F. Marion Crawford (1854–1909)
From American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps
F. Marion Crawford was one of the best-selling American authors of the late nineteenth century. In twenty-eight years he published forty-four novels, most of them historical fiction or cosmopolitan romances and nearly all of them commercial successes. Yet today his novels are completely forgotten—and he would be as well, if not for the handful of Gothic horror stories collected after his death as Wandering Ghosts.
Crawford’s supernatural tales—including “The Screaming Skull,” “The Upper Berth,” and “The Doll’s Ghost”—have been reprinted in numerous anthologies of classic horror fiction over the past century. The Library of America collection American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to Now includes “For the Blood Is the Life,” which features a wraithlike phantom that is . . . well, let’s just say it isn’t exactly a ghost. We present it here in full—with an introduction explaining why fellow novelist Henry James detested his friend Marion Crawford.