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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Tales of Ghost Castle 3 - Tales of Ghost Castle ends, as Lucien hosts stories of a possession, a subway murder, and aliens

Tales of Ghost Castle comes to an end with issue 3 (Sept/Oct 75), the shortest run of any of DC's horror books from the 70s. As with the other two issues, it contains three stories hosted by Lucien.

Jack Oleck, Ernie Chan and Bill Draut handle what must be the cover story, although the visual does not actually occur. The story is set in Europe in what looks to be the 1800s, and centres on a poor family with a mentally handicapped son. The boy is devoted to his dog, but is considered a witch by his parents, for all the strange things that happen around him, including flying furniture, as on the cover.

The parents seek help from all manners of authorities. They even try to have the boy exorcised, but it seems to have no effect. Finally they have their own son burned at the stake.

The couple return home, only to have the place crumble around them. Turns out it was the dog who is possessed, not their son.

The middle story is by Robert Kanigher and Frank Redondo, and begins as a man kills a woman who rejects him by throwing her in front of an oncoming subway train. The woman's contemptuous laugh keeps ringing in his ears for days afterwards. And it turns out the guy is married anyway!

He and his wife move far from the city, but he continues to be haunted by the laugh. He heads out one night with a knife to find and kill the woman's ghost (?), but stumbles into her open grave and breaks his neck. Some good pieces here, but they don't quite fit together.

The best story in the issue is the final one, by Mal Warwick, with art by Draut. It deals with some visiting aliens. These being are made of living metal.

They misunderstand the Earth when they observe it, thinking humans are parasites infesting cars and planes and such, assuming those metal objects to be alive. So out of a twisted benevolence the aliens poison all the humans on Earth.

And that's it for Lucien. He is not seen again until Neil Gaiman revives the character in the pages of Sandman.

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