Chosen Haunts

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Title: Chosen Haunts
Publisher: Pandora Publications
Editor(s): William J. Hunt
Date(s): early to mid-1980s
Medium: print
Size: digest-sized
Genre: gen
Fandom: Dark Shadows, with some "gothic horror, mystery, and fantasy" [1]
Language: English
External Links:
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Chosen Haunts is a gen Dark Shadows, and other ghostly original fiction, digest-sized anthology edited by William J. Hunt.

Issue 1

Chosen Haunts 1 was published in 1981 and contains 22 pages. It has the prize-winning stories from the ShadowCon #5 literary contest by Virginia Waldron, Powell-Nivling and Robin. Other stories by McKenzie, Bishop, Fortune, and Reeves.

front and back covers of issue #1
From the editorial:
To be perfectly frank with you, the idea for this anthology came at a time when I was sharing a hotel room with three women.

And now that I have your attention with that interesting opening statement, I can tell the truth, of which the above is just the smallest part. At the end of ShadowCon IV in 1980, I was talking to my very good friend and co-publisher, Barbara Fister-Liltz, about the possibility of Pandora Press doing a horror anthology series. Not necessarily DARK SHADOWS stories, as the fanzine seemed to have that little corner of the universe sewed up, but we wouldn't reject a good one if it came over the desk. What I was thinking about was an anthology of horror stories that would encourage some of the unheard-from writers in DS fandom to write and submit stories. Maybe they didn't have any ideas for DS stories, but they might have some ideas for straight horror stories and no place to send them. Not that DS stories aren't straight. Well, maybe just a little bit crooked and kinky. Depending on who is doing them. Anyway, back to the main point of the narrative. Barbara and I discussed this and agreed it could possibly be a very interesting project. But we needed a title. "Shadows", of course, would be natural, but as I told her, it was already taken by that excellent series of anthologies edited by Charles L. Grant... A digression. I'm a mystery fan. I think it's probably my second favorite love (well, maybe third or fourth), next to science fiction and it's [sic] assorted fandoms. One of the best places to find mysteries on the west coast is at a little bookstore located in Sherman Oaks called "The Scene of the Crime". You can find almost anything related to the mystery genre there. Anyway, I was looking for some books written by Clayton Rawson that featured his magician detective, The Great Merlini. Five have been reissued and I was able to find two that day. (Yes, I later found the other three.) Well, about a week after ShadowCon IV, there was Westercon 33, one of the larger west coast science fiction cons. Barbara was in the art show (Well, I should say that her paintings were in the art show, though she herself is quite a show. A plain and clearly chauvinistic statement, but you know what they say. There's No Vanism like Chauvinism I Know.) and I went along just to go along,since cons a real great turn-on for me. (No,not that way. Just in being able to meet people and do different things.) I was sharing a room with Barbara, Marcy Robin, and Jo Ann Christy. Now that's where we get the three women in a hotel room in the opening statement. I had brought a few things along to get autographed by some of the authors who would be at the con, plus a couple of books to read if the con got boring. One of them, of course, was a Clayton Rawson book, Death From a Top Hat. Well, a part of the con got boring to me and to Barbara and we were sitting in the room, listening to the Dr. Who fans next door almost going to terminal orgasms over Tom Baker's antics. I picked up the Merlini book and started to read it. I opened it and read one of the quotes that was placed just before the beginning of the story. As soon as I read it, I knew we had the title for the anthology and said out loud, "That's it. This is it."... The last three stories in this volume are rather special, above and beyond the fact that they are in this book.

They are the Winner and the two Runners-Up in the ShadowCon V Literary Contest. I won't say too much about the winners here. That will be taken care of in the individual introductions to those stories. Needless to say, it was an honor and a pleasure to be a judge for the contest and I hope that if it's done again, a bigger response will be garnered than the one we had this time....


  • Thy True Home, fiction by Virgina Waldron
  • poems by Jon R. McKenzie
  • A Cup of Death, fiction by Victor Bishop
  • Shadowed Soul by Marcy Robin
  • The Vow, fiction by Xavier Fortune
  • The Web, fiction by Peter Reeves
  • Dark Intentions by Meghan Powell-Nivling

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

CHOSEN HAUNTS Volume 1. First in an intended series of anthologies featuring good DS and general horror fiction . This volume features the winners of the first annual Literary Contest. Virginia Waldron's "Thy True Home" was First Prize Winner, and is a beautifully poignant evocation of a special place outside time, of alternatives, parallels and underlying truths, set in a timeless Collinsport. "Shadowed Soul" by Marcy Robin took second prize, and deals with the ending of one life and the beginning of another...and of the very special woman, called Miranda, and Angelique. "Dark Intentions" by Meghan Powell-Nivling introduces some new characters to Collinsport and chooses a formidable foe for Barnabas, Angelique and Julia . .. the historical witch, Marie Laveau. The other DS entry is "The Vow", a controversial vignette set in the 1790's. The non DS offerings include poetry by Jon McKenzie, a tale called "A Cup of Death" which has an ending which will leave you groaning, and a nasty little tale of witchcraft in sunny California called "Web" by 'Peter Reeves'. [2]

Issue 2

Chosen Haunts 2 was published in 1982 and contains 24 pages.

