THE GHOST-BREAKER

John Bass came home from the Great War to Jackapo County, South Carolina with a French wife and a plan to be a farmer, like his father and grandfather before him. Unfortunately, his land turned sour and his wife died, leaving Bass a hard and bitter man whose only skills were in the laying and breaking of spirits, curses and hexes. In the final years of his life, he fought haints, witches and worse, with only a few conjure tricks, a handful of iron nails and a streak of cussedness longer than a country mile.

The character of Bass was inspired by the works of Manly Wade Wellman, of which I am an avowed fan. Wellman was a master of what we’re calling folk horror these days – much of his work dealt with the legends and lore of the Carolinas, and I’ve gone back to his stories time and again, when I’m in need of inspiration or comfort. Bass was one of my first attempts at aping Wellman’s style and stories, while still making something unique to my own experiences.

Bass – as well as my writing style – has evolved over time. Those first few stories are rough things, but I like them. I like Bass as well. Of all the characters I’ve created, I keep coming back to him. I even gave him a cameo in a Royal Occultist story.

I hope to continue writing stories about Bass. I’d also like to go back and revise the original stories a bit, cleaning up the various continuity snarls. One day, I might even see about getting a collection together. But for now, a full list of all available and forthcoming John Bass tales is available below, in chronological order.


  1. [1918] “Dead Men’s Bones”, Kaiju Rising, Ragnarok Publications, 2014; Bass joins forces with an English occultist and his assistant to battle a giant made from the corpses of fallen soldiers.
  2. [1920] “River Baby Weeps”Dark Worlds Magazine, issue 2, 2008 *; Bass confronts a nasty spectre out for vengeance on a group of back-country vigilantes.
  3. [1920]“Wicked Wood”Pulp & Dagger, 2006; Bass faces down a daemon-haunted tree and the ghost of a witch-man’s familiar.
  4. [1921] “The Hog-Pen”Born Under a Bad Sign, Pulpwork Press, 2007 *; Bass tangles with a ghostly herd of swine. 
  5. [1921]“Glory Hand”Mountain Magic, Woodland Press, 2011; An old acquaintance of Bass’ forces him to lead the way to an ancient treasure in the Appalachians.
  6. [1922]“The Weeping House”Sinister Sleuths, RAGEMachine Books, 2006 *; Bass battles the spectre of a brutal sorcerer in order to free the souls of those he’s enslaved. 
  7. [1925]“Rattlesnake Eyes”Black Treacle, issue 1, 2013; Bass returns to the Appalachians to tangle with a stubborn corpse and unquiet spirits.
  8. [1927]“Seven Heart Beats”Black Treacle, issue 8, 2014; Bass faces a terrifying Cherokee spirit in order to save the soul of a dying man.
  9. [1928] “Down in the Dark”Walking Bones Magazine, issue 1, 2006 *; Bass attempts to lay to rest the murderous ghost of a woman’s abusive husband.
  10. [1929] “The Screaming Place”Born Under a Bad Sign, Pulpwork Press, 2007 *; Bass races to save a child from the clutches of a nightmarish forest spirit.
  11. [1930] “Prodigal Spirits”Stories from the Hearth, Woodland Press, 2011; Bass eases a mother’s grief by laying out a dumb supper for some long-awaited guests.
  12. [1932] “Bury Me Deep”Damned in Dixie, Tenoka Books, 2007 *; Bass comes face-to-face with a homicidal plat-eye in a county work-camp.
  13. [1934]“Laying the Hairy Book”Weirdbook Annual, Wildside Press, 2017; Bass battles a coven of witches over possession of a devilish grimoire.