One of the greatest thrills of being a famous dead person must be the knowledge that people are going to be digging through your stuff for decades in hopes of uncovering some lost masterpiece, discarded private letters, or a shockingly expansive pornography collection. As reported by NPR, H.G. Wells is the latest famous person whose secrets have been unearthed by curious admirers, but it’s not an expansive pornography collection that’s been uncovered (yet), it’s a lost short story that nobody even knew existed.
Andrew Gulli, the managing editor for The Strand Magazine, was sifting through “tens of thousands of pages of works” belonging to Wells that are in storage at the University Of Illinois, and he found a story that he didn’t recognize called “The Haunted Ceiling.” He talked to a bunch of H.G. Wells scholars who not only agreed that Wells himself wrote it, but that none of them had ever even heard of the story. Gulli has now published “The Haunted Ceiling” in The Strand, telling NPR that “it’s one thing to publish to something where 15 people on Earth know about it, but it’s another thing to publish something where it’s just me and the librarian and H.G. Wells.”
The story is about a man who is “driven mad” by the ghostly image of a dead woman that appears on his ceiling, and if the cover art drawn up by The Strand is anything to go by, the man may or may not be Woody Allen:
You can listen to some excerpts from the story below, and you can order a copy of The Strand at this link.