Oh Whistle and I’ll Come for You, My Lad by MR James is probably my favorite ghost story of all time. James was know for writing psychological horror. This story is about a Cambridge professor who doesn’t believe in ghosts or the afterlife. He is on holiday and finds a whistle. Upon which strange things happen.
It has been my tradition on Halloween night to watch the 1968 movie staring Michael Hordern as the professor. The movie is very much like the book. I’m laughing at the moment as the google description labels it as a documentary.
The 1968 movie is very quirky. Hordern’s perfomance almost centers around eating loudly and talking to himself even when he is around other people.
What makes this story, as the other ghost stories that James wrote, interesting is that you have a character that doesn’t believe in ghosts, religion or anything supernatural and he then crosses paths with the supernatural. What does the professor do in the situation? It is good to note that the supporting characters of the tale show him far more compassion than he would of them.
Another movie to note is the 2010 movie which stars John Hurt. This one is far different from the story, it has the basic ideas but is different. For me, John Hurt playing the central character is what makes the movie.
Oh Whistle and I’ll Come for You, My Lad was published in a collection of ghost stories call Ghost Stories of an Antiquary in 1904. The audioprogram I listen to was narrated by David Suchet, who was know for playing Inspector Poirot.