Tales, 1944)
“Mrs. Lorriquer” (Weird Tales, April 1932)
“The Projection of Armand Dubois” (Weird Tales, October 1926)
“The Lips” (Weird Tales, September 1929)
“The Fireplace” (Weird Tales, January 1925)
“The Moon Dial” (Magazine of Horror, May 1970)
“No Eye-Witnesses” (Weird Tales, August 1932)
“Across the Gulf” (Weird Tales, May 1926)
“The Tabernacle” (Weird Tales, January 1930)
“The Door” (Weird Tales, November 1924)
“Sea-Tiger” (Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, October 1932)
We’ve covered eight volumes in the Wordsworth Tales of Mystery And The Supernatural series so far:
The Casebook of Carnacki The Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson
The Beast with Five Fingers by W.F. Harvey
The Power of Darkness — Tales of Terror, by Edith Nesbit
Alice and Claude Askew’s Aylmer Vance, The Ghost-Seer
The Black Veil & Other Tales of Supernatural Sleuths edited by Mark Valentine
Voodoo Tales: The Ghost Stories of Henry S. Whitehead
Sherlock Holmes: The Game’s Afoot, edited by David Stuart Davies
The Casebook of Sexton Blake, edited by David Stuart Davies
Voodoo Tales: The Ghost Stories of Henry S. Whitehead was published in the UK by Wordsworth Editions on September 1, 2012. It is 691 pages, priced at £2.99 in paperback and $3.99 for the digital edition. I bought my copy from an Amazon seller for $3.90 earlier this month.