Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ghost Stories [magazine]

US Magazine, 64 issues, monthly (but last 3 issues bimonthly), July 1926-December 1931/January 1932, published by Bernarr Macfadden (1868-1955), New York, under different imprints. Details of editorial responsibility are hard to unravel, but overall editorial director throughout was Fulton Oursler (1893-1952), assisted in sequence by Harry A Keller, W Adolphe Roberts (1886-1962), George Bond, Daniel Wheeler and Arthur B Howland, each serving for about a year, before Harold Hersey (1893-1956), one-time editor of The Thrill Book, took over as publisher from April 1930, assisted by Stuart Palmer (1905-1968). The magazine was initially a large-format slick, switching to standard Pulp format in July 1928, with a brief period (April-December 1929) as a large-format pulp.

GS focused almost entirely on Ghost Stories, pandering chiefly to the vogue for Spiritualism; many tales sported posed photographs. Tales were written in the first person in a "true confessions" style. The stories were usually by staff writers (most often Harold Standish Corbin [1887-1947]) and attributed to a bogus narrator. Only rarely did other pulp writers appear, chief among them being Victor Rousseau (real name Victor Rousseau Emmanuel 1879-1960), but occasional contributors included Hugh B Cave, Ray Cummings (1887-1957), Paul Ernst (1899-1985), Robert E Howard, Carl Jacobi (1908-1997) and Frank Belknap Long. Macfadden had an arrangement with UK publishers, including Walter Hutchinson (1887-1950), and stories were exchanged with The Sovereign Magazine and Mystery-Story Magazine (see Hutchinson's Magazines). GS also regularly reprinted many classic ghost stories. The magazine's demise came about almost certainly because of reader boredom with the predictability of the stories.

GS had a short-lived weird-fiction companion, True Strange Stories (8 issues March-November 1929) ed Walter B Gibson (1897-1985), which had a similar format though a wider remit than GS. [MA]

further reading: GS is indexed in Stories of Ghosts (1970) by James R Sieger; this includes a short history by Sam Moskowitz, who has also written about the magazine in Fantasy Commentator #41 (Fall 1990). No specific anthologies exist, although Prize Ghost Stories (1 issue 1963) and True Twilight Tales (2 issues Fall 1963, Spring 1964) drew their contents entirely from GS. Two representative stories were included in When Spirits Talk (anth 1990 chap) ed Mike Ashley.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.