Damnable Tales - A Folk Horror Anthology

By Richard Wells

An illustrated collection of classic Folk Horror stories

Illustrated | Fiction
168% funded
789 supporters
Writing in progress

Publication date: TBC

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Damnable Cards

A deck of six art cards featuring lino print illustrations from the book

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Exclusive t-shirt available in design exclusive to Unbound (think Vincent Price in Witchfinder General. Available in S, M, L, XL (size and design to be specified in post check-out email closer to the time of dispatch.)

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A limited run of a large (A2) poster based on the book's jacket. Exclusive to Unbound: only 30 available.

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Chapbook

A hand-bound chapbook exclusive to Unbound, featuring an extra story - 'Witch In-Grain' written in 1893 by Robert Murray Gilchrist, known for his Gothic tales of life in the Peak District. Strictly limited to 50 signed and numbered copies.

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Damnable Bundle

A bundle of Damnable merchandise exclusive to Unbound including a limited edition print, a set of cards, a t-shirt and a chapbook.

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Six Print Set

A set of six limited edition lino-cut illustrations printed by hand on thick handmade lotka paper. The six designs are those featured in the extract from the book. Each print signed and numbered in a limited edition of thirty .

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Damnable Patron

A dedication in the front of the book plus ten copies of the book, six lino prints and the bundle of Damnable merchandise.

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  • 6 lino prints
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Damnable Tales is an illustrated collection of classic short stories drawing upon the haunted landscapes of ‘Folk Horror’. 

This now widely-used term was originally 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 those films. These 22 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…

The collection will feature classic 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.

They have been selected by Richard Wells, an illustrator and graphic designer known for his dark folkloric style and whose work for television has featured in Sherlock, Doctor Who and the the recent BBC adaptation of Dracula

Each story will be accompanied by one of Richard’s full page original lino-cut illustrations.

The book will be a beautiful and striking object: an essential addition to the library of the eerie and the wyrd.

Support this project

Quick select rewards

$40  + shipping
306 pledges

Hardback

A copy of the first edition hardback, plus your name printed in the list of supporters at the back of the book

PLUS:

  • Hardback
  • Your name in the back of the book
Choose this reward
  • Richard Wells avatar

    Richard Wells

    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.

  • 20th September 2020 'The Shining Pyramid'

    Hello again!

    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'

    Hello again!

    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 2020 The Summer People

    Hello again!

    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 2020 All Hallows

    Hello again!

    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 2020 The First Sheaf

    Hello again!

    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 2020 How Pan Came to Little Ingleton

    Hello again!

    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 2020 Getting there!

    Hello again!

    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'

    Hello again!

    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'

    Hello again!

    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'

    Hello again!

    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'

    Hello again!

    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'

    Hello again!

    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'

    Hi there!

    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 2020 Man-Size in Marble

    Hi there!

    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'

    Hello again!

    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 2020 Damnable 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 2020 Out of the Sea

    Hello Unbounders!

    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 2020 Fully 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...

    I want to thank you all for your…

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  • Nicholas Hunter
    Nicholas Hunter asked:

    Why am I being asked to make a payment before the project is fully funded?

    Unbound
    Unbound replied:

    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.

    Hannah Suzanne
    Hannah Suzanne asked:

    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.

    Richard Wells
    Richard Wells replied:

    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.

    Jeff Wall
    Jeff Wall asked:

    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?

    Richard Wells
    Richard Wells replied:

    Hi Jeff! I've just replied to the email you sent. All the best, R