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BOOK REVIEW - AMBROSE BIERCE – A BABY TRAMP

 

 

Terribly sad ghost story about a doomed family and in particular, the lonely demise of the last survivor, an unknown orphaned infant, by the author of The Devil’s Dictionary and Civil War Stories. 

 

The town of Blackburg, in the USA is the site of a series of mysterious rainfalls, including a shower of frogs, but it is the near Biblical blood-red rain that proves more deadly, when it spreads disease ad death to more than half of the town’s population. The Brownon family, once proud and rich descendants of the town’s founders, are affected worse, and even descendants of the bloodline in other States and abroad die in mysterious awful ways.

 

The majority of the family who remained in the town are buried in the old cemetery there, becoming its dominant population, and the ghost of the town’s founder is seen outside the cemetery frightening the passengers of passing horse drawn carriages.

 

Little Joey, or Jo, as he is called, was in Wisconsin, a long way away from the Boston town of Blackburg when the disease killed his parents off, leaving him cruelly orphaned.  After being found and raised for months by an Indian tribe, he is moved through a series of orphanages where he is treated cruelly, eventually running away, starved and unloved until he is subjected to a mysterious rain that seems to target him exclusively. He is eventually found dead in the cemetery at Blackburg, on the grave on the ghost of the town’s fonder member. He is not to be buried there though, and where he has been interred is never disclosed.

 

A sad creepy tale of gods punishing illegitimacy and indiscretion with the total irradiation of a family dynasty.

 

The full text of the story is online at http://horrorstories.magick7.com/stories07/015.htm

 

Arthur Chappell

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