PAUL JASON ponders the Charles Dickens ghostly classic short story, The Signalman
The Signalman was first published in 1866 by Charles Dickens.
The tale begins as the narrator is enjoying an evening stroll through the countryside.
He passes along the top ridge of a railway cutting. It is here he spots, on the line below, a signalman, whom he befriends.
This tale hooks you in, straight from the start, with Dickens’ character descriptions of the two protagonists involved.
The Signalman himself, although friendly enough, seems to have a haunting fear of the something within the tunnel entrance.
Each time the warning bell would sound, for him to change the track rail, he would glance fearfully towards the tunnel.
Dickens builds the suspense beautifully as our narrator warms to this angst ridden signalman, who reluctantly harbours this dark forboding terror of his environment. Our storyteller is sympathetic to his fears and tries to tease the tale from him over the next couple of nights.
The signalman reveals, to our friend, a tale of a faceless spectre which appears at the tunnel mouth each time the bell would eerily resonate.
This ghostly Victorian yarn has a wonderful setting in that cold, dark, evershaded railway cutting.
This poor, humble worker seems to belong to the dismal place and its sunless atmosphere. It goes forward as each night the signalman reveals more of the ghastly goings on to the story telling listener.
This is a marvellous ghost story told to us, by the master scribe, Dickens. It was also made into a play for the BBC.
It was directed in 1976 by, none other than Lawrence Gordon Clark, a well known fan of the genre. It starred Denholme Elliot and Bernard Lloyd who took the part of the kind hearted listening companion of The Signalman.
Whether you watch it or read the book, I promise you’re in for a chill rendering experience!
PAUL JASON is a a 42 year old Tree Surgeon from Liverpool: “I have been fascinated with everything ghoulish since I was a child. This is my first written review of any type so hope you enjoy. You can comment or contact me on twitter @arborist2222“