Living Sensibly With the Dead: E.F. Benson’s “How Fear Departed From the Long Gallery”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at E.F. Benson’s “How Fear Departed From the Long Gallery,” first published in his 1912 collection, The Room in the Tower and Other Stories. Spoilers ahead.

“Church-Peveril is a house so beset and frequented by spectres, both visible and audible, that none of the family which it shelters under its acre and a half of green copper roofs takes psychical phenomena with any seriousness.”


In the competition for Britain’s most haunted house, Church-Peveril beats Hogwart’s Shrieking Shack by several lengths of shrouding linen. Master Anthony, for example, still rides his mare up the front staircase many a night, while great-great-grandmama Bridget occasionally conducts “vague business” by a bedroom fireplace. Don’t ...