From the editorial:
It has been said that the old icons of horror, such as haunted houses, the Frankenstein Monster, zombies, ghouls, vampires and mad scientists, are no longer viable. Everyone knows that they can't possibly exist and so are no longer valid inducers of terror. But the real things that induce horror and fear aren't contained in books of fiction. They are as close to us as the pages of a news paper or a television newscast. Reaganomics. Terrorism. Environmental pollution. Street violence. Sex crimes. Vandalism. Prejudice. Murder. Nuclear Holocaust. Perhaps these icons are more valid. But we live with them every day. And the repeated contact with these horrifies makes us immune to them, perhaps more callous to their effects. But when we read something for escape, do we want these symbols of real horror shoved in our faces? Decidedly not. We will drag the old icons out of the closet, dust them off, perhaps fix the torn apparel and set them forth on their rounds of destruction and terror. And when we put the book down, we can know that the monster has been defeated, all the ghosts laid to rest, the haunted houses burned down and the zombies and ghouls laid to rest in their graves. In other words, we know there is an ending to this type of terror and that it is more or less a happy one. As Stephen King has said, it is a chance to look at ourselves lying dead in our coffins, then getting up out of the coffin and running away, laughing. It's a chance to get used to death. To get away from real world terrors, people read fictional terrors. Hopefully the stories in this volume will take your mind off your worries and let you laugh at Death as he tries to stare you down, and take you into his realm. In fiction, we glimpse the face of horror that kills us. In true life, we can never know the true face of horror, for it is always hid den until that penultimate second, that split-second on exquisite eldritch terror. I am very pleased that the writers who contributed to this volume did so. I hope you will share their hopes, fears and terrors as you read their stories.
front and back covers of issue #2
  • The Outcasts by Virginia Waldron (Dark Shadows)
  • Merry Christmas to You, Willie Loomis by Virginia Waldron (Dark Shadows)
  • Night of Darkness by Virginia Waldron (Dark Shadows)
  • Interlude by Jean Graham (Dark Shadows)
  • The House on Old Post Road (SF/fantasy) by Cathi Brown
  • Murder by Imagination by Bruce Melton (original fiction)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

This volume contains the winners of the ShadowCon VI Literary Contest. Virginia Waldron's "The Outcasts" is a haunting and moody piece detailing the chance meeting between two melancholy loners—Edgar Allen Poe and Barnabas Collins--told in the fevered, hag-ridden style of Poe himself, capturing all the nightmarish melancholy of the Master of macabe fiction. Virginia's 'Merry Christmas To You, Willie Loomis" features a melancholy of a different sort--a prison of poverty and ignorance, exchanaed for the prison of a vampire's thrall--and the very real anguish of the man caught between who, still, somehow, manages to survive and struggle. One of the best character stories done in DS fiction. Virginia's third piece, "Night of Darkness" is a modern day vampire tale, calling on both traditional elements and the author's imagination to create a new and compelling work. Other works in the book include Jean Graham's "Interlude", which illuminates another aspect of the complex relationship between Barnabas and Angelique, with the perfect characterization she is known for. The remaining pieces in the volume are non-DS, and include Cathi Brown's "The House on Old Post Road", a short piece melding fantasy and SF; Bruce Melton's "Murder By Imagination" (what happens when written characters fight back?) and John Markham's pseudonymous exercise in necrophilia, "Threnody", where a man's sexual obsession for his dead love reaches its, urn, logical conclusion. [3]

Issue 3

Chosen Haunts 3 was published in 1983 and contains 58 pages. Almost all of its content is Dark Shadows.

covers of issue #3
From the editorial:
Can we ever get used to death? Death lurks all around us, waiting to strike. When driving, how do we know some guy travelling in the opposite direction won't have a heart attack, let his car jump the center divider and make us the raw meat in a metal hamburger? How do we know that the food we eat isn't somehow lethal, making us instant coffin-fodder? Will the valves of the heart keep the blood pumping, or will they just decide to stop one day? And so it goes... There are many ways to fight the fear of death. One is not to die.So far, no one has successfully done that. One of the most popular ways is to ignore it. To live life to the fullest and to strive for all that one can reach. If death comes, it comes. And then there is an end to life. Another way to fight death is to raise a family. By having children, who are raised in one's own image, one can, in a way, cheat death. The family name and spirit and essence carry on through the children. Writing and reading horror stories is another way of fighting But even with all this combat of death, there is still a fascination for the act of dying. What is it, and what happens after you.die? No one can say, because it is a one-way cruise down the Styx. What lies beyond is a mystery, revealed only to those who make the voyage. The obsession with death can partially explain why horror stories have such a continuing popularity. They allow a person to become familiar with Death, to become acquainted with the Grim Reaper, to almost befriend the Dark Angel. And in the confrontation with fictional death, one can be more attuned with Life. To appreciate it more, to give one self that extra little push and be a little better than one was before. Horror writers, contrary to many opinions, are actually doing a public service. They are helping us all to meet Death and not be afraid. Perhaps someday, we may even laugh at Death as he takes us away. Because we will know that Death is just a part of Life and to live fully and give purpose to Life, we must die. But without horror fiction, we would have to face Death without any expectations, without any hints of what may happen, with total fear. By having a for a glimpse of our own ultimate fate, we can stare Death in the face and not flinch from the gaze of Eternity.


  • Threnody: Reply, poem by Gillian Truscott
  • A Hell of One's Own, fiction by Meghan Powell-Nivling (Dark Shadows)
  • The Dispossessed, fiction by Virginia Waldron (Dark Shadows)
  • Web of Cthulhu, fiction by Ernest Terwilliger (Dark Shadows)
  • Remembered the Roses, fiction by Patricia Beese (Dark Shadows)
  • Symbiosis, fiction by Kathy Prokop (Dark Shadows)


  1. from Pop Stand Express #4
  2. from The World of Dark Shadows #29
  3. from The World of Dark Shadows #34