WANTED short, scary ghost stories - fiction or factual - for publication on this site.If published, we will be happy to list author's biographical details and a link back to your Web site.Copyright will remain with authors. Send submissions/outlines to abracad.
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 1
THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE
I took the pistols, scarcely knowing what I did, or believing what I heard, while Dupin went on, very much as if in a soliloquy. I have already spoken of his abstract manner at such times. His discourse was addressed to myself; but his voice, although by no means loud, had that intonation which is commonly employed in speaking to some one at a great distance. His eyes, vacant in expression, regarded only the wall.
"That the voices heard in contention," he said, "by the party upon the stairs, were not the voices of the women themselves, was fully proved by the evidence. This relieves us of all doubt upon the question whether the old lady could have first destroyed the daughter and afterward have committed suicide. I speak of this point chiefly for the sake of method; for the strength of Madame L'Espanaye would have been utterly unequal to the task of thrusting her daughter's corpse up the chimney as it was found; and the nature of the wounds upon her own person entirely preclude the idea of self-destruction. Murder, then, has been committed by some third party; and the voices of this third party were those heard in contention. Let me now advert - not to the whole testimony respecting these voices - but to what was _peculiar_ in that testimony. Did you observe any thing peculiar about it?"
I remarked that, while all the witnesses agreed in supposing the gruff voice to be that of a Frenchman, there was much disagreement in regard to the shrill, or, as one individual termed it, the harsh voice.
"That was the evidence itself," said Dupin, "but it was not the peculiarity of the evidence. You have observed nothing distinctive. Yet there _was_ something to be observed. The witnesses, as you remark, agreed about the gruff voice; they were here unanimous. But in regard to the shrill voice, the peculiarity is - not that they disagreed - but that, while an Italian, an Englishman, a Spaniard, a Hollander, and a Frenchman attempted to describe it, each one spoke of it as that _of a foreigner_. Each is sure that it was not the voice of one of his own countrymen. Each likens it - not to the voice of an individual of any nation with whose language he is conversant - but the converse. The Frenchman supposes it the voice of a Spaniard, and 'might have distinguished some words _had he been acquainted with the Spanish._' The Dutchman maintains it to have been that of a Frenchman; but we find it stated that '_not understanding French this witness was examined through an interpreter._' The Englishman thinks it the voice of a German, and '_does not understand German._' The Spaniard 'is sure' that it was that of an Englishman, but 'judges by the intonation' altogether, '_as he has no knowledge of the English._' The Italian believes it the voice of a Russian, but '_has never conversed with a native of Russia._' A second Frenchman differs, moreover, with the first, and is positive that the voice was that of an Italian; but, _not being cognizant of that tongue_, is, like the Spaniard, 'convinced by the intonation.' Now, how strangely unusual must that voice have really been, about which such testimony as this _could_ have been elicited! - in whose _tones_, even, denizens of the five great divisions of Europe could recognise nothing familiar! You will say that it might have been the voice of an Asiatic - of an African. Neither Asiatics nor Africans abound in Paris; but, without denying the inference, I will now merely call your attention to three points. The voice is termed by one witness 'harsh rather than shrill.' It is represented by two others to have been 'quick and _unequal._' No words - no sounds resembling words - were by any witness mentioned as distinguishable.