'Wicked witches, bad fairies, and the restless dead be damned, for those who are looking to fill up their folk horror fiction shelves, Damnable Tales is a must-have' Andy Paciorek, Horrified Magazine
'I had to keep pulling myself away from it so I didn’t finish it in one sitting . . . An incredible book' Annie Kapur, Vocal Media
This richly illustrated anthology gathers together classic short stories from masters of supernatural fiction including M. R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu and Arthur Machen, alongside lesser-known voices in the field including Eleanor Scott and Margery Lawrence, and popular writers less bound to the horror genre, such as Thomas Hardy and E. F. Benson.
These are damnable tales, selected and beautifully illustrated by Richard Wells. They stalk the moors at night, the deep forests, cornered fields and dusky churchyards, the narrow lanes and old ways of these ancient places, drawing upon the haunted landscapes of folk-horror – a now widely used term first applied to a series of British films from the late 1960s and 1970s: Witchfinder General (1968), Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), and The Wicker Man (1973).
But as this collection shows, writers of uncanny fiction were dabbling in the dark side of folklore long before. These twenty-two stories take the reader beyond the safety and familiarity of the town into the isolated and untamed wilderness. Unholy rites, witches’ curses, sinister village traditions and ancient horrors that lurk within the landscape all combine to remind us that the shiny modern, urban world might not have all the answers…
Richard Wells is an illustrator and graphic designer. Primarily working in the television industry, he has provided graphic props for the likes of Poldark, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and the recent BBC adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Outside of his television work, he makes and sells his own darkly folkloric artwork, often lino cut and printed by hand. His most recent work includes a series of prints based on the ghost stories of M.R. James, out of which has developed this illustrated short story project with Unbound.
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28th February 2022Paperback and things!
Hope you're keeping well. Just chipping in with a few updates. Following the exciting news that the hardback edition of Damnable Tales has completely sold out (blimey!), I'm happy to report that the paperback edition will be published in the UK on March 31st, and is available to pre-order now from all good bookshops. I don't know why I'm telling you, you already have the book in hardback…
20th August 2021Damnable Book Arrival!
Finally, the spooky books have arrived ! Do doubt you'll all be recieving your copies very soon. Thanks again to the good folk at Unbound, and to everyone who supported the project. Hopefully you'll be as pleased with the finished tome as I am!
P.S. I'm continuing to sell batches of original lino prints from the series over at my shop - slipperyjack.bigcartel.com. I've just added a small print…
7th April 2021Damnable Cover
Finally, a new update!
Firstly, I’m happy to reveal the final cover design for the book…
Unbound are just finalizing the copy for the back of the book, so once that’s locked I’ll share the full cover with you, along with a few other design sneak peaks…
Secondly, an announcement that the pledge levels will close at midnight on 25th April. This will be the last chance for…
19th February 2021Dammable Chapbook!
I’ve finally made a start on making the hand-bound chapbook pledge reward. As the story I’m including (‘Witch In-Grain’ by R. Murray Gilchrist) is very short, I’ve decided to include a second story by the same author – ‘The Basilisk’. I think they work nicely together, a couple of late 19th century tragic romances full of folkloric doom!
In addition, I’ve decided to stamp a…
8th February 2021Damnable Foreword!
Long time no see! Happy New Year, etc… Apologies for the lack of updates. At the weekend I finished putting together some ideas for the final cover design for the book, so hopefully I’ll have some news on that fairly soon.
If you follow me on Twitter (if not, why not?), you might’ve spotted the exciting announcement that Damnable Tales will feature a foreword written by Benjamin…
18th October 2020Damnable Scans
Last weekend, I gathered together all 23 of my completed lino blocks, and printed a fresh set onto plain white paper (all of my prints til now have been on the lovely textured handmade 'lokta' paper, this is the paper that all of the pledge reward lino prints will be printed onto). These will be the clean background 'final' versions of each design that will go into the finished book…
20th September 2020'The Shining Pyramid'
23 lino prints completed! Here’s my final lino print for Damnable Tales. It’s for Arthur Machen’s ‘The Shining Pyramid’, first published in the May & June editions of The Unknown World magazine, 1895. When Mr. Vaughan discovers strange symbols on the grounds of his country dwelling, he drags his friend Mr. Dyson away from bustling London to help him solve the mystery, which may be…
13th September 2020'Bind Your Hair'
I’m back with a first showing of the penultimate lino print I’ve done for Damnable Tales. This time, it’s Robert Aickman’s beguiling ‘Bind Your Hair’, first published in his 1964 collection Dark Entries, and the story which closes this anthology.
