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Does anyone know this story? [Jun. 12th, 2010|07:49 pm]
Gothic Literature

gothic_lit

[merrypaws]
Hello everyone. I was wondering if y'all could help me out.

I once read a short story that I liked, but now I've forgotten both its name and author, and most likely quite a few plot points too. Can anyone tell me if this sounds familiar in any way:

The story mostly follows a man who is seeing a strange hallucination: a living fur boa, which appears to follow him everywhere, but can't be seen by anyone else. Over the course of the story it's revealed that the man had some sort of an occult experience somewhere on mainland Europe, which seems to be the reason he's gained this 'familiar'. At first he tries to destroy the creature by burning it in the fireplace and other means, then give it away, but nothing works.
Desperate, he finally lures a naive friend to go and see the same occultist, hoping he can pass the curse on. It seems to do the trick, but then he starts to receive letters from his friend. The letters tell that the other is plagued by visions of the room where he met the occultist, to the point where he gets into accidents because he can't perceive the real world anymore.
Later, the main character learns the the friend has simply walked into a lake and drowned. Relieved, he thinks he's finally free of the creature, but right then it appears at the door, bigger than ever, sopping wet, and now sporting a pair of menacing red eyes where it never had any distinguishable features before.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

EDIT 6/13/2010:
And, as these things often go, I found the story I had been looking for only two hours after posting this.
The title is 'Couching at the Door' by D. K. Broster, published around 1943, I believe. Those who would like to read it can find it at books.google.com/
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: trypanophobic34
2010-06-12 05:03 pm (UTC)
Can't say it rings a bell, but it sure sounds interesting. I would like to read it too.
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[User Picture]From: garillama
2010-06-12 06:08 pm (UTC)
Hmm... I don't know the story, but I'm pretty sure they spoofed it in an Episode of "Venture Bros."

/unhelpful comment is unhelpful :(
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[User Picture]From: mourningdove
2010-06-12 06:23 pm (UTC)
That sounds fantastic. Do you know the approx. year or century is was published? In other words, is it modern or classic? :)
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[User Picture]From: wordsofastory
2010-06-12 07:44 pm (UTC)
If you can't find it here, you should try posting on whatwasthatbook.
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[User Picture]From: akashiver
2010-06-12 09:48 pm (UTC)
I read it years ago, and can't remeber the title (sorry). I think the story was riffing on Le Fanu's "Green Tea," and the boa may have been a fur stole.
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[User Picture]From: yuxonomei
2010-06-12 09:59 pm (UTC)
I am intrigued by this summary; I hope you find out what it is :)
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[User Picture]From: elettaria
2010-06-13 08:48 am (UTC)
I thought you'd made a typo at first, but on looking it up in Google Books (not read it yet) it really is Couching, not Crouching. This amuses me as I spent the last few days getting driven dotty by an embroidery technique called couching which was going badly (damned metallic thread).
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[User Picture]From: elettaria
2010-06-15 08:41 am (UTC)
OK, that really is the oddest apparition I've ever encountered. The rest of the story was classic for its type, but a fur boa.
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[User Picture]From: melmoththelost
2010-07-05 08:53 pm (UTC)
This and 8 other tales by Broster have been collected by Wordsworth in their "Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural" series under the title "Couching at the Door". Like all the books in the series, this one is £2.99.
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