Ghost stories are made to scare, horrify and build up suspense until you can’t bear it any more. Tension, it creates a atmosphere and when you don’t expect it strange things start to happen, maybe its paranormal activity or it could just be your mind playing tricks on you. It tends to make you feel as if there is something behind you, the forbidding, panic before you turn around and see what’s actually there. The uneasiness of the place builds tension and the anxiety is then so overwhelming that you feel as if you’re enclosed into the room or space.
Even if you’re in the woods of open area you still feel as if you can’t escape. The first story I will consider is, “The Signalman”. It begins with the narrator, who pays a visit to the signal box, to speak to the person operating it. The narrator shouts out from above the man, “halloa! Below there! ” These words are instantly recognised by the signal box operator.
Every time these words are spoken a horrific tragedy occurs, killing several people. This suggests to the reader that the narrators a Para-normal spirit. The Signalman’s job is lonely and un-sociable.
With a monotonous job it would mean that the signalman is a trustworthy and would be a good friend. The signalman begins to tell a story of how on two occasions, he had seen a distant and deluded figure and on both occasions a disaster had occurred.
He goes on to talk about the disasters, the first of which was a train crash and the second was a young lady who died of mysterious circumstances. In many instances the signalman tried to see the ghost, but to no avail. He got the distinct impression that he was being haunted. The narrator promised help to the signalman, in the way of medical advice.
The next morning he went to see the signalman, he saw a similar figure to what the signalman did. The narrator had learnt from some men that he had died in a terrible train accident. Would this mean that the narrator is now going to be haunted? ‘The Signalman’ takes place in a deep decollate railway cutting, during the nineteenth-century. The cutting is dark and monotonous, “barbarous, depressing and forbidding air”, which is difficult vocabulary to read and write. The signalman does no have much happening around him and is very secluded. Maybe he was imagining a figure, which wasn’t actually there.
The narrator describes the signalman as being “a dark sallow man with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows”. The signalman is so precise about his work and rarely makes a mistake, but he does realise it is forlorn and cut off from the outside world, “His attitude was one of such expectation and watchfulness”. In the story the signalman had obviously been distressed by events and how they have occurred. Towards the end of the story, the narrator tries to offer help but then leans that the signalman had been killed, “… cut down by an engine”