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Creator / Stefan Grabiński

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Stefan Grabiński (26 February 1887 - 12 November 1936) was a Polish short story writer, famous for the weird, surreal, terrifying tone and themes, as well as for creepy trains. His prose is full of ghosts, witches, incubi and a variety of otherworldly things. He was interested and well-versed in the occult, and apparently drew some inspiration from German Expressionism. Also, from Henri Bergson, William James and Edgar Allan Poe (of whom he was a fan). In short, a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant extraordinaire.


Due to worsening tuberculosis, he had to retire from his day job as a teacher and fell into obscurity, finally dying in poverty. His works were forgotten, then (after World War II) rediscovered.

Some of Grabiński's works were translated into English by Mirosław Lipiński and published under the title The Dark Domain.

His works:

  • Novels
    • Salamandra (Salamander) (1924)
    • Cień Bafometa (Baphomet's Shadow) (1926)
    • Klasztor i morze (The Cloister and the Sea) (1928)
    • Wyspa Itongo (Itongo Island) (1936)
  • Short-story collections
    • Z wyjątków. W pomrokach wiary (From the Unusual. In the Shadows of Belief) (1909)
    • Na wzgórzu róż (On the Hill of Roses) (1918)
    • Demon ruchu (The Motion Demon) (1919)
    • Szalony pątnik (Mad Pilgrim) (1920)
    • Niesamowita opowieść (An Eerie Tale) (1922)
    • Księga ognia (The Book of Fire) (1922)
    • Namiętność (Passion) (1930)
  • Plays
    • Willa nad morzem (Ciemne siły) (Dark Forces)
    • Zaduszki (All-Souls' Day)

Tropes he will scare you with:

  • Cosmic Horror Story: Explanations are for the weak. Just why would twins share a consciousness, a poet's creation would come to life, or a man would decide the world's telling him to commit suicide is never even hinted at. These things just happen.
  • Doppelgänger: Often...
  • Eccentric Artist: Usually writers, often poets.
  • Evil Tainted the Place: In one of the stories, the protagonist is haunted by dreams of the previous tenant pacing and pacing and pacing the room, only avoiding the wardrobe. Turns out the tenant committed suicide in that wardrobe. The trope is also discussed in the story.
  • Evil Twin: In Problemat Czelawy, either the titular scientist of his more obviously evil twin brother. They both plot to murder the other...
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  • The Paranoiac: Some protagonists.
  • Psychological Horror
  • Psycho Psychologist: Czelawa is a researcher, not a therapist, but there's something weird about the man. Not even mentioning the doppelganger thing...
  • Sinister Subway: His famous Demon ruchu short-story collection is full of creepy, spooky train-related things.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Several stories. If it's written in the first person, beware.