There's always a blog or two out there that dives into reminiscences of childhood and one’s reading habits from years ago. Here’s some memories from someone named Wolframharted:
John Bellairs wrote three different book series in the late 70s about kids in the 50s/60s (specifically Louis Barnavelt, Anthony Monday, and Johnny Dixon) which were the antithesis of Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys. They were these Gothic Mysteries where the main characters were menaced by supernatural evil and occasionally did really creepy things. I recall a priest held captive by a ghost in a church and a VERY creepy stare off with a ghost in the organ pit, an old man ghost scratching at glass – and this – a quote...:
Inside the house were such things as trouble antique dealers’ dreams: a brass St. Bernard with a clock in its side and a red tongue that went in and out with the ticks as the tail wagged; a five-foot iron statue of a tastefully draped lady playing a violin (the statue was labeled “Inspiration”);…a cherrywood bedstead with a bassoon carved into one of the fat headposts, so that it could be played as you lay in bed and meditated; and much more junk; and deep closets crammed with things that frightened the wits out of the wizard [Prospero] as he poked around looking for jars of mandrake root or dwarf hair in aspic. … On a shelf over the experiment table was the inevitable skull, which the wizard put there to remind him of death, though it usually reminded him that he needed to go to the dentist.”
That’s from The Face in the Frost. If you guys have a chance to look up Bellairs, keep in mind that all of his books are illustrated by Edward Gorey with these gorgeous covers. These books scared the hell out of me. They’d still scare me, and at some point I will re-buy them and share them with my children as my mother shared them with me....
(and if you guys don’t know who Edward Gorey is, I might pitch a fit. I’m sorry. Or John Bellairs but IDK. Name might sound familiar right?)