A while back, I wrote about the legend of Raw Head and Bloody Bones, including the fact that it can be found in the 1550 edition of the Oxford Dictionary. More recently, during the course of my research for a book about author Steve Aylett, I’ve discovered another reference to the grisly tale. Upon learning that Aylett was amused by the work of Thomas Love Peacock as a teenager, I sought and found a few of Peacock’s books online, available for free. While not considered highbrow literature, I nevertheless found these books to be very fun to read. Here is a passage from Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey that discusses a character who likes to tell scary tales:
Another occasional visitor, much more to Mr Glowry’s taste, was Mr Flosky, a very lachrymose and morbid gentleman, of some note in the literary world, but in his own estimation of much more merit than name. The part of his character which recommended him to Mr Glowry, was his very fine sense of the grim and the tearful. No one could relate a dismal story with so many minutiæ of supererogatory wretchedness. No one could call up a “raw-head and bloody-bones” with so many adjuncts and circumstances of ghastliness. Mystery was his mental element. He lived in the midst of that visionary world in which nothing is but what is not. He dreamed with his eyes open, and saw ghosts dancing round him at noontide.