Born in Alabama in 1911, Mary Elizabeth Counselman was a speculative fiction and poetry writer whose work appeared in numerous popular publications such as Weird Tales, The Saturday Evening Post and Colliers to name a few. She worked as a reporter for The Birmingham News later in life and had a deep appreciation for cats, many of which she took in over the years. Her story “Parasite Mansion” was adapted for an episode of the television show Thriller in 1961. She died in an assisted living center in 1995.

THE STORIES (Listed by order of publication):

1. “The House of Shadows” (1933) – After getting off her train during a brief stop, a woman jumps in to rescue a kitten being attacked by two dogs. While successful, the distraction causes her to miss getting back on the train before it leaves. She recalls a friend who lives in the town, so she goes to ask if she can put her up for the night. Her friend agrees, but the house seems dark and sullen. The friend’s family are pleasant enough but tend to keep to the shadows and avoid physical contact. This is a good, eerie tale. You can listen here for free: https://horrorbabble.podbean.com/e/the-house-of-shadows-by-mary-elizabeth-counselman/

2. “The Cat-Woman” (1933) – A woman is fascinated by her neighbor and her white cat, but when she mentions the cute animal to their landlord, she becomes upset as she doesn’t allow pets. This intriguing neighbor has strong cat-like qualities herself. There is more to her and her cat than meets the eye.

3. “The Three Marked Pennies” (1934) – A message is mysteriously distributed through a town stating that on a specific date three pennies with distinctive markings on them will go into circulation. Each marking will correspond to a different endowment which will be gifted to its possessor. One of them will get $100,000 in cash, another atrip around the world, but the last person will instead receive death. You can listen here for free: https://horrorbabble.bandcamp.com/album/the-three-marked-pennies

4. “The Black Stone Statue” (1937) – A famous artist confesses that the incredibly lifelike statues she creates are not the product of her skill but rather the product of a strange starfish-like creature which she got from an adventurer who brought it back from the jungles of Brazil. You can listen here for free: https://pseudopod.org/2021/06/11/pseudopod-761-the-black-stone-statue/

5. “Mommy” (1939) – A young orphan girl’s insistence that her dead mother is always beside her seems to have some merit due to strange things which occur around her. The girl struggles to make friends or to get adopted because of this. You can listen to it here for free: https://horrorbabble.bandcamp.com/album/mommy

6. “The Monkey Spoons” (1950) – A man, his fiancé and her brother all enter a dusty old antique shop. The woman becomes instantly fascinated by three ornate spoons called monkey spoons. The shopkeeper seems reluctant to sell them, saying they are cursed to bring the death to their owners. The trio insist however and buys them anyway. The tragedy of this curse is soon laid upon them one-by-one. You can listen here for free: https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/f19235b1-ed7c-4cf5-917e-cb69c3619e40/episodes/a3a33fae-f686-4266-b32e-96af19c0c492/pulp-the-monkey-spoons-by-mary-elizabeth-counselman

7. “The Tree’s Wife” (1950) – After her fiancée is murdered in the midst of their wedding by her enraged family members, the widowed bride is subsequently married to a tree. She refers to this tree as her lost husband and it does indeed seem to protect and provide for her and her daughter as though possessed by his spirit. Your can listen here for free: https://horrorbabble.podbean.com/e/the-tree-s-wife-by-mary-elizabeth-counselman/

8. “Cordona’s Skull” (1950) – A down-on-his-luck stage magician attends a free psychic reading and is impressed by the medium’s technique – especially the real skull he uses which is somehow able to move when held by those seeking answers. He decides to get close to the aged medium named Cordona in order to steal both his money and his thr but that ultimately turns out to be a bad idea. You can listen here for free: https://pseudopod.org/2020/08/28/pseudopod-719-cordonas-skull/

Article by Matt Cowan


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s