Mists and Megaliths

Mists and Megaliths by Catherine McCarthy

Welcome to Wales, land of mists and megaliths, where mythical creatures and ancient spirits lurk in the strangest of places.

This collection of 10 supernatural stories offers a flurry of folklore, a gathering of ghosts, and even a cosmic cave creature.

Stories include…

  • Lure: A fisherman who nets the tail fin of a lure becomes obsessed with finding the rest, but what else lies hidden in the ancient lake?
  • Carreg Samson: A Neolithic burial chamber stares out to sea, remembering times long since past, but when it loses its heart of stone to a young girl the repercussions are hard to bear.
  • Coblynau: An old man watches the mountain which was once a slag heap of coal. He listens for the knock of the Coblynau, certain they will come for him…soon, just like they did to warn of the Aberfan disaster.

Author Catherine McCarthy’s second collection invites the reader on a regional journey, evoking a sense of quiet horror from the cosmic to the Gothic.

The IndieMuse Review

This quiet horror collection from Welsh wordsmith Catherine McCarthy collects ten eerie tales all set in her home country. Stories include:

  • A young girl growing up in an idyllic seaside town, and her imaginary friend who is willing to kill in order to keep her undivided attention
  • A retired railway guard revisiting the disused lines that once brought him so much joy, now haunted by neglect and half-forgotten memories
  • A couple unwittingly bring catastrophe upon themselves when they bring a spirit box into their new home, with disastrous consequences
  • A heart-warming fable of a village isolated during a pandemic, and the arrival of a mysterious savior who is there to help, if the village will let him in…
  • A young man’s weekend fishing trips dredge up painful memories of a troubled past
  • A retired coal-miner living out his final days in a nursing home remembers mythical creatures which used to haunt the mines he worked

Being based in the UK myself (and having fond memories of numerous childhood holidays to Wales) I thoroughly enjoyed the focus on Welsh culture and stories revolving around local landmarks or legends, and a big part of the appeal of Mists and Megaliths is how infectious the authors’ obvious passion is for the locales is. The collection’s best stories hold their settings in great reverence and this respect adds a heartfelt earnestness to the stories.

As for the stories themselves, there is quite a varied selection. While Mists and Megaliths is very much a quiet horror collection, full of atmosphere and subtlety, my favorite stories ran the gamut between scary (“Cragen”), charming (“Spirit of the Sea”) and overtly comedic (“Two’s Company, Three’s a Shroud”). In fact, perhaps the standout story for me was one that was simultaneously melancholy, but strangely tense. “Coblynau” is a powerful story of an elderly man suffering from dementia, doing what he can to remember his former life, both good and bad.

Each of the ten stories is preceded by a short story note, and I would absolutely urge you to read these, as they enhance the story itself in each and every case by focusing less on anecdotes as to how the story came to be, instead offering some background as to the real-life settings or legends that the story is based on. I personally found it incredibly interesting to get these additional historical references and felt they added an extra layer to the stories themselves. In the case of my aforementioned favorite short, the story notes add an element of tragedy to the tale when you know the real-world events that inspired it.

Mists and Megaliths is an elegant and eerie collection of heartfelt horror tales. McCarthy excels at setting a vivid scene, imbued with her clear affection for the places and people she writes about. There are stories that will chill you, crush you, or make you smile, but all of them are likely to linger in your memory long after the final page.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

Curation Results: Mists and Megaliths

gHoster
B-Baal
Emo-Lee
KnotBTK
Deathdealer
Curator Notes: "Enchanting collection on the darker side of Wales as presented by native McCarthy. This collection is a rich, deep dive into the heart of humanity and definitely a gem for readers who love the classic grim fairy tale." —B-Baal

This title has been officially certified by indiemuse reviewers and curators as a recommended read. Read about our certification process here.

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