Identify these horror short stories, please.

I got such quick answers the last time I asked, and right on the money, I might add, that I thought I’d try it again. The following are all short horror stories, to the best of my recollection, and the first two were contained in the same book, IIRC (all different authors). I’m fairly certain I read all these stories in the 70s, too.

  1. A group of people are out in the wilderness for some reason, and they in some manner encounter moving trees. At least one of the party is found dead, with possibly some conical depressions in his body. I vaguely remember the depressions were from a moving tree burrowing its roots into him.

  2. An older gentlemen, possibly a story set in the Victorian era. He has a secret companion with him whose existence comes out with his death. It’s a (blue? green?) woman, height maybe 12 inches, or something that looks like a woman. I think at one point he begins having second thoughts about continuing his secret relationship with this thing, or he becomes involved with another (real) woman, and the thing bites him, like a snake. It then disappears into some tall grass, and eludes capture.

  3. I might have read this one in a book called Horror by Gaslight, dunno. A man tells a friend about his discovery of an entrance, hidden in a certain grave, that leads to Hell or some secret underground place. The two open the entrance, the man descends, leaving his friend at the surface, and the two will continue communication by radio. The man’s description of his trek becomes weirder, until finally he shouts at his friend to seal the entrance and beat it, BEAT IT!

Thanks in advance for any and all help rendered.

I don’t know about the first two, but the last story is one of H.P. Lovecraft’s lesser stories. I can’t recall the title, though, or what collection it’s in.

And the message over the phone at the end isn’t from his friend – it’s an unknown voice telling him that his friend is dead.

Yup–it’s called “The Statement of Randolph Carter.”

You can read it here:

It’s The Statement of Randolph Carter.

Damnit, winterhawk11! I just spent the last twenty minutes googling to try to find it, and I finally got there with ‘lovecraft friend descend voice’ and rushed back here, only to see that you beat me to it.

However, Cal, the narrator’s friend does tell him to beat it, before the unknown voice mentions that Warren is dead:

There are some extra explanatory notes on that piece, which are mildly interesting.


Well, that’s your problem there. You should have cthuugled it.


I was going to say that I thought my third entry was Lovecraftian in tone, but I decided not to, so as not to narrow down people’s recollection directions.

That’ll teach me. And thanks for all the answers so far.

Tried. The result of a search:

Your first one sounds like Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” to me …

Steve Wright has correctly identified the first entry in my query.

winterhawk11 took the prize for correctly identifying my third entry, although CalMeachum rang in first, but with incomplete info.

If it helps, I’m of the opinion that The Willows and my second entry were contained in the same paperback book, which I likely read in the mid-to-late 70s. I’ve found online traces of such a book of Blackwood’s work, published in 1973 or 1974, but I can’t get a synopsis of the stories, so don’t know if one of them might be right.

*The Willows[/], online:

I know I’ve read #2, but I can’t be of any more help. I just checked my “Complete Book of Terror”, and it’s not there.

Story #2 – someone on the Shocklines board suggested that it might be “Back There in the Grass” by Gouverneur Morris. Here’s its publishing history, courtesy of the Locus Index:

Back There in the Grass, (ss) Colliers Dec 16 1911

  • World of Wonder, ed. Fletcher Pratt, New York: Twayne 1951
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories for Late at Night, ed. Alfred Hitchcock, Random House 1961
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: 12 Stories for Late at Night, ed. Alfred Hitchcock, Dell 1962

Story #1 is “The Willows” ? Damn. I thought of that right off, because of the moving trees, but I didn’t remember the “conical depressions” stuff.

And it wasn’t a group. It was two guys, the narrator and a Swede.

ok, wait. I’m confused. So the narrator stabbed the two guys with the swede? I guess a root vegetable would make conical depressions, but the whole story doesn’t make mush sense. Guess I’ll go read it…