The Crowd

light night highway driving freeway evening curve darkness street light speed lighting lights publicdomain nighttime streetlights infrastructure longexposure

Bradbury, Ray. “The Crowd.” Dark Descent, by David G. Hartwell, Grafton Books, 1992, pp. 167-174.


The Crowd refers to a strange phenomenon in which Mr. Spallner tries to learn of strange individuals who always appear at traffic accidents. Mr. Spallner crashes his car after driving at high speeds; his body lays in the street in desperate need of an ambulance. Spallner recalls his experience and how strange a crowd of people had amassed before his wheels had stopped spinning. Hailing a cab home from the hospital, Spallner sees another accident. Spallner is disgusted by the crowd gathering.

Examining it Spallner recognizes faces in the crowd and is disturbed that these early responders had moved the body killing the victim. Spallner becomes obsessed with car accidents and these first responders: red-haired woman, freckled kid, an old man with wrinkled lips and an old woman with a mole on her chin. And their astronomically improbable history of arriving at all accidents and always first. Spallner hatches a scheme of getting into an accident to attract these strange people. Without fail, the crowd of people arrive and intentionally move his fragile body ensuring his death will arrive soon. Spallner questions whether he’ll be joining their group soon enough as he patiently awaits the arrival of the coroner.


I feel that someone should make a really crappy modernized version of this where it’s about the people who comment first on YouTube videos, who are they? I really enjoy the intrinsically ominous aspect of this story, not knowing how these supernatural beings exist or why they act the way they do. It is also rather clever to use car wreck victims because it creates an organic sense of vulnerability. While most I would hope would not personally understand the pain of a brutal car wreck, but at the very least from news coverage, and images of wreckage we understand they are debilitating. The crowd is the perfect balance between descriptive detail and tickling the imagination. Each member of the crowd is given a visual identity, there’s details of the crashes with wheels spinning that paint a vivid picture. Yet, the story knows that the mystery of the crowd and their deal is the general appeal and builds until its satisfying conclusion.

The Summer People

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Jackson, Shirley. “The Summer People.” Dark Descent, by David G. Hartwell,Grafton Books, 1992, pp. 108-117.


The summer people features the Allison couple as they attempt to extend their lakeside cabin vacation but discover forces out of their control prohibiting them from continuing to enjoy their stay. Mr. Robert and Mrs. Janet Allison are staying in their lakeside summer cottage in northern New York seven miles from the nearest town. Planning to enjoy retirement Robert and Janet head into the village and do some extra shopping for their extended trip. The village people reiterate how nobody has ever stayed past labor day before and they are even informed that they won’t have kerosene available for them. In attempt to get some, Mr. Allison plans to go into town but his car doesn’t start and the mechanic doesn’t pick up the phone. Trying again he realizes the phone is dead, he comes to the conclusion that the lines been cut and the car engine also had been tampered with. A dark storm looms over and the couple is left stranded within their summer cottage. The Allison’s find there peaceful vacation turned into an ominous horror because of their under-appreciation towards what they have and their desires to extend beyond traditionally acceptable causes this distraught position.


The greatest horror story about wearing green after labor day. It’s an interesting metaphor on social constriction, how society can dictate and remove personal autonomy through social scrutiny. You want to extent your vacation an extra day… GO DIE!

I find it interesting that the car’s enginee is tampered with as it places the turn that the protagonists aren’t being driven out of town (corrected for their transgressions) but are made to punish for wronging those of the quaint summer town. It’s interesting to think about the ways society functions… and not just in a horror sense. The fact is that in order for the Allison couple to stay an extra day, it burdens all the local business who have to compensate for it.

Young Goodman Brown

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown” Dark Descent, by David G. Hartwell, Grafton Books, 1992, pp. 132-141.


The tale of Young Goodman Brown tells about a man ventured out into the woods straying away from his faith and discovering the wicked activities of a cult. Goodman Brown’s wife Faith pleads for him not to depart on his journey as she is afraid to be left alone. Brown ignores her and abandons his home in the Salem Village and treks into the forest at night. Brown runs into a man who offers him a serpent carving staff. Brown refuses the staff, stating his business here conflicts with his faith and is only here to stay true to his word. Brown trying to return home notices others from the village appearing to come to this event in the forest. Brown hears Faith among the voices of the crowd and he discovers her pink ribbon on the ground. Brown attends the ceremony and his suspicions are confirmed; he spots Faith among other convert. Brown pleads with Faith to resist the devil before finding himself alone in the forest. Brown returns to the village and is now paranoid of the people he once thought he knew, including Faith who wears her pink ribbon despite Brown also finding it in his bag. 


WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR HEAD NOW!! I really enjoy the Brandon Flowers music video, it brings together the narrative in a visually compelling way and is astute in hitting the right dramatic beats. Young Goodman Brown is a fascinating tale of how society is build on the common trust that your neighbors, colleges, and friends are inherently good. I think ‘young’ is an important adjective for Brown because it implants the idea that he is naive.

While it is obviously a hyperbolic narrative of a man of good faith learning that everyone around him is satanic and evil one thing that we can cling onto in our daily lives: not everyone is going to have the moral, attitude, belief, and opinions that you personally hold.

I kind of had this epiphany a while ago that I consider myself pretty level-headed, moderate, and thoughtful but gosh darn am I glad that not everyone thinks like me. Then the world would be indecisive, and conversation would be stagnate and uninteresting. So to you I say, remember that opposing opinions are a necessary evil of sorts to progress conversation, and art and ourselves. Extreme points of view use their passion to spark and engage us in the silent majority or moderate position to start thinking of where they lie. So as long as those positions aren’t an arbitrary too extreme (terrorists provoke conversation but we can maybe do without them) I believe intermingling with different ideologies is what makes a society healthy and thriving. So don’t be like a young Goodman Brown left to fear that the people around him, because of the ignorance of believing them be something that they’re not.

One thought on “Suspicious People Are Spooky

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