REVIEW: “The Shadowy Third” by Ellen Glasgow

Review of Ellen Glasgow, “The Shadowy Third,” in Minor Hauntings: Chilling Tales of Spectral Youth, edited by Jen Baker (British Library, 2021): 219-249 — Order here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

Margaret Randolph, is a young nurse, newly arrived in New York, who has been selected by the eminent Doctor Roland Maradick to care for his invalid wife, who suffers from mental distress brought on by the hallucination that her husband has killed her daughter. That Mrs. Maradick suffers from hallucinations or delusions Margaret is quite convinced because she has seen the child herself, wandering through the house, playing with her toys, doing all the ordinary things a child does.

But of course, this is a story of ghosts and not of madness and so what Margaret sees is perhaps not all that it appears to be. What I find fascinating in this story, and indeed in many of the ones in this anthology, is how little self-reflection there is about why it is that some people see ghosts, and others do not. There is never any doubt in Margaret’s mind that what she sees — phantasms included — is real.

(Originally published in Scribner’s Magazine, 1916.)