Tangent Online

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

"Casting the Runes" by M. R. James

E-mail Print

Escape (1947-54) aired M. R. James's 1911 ghost story "Casting the Runes" on November 19, 1947 as it's 15th episode. A spurned occultist seeks revenge on his peers when they reject his life's work, a manuscript on the subject of witchcraft. Those scoffing at his work as ridiculous folly soon begin dying after a series of dire, unexplainable warnings come to pass. Can the next scholar on the list discover who or what is killing his fellows and thwart what appears to be an unstoppable curse of medieval black magic before he meets a similar gruesome fate? Research into dusty, forgotten tomes from the recesses of an English library; cold, lonely walks home on dark country roads when you hear something not of this earth scuttling behind you, but when you turn in alarm you find nothing but the leaves and the wind... Such are the pleasures that await the stout of heart as Escape revisits one of M. R. James's (1862-1936) most haunting ghost stories, "Casting the Runes."

Play Time: 29:30

(Rather than this week's vintage covers representing 1947 when "Casting the Runes" first aired, we are devoting space instead in celebration of some of M. R. James's numerous editions of ghost stories. The final cover illustrates a British audio CD where famed actor Derek Jacobi reads M. R. James. I can't wait to get a copy.)