Before releasing nine anthologies of horror and of science fiction stories (from 1966 to 1973), Alden H. Norton was best known as an editor for the lower-tiered Popular Publications in the 1940s. He served a three-year stint (from 1941 through 1943) as editor of Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories. He rose to become the editorial director of 27 of Popular's magazines and green-lit publication of A. Merritt's Fantasy and the resurrection of Fantastic Novels. Norton had the chops to select lesser-known, yet interesting, stories by important writers in the field. Someone who also had the same chops was SF historian and fan Sam Moskowitz, who ghost-edited five of Norton's anthologies and received a co-editor's credit on the last four. Moskowitz also provided the introduction and stories notes to Hauntings and Horrors, the fifrth anthology to be published under the Norton name. I don't know if Moskowitz did the actual editing of this book, though.
Hauntings and Horrors presents ten stories that were otherwise unavailable to the average reader forty-three years ago:
- The Maker of Moons by Robert W. Chambers was the lead novelet in a 1896 collection of the same title and had never been anthologized before its appearance in Hauntings and Horrors although the story had been reprinted in a chapbook by small-press Shroud Publcations in 1954. The story combines sorcery and the counterfeiting (of gold!) in upstate New York forests.
- The Delusion of Ralph Penwyn by Julian Hawthorne (son of Nathaniel) is a 1909 story of a haunted artist. Julian, although prolific, seldom wrote as well as his father. This story is included in the 1997 Ash-tress edition of The Rose of Death and Other Mysterious Delusions; I don't believe it is available online.
- It Burns Me Up! by Ray Bradbury was an early effort for Dime Mystery, a story told from the point of view of a corpse. It had never been previously reprinted and appeared in a single printing in Bradbury's 1984 collection A Memory of Murder.
- The Temple by H. P. Lovecraft is a minor story from Weird Tales. It combines Lovecraft's effectiveness with his unfortunate tendency to stereotype. It had been previously published in Lovecraft's virtually unattainable The Outsider and Others and later in his Dagon and Other Macabre Tales.
- Head Man by Robert Bloch, from 15 Mystery Stories, is an example of Bloch's ghoulish humor. It had been republished three years earlier in Bloch's paperback collection Chamber of Horrors.
- The Albatross by William Hope Hodgson, from 1911, was one of the writer's weird sea stories. It's next reprinting would be in 1975's Out of the Storm: Uncollected Fantasies ( a Hodgson collection assembled by Moskowitz).
- A Prophecy of Monsters by Clark Ashton Smith was a brief 1954 story from F&SF that had never been reprinted before. Under the title Monsters in the Night, it was reprinted in Smith's 1970 collection Other Dimensions.
- Over the Absinthe Bottle by W. C. Morrow first appeared under the title The Pale Dice-Thrower in a 1893 issue of The Argonaut and was included in Morrow's The Ape, the Idiot, and Other People four years later. In 1933 it was a Weird Tales classic reprint; four years after that, The Book Club of California published it as the inaugural volume of a series of pamphlets by California authors.
- No. 252 rue M. Le Prince is one of a handful of classic horror stories penned by architect Ralph Adams Cram and published in his 1895 book Black Spirits and White: A Book of Ghost Stories. It has previously been reprinted only once in America and once in Great Britain.
- The Soul of Mozart by the little-known W. E. P. French came from a 1902 The Cosmopolitan. Reincarnation and music combine in this story that has now become a classic of the genre.
The fact that these ten stories are, for the most part, well-known and available today speaks well for their selection in 1969. Hauntings and Horrors has never been reprinted after its initial appearance as a Berkley Medallion paperback. It and all the others that appeared under the Norton name cry to be reissued.