book Horror

The Golgotha Dancers by Manly Wade Wellman

The Golgotha Dancers

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The Golgotha Dancers by Manly Wade Wellman

“The Golgotha Dancers” is a horror short story by American author Manly Wade Wellman. First published in 1937, it is considered a classic of the horror genre and has been widely anthologized.

The story is set in the rural mountains of North Carolina and follows the character of John, a young man who has come to the area to study the folklore and traditions of the local people. While staying with a family in the mountains, John becomes aware of a strange and terrifying ritual that takes place on a nearby hill called Golgotha. Every year, on the night of Easter Sunday, a group of dancers gather on the hill and perform a bizarre and terrifying dance that seems to be connected to ancient pagan rituals.

As John investigates the origins of the dance and the people who perform it, he begins to uncover a dark and ancient history that is intertwined with the land itself. He learns of the legend of the “dancers of the hills,” a group of beings who are said to have lived in the area for centuries and who are linked to the strange and otherworldly dance on Golgotha.

As the night of the dance approaches, John becomes increasingly obsessed with uncovering the truth behind the ritual and the people who perform it. His investigations lead him down a dark and terrifying path, as he confronts the reality of the supernatural forces at work in the hills.

“The Golgotha Dancers” is a haunting and atmospheric horror story that is notable for its vivid descriptions of the natural world and the people who inhabit it. Wellman’s prose is evocative and poetic, and his portrayal of the rural mountains of North Carolina is both beautiful and unsettling.

The story is also notable for its exploration of the themes of tradition, folklore, and the power of ancient beliefs. Wellman’s characters are deeply connected to the land and the traditions of their ancestors, and their beliefs are rooted in a deep respect for the natural world. However, the story also suggests that these beliefs can be dangerous and can lead to dark and terrifying consequences.

Overall, “The Golgotha Dancers” is a powerful and chilling work of horror fiction that has become a classic of the genre. Wellman’s masterful use of language and his deep understanding of the power of folklore and tradition make this story a must-read for fans of horror and anyone interested in the darker side of human nature.


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