- United States
More informationMontague Rhodes James (1862-1936), who wrote as M. R. James, was an English author, medieval scholar and provost of King's College, Cambridge, and of Eton College.
He is best known for his outstanding ghost stories. James reinvented the ghost story for the modern audience by moving away from Gothic elements and using realistic contemporary settings. His protagonists and plots often reflected his own antiquarian interests. Accordingly he is known as the originator of the 'antiquarian ghost story'.
'Wailing Well' is the story of a group of boy scouts camping somewhere on the downs in the south of England who are warned not to go into a particular field which contains a single clump of trees. A local shepherd relates a strange story about the place, which he refers to as Wailing Well. He claims to have seen four skeletal figures walking through the field, three women and one man, all walking towards the clump of trees where the well is. One of the young scouts determines to investigate for himself....