Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Thing At The Foot of the Bed (Maria Leach, 1977)

If you enjoyed listening to those scary stories (posted here, here, here, here, and here) you might enjoy reading them as well. They can all be found in The Thing At The Foot of the Bed (Maria Leach).

This great collection of traditional ghost stories from folklore and urban legend has been in and out of print in various editions since 1959 (the one pictured here is 1977). Like "The Golden Arm" or "The Hitch Hiker", these are stories that have been told and retold through the years, their original authors long forgotten. This makes them popular source material for adaptation.

In fact, most of the stories found here, (including the title story) have been recorded for children's records at some point, or appeared in other scary story anthologies.

Some of these include The Thing At The Foot of the Bed, Here We Go!, The Guitar Player, Wait Till Martin Comes, Big Fraid and Little Fraid,
The Golden Arm, The Dare, I'm In the Room!, As Long As This?, Dark Dark Dark, The Ghostly Hitchhiker, and The Cradle That Rocked Itself.

Leach includes an author's notes section and bibliography identifying the motif of the story, its origins and variations (for example, did you know "The Ghostly Hitchhiker" is an "old European tale said to have turned up in America about 1890"?)

AND IF YOU REALLY ENJOYED THOSE AUDIO CLIPS.... check out the excellent Scar Stuff blog. It doesn't look like Scar Stuff is being updated any longer (the last post is over a year ago) and the audio downloads (where those clips originated) are no longer available, but Scar Stuff is still a treasure trove of carefully researched information on Halloween and scary-themed recordings, accompanied by blogmaster Jason's endearing nostalgic commentary.


Ghoul Friday said...

My goodness. I read this book when I was a kid. What a great find. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

jeanlass said...

Another comment on an elderly post- this time to mention that this book seems to be cannibalized (right down to Marc Simont's illustrations) from Maria Leach's Rainbow Book of American Folk Tales, which I loved as a kid. There were lots of spooky tales along with the Paul Bunyan stuff- wonderful stuff. Probably still on the shelf of your local library!