Today I’ll be shining a little light on a lesser known author of vampire horror – F. Marion Crawford (1854-1909). Crawford was an American writer who was well known by vampire fans for his acclaimed story “For the Blood Is the Life” (1911) and “The Screaming Skull” (1908). Crawford was also known for his story “The Upper berth,” which isn’t actually about vampires, but is considered by some to be one of the most terrifying short stories ever written. But he didn’t just stop at horror, he is also the author of some fantastic historical novels set in Italy, such as “Don Orsino” (1892). This beloved author also lived in India for a few years and was a Sanskrit scholar. Wandering Ghosts (1911) featured “For the Blood Is the Life” and six other tales, establishing Crawford’s place in horror.
Excerpt from the eerie “For the Blood Is the Life”:
“She was nearer now when she beckoned to him. Her cheeks were not livid like those of the dead, but pale with starvation, with the furious and unappeased physical hunger of her eyes that devoured him. They feasted on his soul and cast a spell over him, and at last they were close to his own and held them. He could not tell whether her breath was as hot as fire or as cold as ice; he could not tell whether her red lips burned his or froze them, or whether her five fingers on his wrists seared scorching scars or bit his flesh like frost; he could not tell whether he was awake or asleep, whether she was alive or dead, but he knew that she loved him, she alone of all creatures, earthly or unearthly, and her spell had power over him. When the moon rose high that night the shadow of that Thing was not alone down there upon the mound.”
You can read this story for free here.
Have any of you read Crawford’s work? If so, what did you think?