The Ghost upon the Rail single work   short story   crime  
Issue Details: First known date: 1853 1853
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The tale of Fisher's Ghost's originally from John Lang's Botany Bay, or, True Stories of the Early Days of Australia . Penrith, NSW, was the scene of Edward Smith's murder of his neighbouring farmer John Fisher, both of them ex-convicts. Smith's plan is foiled by suspicions aroused by Fisher's apparition, the skills of a black tracker, and the sagacious magistrate, Mr Cox. Smith is hanged. (PB)

Notes

  • First published in Charles Dicken's Household Words, 1853, and in French in L'Ami de la Maison 20, 27 March 1856.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Alternative title: Fisher's Ghost
First known date: 1853
  • Appears in:
    y Botany Bay, or, True Stories of the Early Days of Australia John Lang , London : William Tegg , 1859 Z822154 1859 selected work short story London : William Tegg , 1859
  • Appears in:
    y The Australian Journal vol. 15 no. 177 February 1880 Z1010561 1880 periodical issue 1880 pg. 312-316
  • Appears in:
    y Botany Bay, or, True Stories of the Early Days of Australia John Lang , London : William Tegg , 1859 Z822154 1859 selected work short story Fisher's Ghost and Other Stories of Early Australia Melbourne : E. W. Cole , 1920 pg. 5-26
    Note: With title: Fisher's Ghost
  • Appears in:
    y A Century of Australian Short Stories Cecil Hadgraft (editor), R. B. J. Wilson (editor), Melbourne : Heinemann , 1963 Z577475 1963 anthology short story Melbourne : Heinemann , 1963 pg. 1-19
  • Appears in:
    y My Country : Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years Leonie Kramer (editor), Sydney : Lansdowne , 1985 Z219820 1985 anthology poetry short story Sydney : Lansdowne , 1985 pg. 34-50
  • Appears in:
    y The Penguin Best Australian Short Stories Mary Lord (editor), Ringwood : Penguin , 1991 Z307411 1991 anthology short story extract humour satire crime historical fiction (taught in 1 units) Ringwood : Penguin , 1991 pg. 23-43
  • Appears in:
    y The Oxford Book of Australian Ghost Stories Ken Gelder (editor), Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1994 Z356827 1994 anthology short story crime young adult 'Did Australian ghosts suffer from a cultural cringe? Dr Ken Gelder indicates in the introduction to another fascinating OUP anthology that early ghost stories were essentially a "transported genre" that looked back to England as their source. Thus John Lang's well-known story "The Ghost upon the Rail" is based upon a case of murder for post-convict wealth. Gelder argues that Australian ghost stories possess their own ironical flavour, but the gothic tradition has to be resolved in outback locations or deserted mining towns, as in David Rowbotham's "A Schoolie and the Ghost".'

    'Gelder relies heavily on Victorian and Edwardian writers, such as Marcus Clarke, Barbara Baynton and Hume Nisbet, as if unsure as to the nature of contemporary ghosts. It is interesting to see that Australia's science fiction writers, such as Lucy Sussex and Terry Dowling, provide the link between the past and the present. Dowling's "The Daeman Street Ghost-Trap" effectively uses traditional settings to link ghosts with a current horror, namely cancer. Several bunyip stories remind us of a particular Antipodean creature to stand against the assorted European manifestations.'

    (Colin Steele, SF Commentary No 77, p.55).


    Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1994
    pg. 1-18
  • Appears in:
    y The Anthology of Colonial Australian Gothic Fiction Ken Gelder (editor), Rachael Weaver (editor), Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2007 Z1415120 2007 anthology short story extract horror mystery science fiction historical fiction children's (taught in 7 units) Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2007 pg. 11-30

Works about this Work

The (Feminine) Eye of the Law : Mary Helena Fortune Lucy Sussex , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Women Writers and Detectives in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction : The Mothers of the Mystery Genre 2010; (p. 120-141)
The Five Ghosts of John Lang Victor Crittenden , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Margin , April no. 71 2007; (p. 4-8)
Crittenden compares five texts of the story of Fisher's ghost all attributed to John Lang.
More Substance to Fisher's Ghost? Cecil Hadgraft , Elizabeth Webby , 1968 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , May vol. 3 no. 3 1968; (p. 190-200)
The Five Ghosts of John Lang Victor Crittenden , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Margin , April no. 71 2007; (p. 4-8)
Crittenden compares five texts of the story of Fisher's ghost all attributed to John Lang.
The (Feminine) Eye of the Law : Mary Helena Fortune Lucy Sussex , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Women Writers and Detectives in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction : The Mothers of the Mystery Genre 2010; (p. 120-141)
More Substance to Fisher's Ghost? Cecil Hadgraft , Elizabeth Webby , 1968 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , May vol. 3 no. 3 1968; (p. 190-200)
Last amended 6 Nov 2007 09:00:40
Settings:
  • Penrith, Penrith area, Sydney Outer West, Sydney, New South Wales,
  • Bush,
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