Clarinda Hartley experiences an increasingly uncanny couple of evenings out on countryside walks whilst avoiding her fiancée’s family…
30th August 2020The Summer People
Here’s lino print number 21 of 23 for Damnable Tales. This time, I’ve gone with Shirley Jackson’s brilliant ‘The Summer People’, first published in the September edition of Charm magazine, 1950. Janet and Robert Allison begin to sense a subtle menace creep into their lives after they decide to stay at their isolated country holiday cottage for a little longer than usual. Another of…
18th August 2020All Hallows
Here’s Damnable Tales lino print 20 of 23. This time, it’s for Walter de la Mare’s tale ‘All Hallows’, first published in the collection The Connoisseur, and Other Stories, 1926. A visitor to the titular church meets its lonely verger, who gradually comes to speak of an evil presence surrounding the building. I love the oppressive atmosphere conjured throughout the tale, and the striking…
9th August 2020The First Sheaf
Presenting lino print number 19 of 23! This time, it’s for H.R. Wakefield’s 1940 tale ‘The First Sheaf’, first published in the collection The Clock Strikes Twelve.
“Did I ever tell you how I lost my arm?” An old man recounts a childhood encounter with a sinister rural cult. Very much the archetypal Folk Horror tale, with an ancient evil bubbling under the surface of a seemingly…
2nd August 2020How Pan Came to Little Ingleton
I’m back with the latest lino printed illustration for Damnable Tales. This time, it’s one of my favourite stories in the anthology – Margery Lawrence’s ‘How Pan Came to Little Ingleton’, first published in her 1926 collection Nights of the Round Table.
In one of the gentler tales, a fusty, puritanical vicar is taught a lesson when a mysterious (or not) stranger appears one…
28th July 2020Getting there!
You might’ve noticed I haven’t been as regular as usual with my project updates. During lockdown, between March and June I managed to complete 16 lino prints, a pace I was pretty pleased with! Now my day job has started up again, I’ve not been able to devote as much time to lino cutting than before. But I’ve worked out a new routine and I’m back into the swing of things, though expect…
11th July 2020'The Lady on the Grey'
Presenting once more my latest lino print for Damnable Tales. This time it’s John Collier’s tale ‘The Lady on the Grey’, first published in 16th June edition of The New Yorker magazine, 1951.
A rakish cad gets his just deserts when he’s bewitched by a mysterious young woman whilst out on a country stroll. One of the lighter (and shorter) tales in the anthology, with a fun sting…
2nd July 2020'The Music on the Hill'
Here’s a first look at my latest completed lino print for Damnable Tales.
‘The Music on the Hill’, by the enigmatically pen-named Saki (Hector Hugh Munro to his friends), first published in the collection The Chronicles of Clovis, 1911.
A classic Folk Horror plot, with the ignorant bourgeoisie townsfolk relocating to the country and failing to respect ancient country traditions…
26th June 2020'The Sin-Eater'
Here's my latest lino print for Damnable Tales. This time, it's Fiona Macloed's tale The Sin-Eater, first published in the collection ‘The Sin-Eater, and Other Tales’, 1895.
A charlatan pays the price for conducting an ancient funereal folk ceremony for a quick profit…
22nd June 2020'A Witch-Burning'
Here's my latest lino print for Damnable Tales. 'A Witch-Burning' by Mrs. Baillie Reynolds, first published in The Strand Magazine, 1909. An exiled priest in New England risks everything to try and save the life of a young woman accused of witchcraft. A particularly tense and effective tale!
17th June 2020'Gavon's Eve'
Here’s my latest lino print for Damnable Tales.
Gavon’s Eve, by E. F. Benson, first published in the 13th January edition of The London Illustrated News, 1906.
