It is The Doctor’s favourite Dickens story and that was one of the reasons I picked this one up. I have never until now read a single word of Charles Dickens, but believe me I am not a huge fan. I had not read anything about this short story at all before reading it, I was not expecting for such a chilling tale. I knew that some of Dickens novels had the supernatural horror edge to it, a Christmas carol being a good example of this, but I really was not prepared for the unnerving effects that this story left upon me.
In the story, a practical-minded narrator meets a railway signalman who believes that he is seeing ghosts. Doubting the man and believing his visions to be that of his imagination, our narrator agrees to accompany him on watch for fresh perspective. Much of the story seems to dispel the railway workers visions and find a practical reason for the visions, but by the end, our narrator is shown that the visions did indeed hold some deeper truth.
There comes a moment in this tale that genuinely unsettles me, when everything comes together like a snap and the horror of all that came before closes in. It is so cleverly done that nothing is scary up until that point of realization and then suddenly everything was. It was like sleeping in a room and having the best night’s sleep only to be told in the morning there was a monster under your bed the whole time. It is like a bell being rung that echoes with creepy unsettling tingling that resonates all over your body.