The best pieces in this collection of eerie tales, and there are many, recall the peak ghost story output of M. R. James: elegantly composed, attuned to the darkness lurking within provincial towns and antique objects, and haunted by sudden supernatural visions. Yet without explicitly conforming to the style of horror, his work is somehow darker than so much else, obviously shaped by the attitudes of the times when its author lived. (Ghelderode originally published this in Belgium in the very midst of World War II.) Even so, there’s so much humor to spare -- see “Rhotomago”, where a demon gets loosed from a bottle and is unceremoniously forced back in.
Spells - Michel de Ghelderode