Concerning the dark folklore of Gavon’s Loch, and the sinister practice that can be held at a certain spot on a certain night…
It’s a surprise to some that the creator of Mapp & Lucia was also a prolific writer…
11th June 2020'The Tarn of Sacrifice'
After a week away from lino cutting to sort out some book-related admin, I've just completed my latest lino print for Damnable Tales. ‘The Tarn of Sacrifice’ by Algernon Blackwood, first published in the collection ‘The Wolves of God, and Other Fey Stories’ (1921).
A war veteran exploring the Lake District encounters a fabled mountain lake, which seems to awaken memories from a past…
28th May 2020Man-Size in Marble
Fresh off the printing press once more, here’s my latest lino print for Damnable Tales. This time, it’s ‘Man-Size in Marble’ by Edith Nesbit, first published in the December issue of Home Chimes magazine, 1887. A newly married couple relocate to the country (always an unwise move where Folk Horror is concerned!), and fall foul of the local legend of the shapes “that walked in their marble…
21st May 2020'The Black Reaper'
Fresh off the printing press once more, here's the latest lino printed illustration for Damnable Tales.
'The Black Reaper' by Bernard Capes, first published in the collection ‘At a Winter’s Fire’, 1899.
An ungodly farming community pays a hefty price after a stranger is murdered during a drunken encounter in the wheat fields. Fire and brimstone stuff!
I rue the day…
13th May 2020'The Devil of the Marsh'
Fresh off the printing press, here's my latest lino print for Damnable Tales.
'The Devil of the Marsh' by H.B Marriott-Watson, first published in the collection ‘Diogenes of London, and other Fantasies and Sketches’, 1893.
A lovesick fellow goes for an ill-advised rendezvous in a misty marsh and gets more than he bargained for…
8th May 2020Damnable Process
Happy second May Day, everyone! I thought I'd share with you this video I cobbled together a few weeks back, charting my process of producing a lino print. I'm currently at work on a design for the 1893 tale 'The Devil of the Marsh', by H.B. Marriott-Watson, so look out next week for an update on that.
5th May 2020Out of the Sea
Fresh off the printing press, here’s a first look at my latest lino print for Damnable Tales. It’s an illustration for A.C. Benson’s ‘Out of the Sea’, first published in the collection ‘The Isles of Sunset’ (1904). A demonic goat-like being comes to the small coastal of village of Blea-on-the-Sands, its appearance somehow connected to a recent shipwreck and dark deeds within the…
4th May 2020Fully funded!
Hello Unbounders (is that what I call you?),
Sorry for the complete lack of project updates before now. As I'm sure you've heard, Damnable Tales passed its funding target last Thursday. The 30th of April of course was Walpurgis Night, traditionally when fires are lit to ward off evil spirits, and the Devil himself creeps abroad. Damnable timing, indeed...
Why am I being asked to make a payment before the project is fully funded?
Hi Nicholas - we're a little different from other crowdfunding sites - we do take the money up front and hold it (safely) until the project is funded. If the project doesn't fund you can either apply your credits to another project on the site or get a full cash refund. The reason is that when we started Unbound( back in 2011) UK banks didn't have allow us to hold a user's card details for more than 30 days - which made crowdfunding pretty much impossible. So we came up with the system of buying credits, which we still use. Thanks for asking - and for using Unbound.
Do we know roughly when the book will go out? I'll be moving house soon (I don't know the new address yet) so concerned about which address I'm putting when I order.
Hi there, apologies, I only just spotted your question! At the moment, I'm working to a September deadline to complete all of the lino print illustrations and hand everything over to Unbound to begin work on the publication. It won't be til some time next year, I believe Unbound have to fit it into their release schedule.
I run an online-only bookstore specializing in small press speculative fiction and am interested in multiple copies of the signed hardcover w/ chapbook combo. Is their someone I can talk to about dealer pricing?
Hi Jeff! I've just replied to the email you sent. All the best, R
Hi - have these all been sent out now? I’ve not had a copy and worried it’s gone to my old address, I did try to update it when I moved house but don’t know if there’s a way to check where it’s been sent? Thanks!
Hi there, I've had a check on your account and can see that your copy has not yet been dispatched as we were waiting on a confirmed delivery address. We do send out a few emails about this but I understand these can get lost in junk mail. Please contact support at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get this resolved for you.