Books: Sermons from the Pit

THE GHOSTLY TALES OF HENRY JAMES (765 pp.)—Edited by Leon Edel—Rutgers ($5).

The James family had a rare talent for striking up acquaintances with ghosts. In 1844, when Novelist-to-be Henry James was a year old, his genial papa, Henry Sr., was scared into "a perfectly insane and abject terror" by a shape squatting invisibly before him. For two years the elder James searched for relief from his fearful visitation, tried everything from water cures to cheerful company, eventually found peace only in the esoteric mysticism of Swedish Philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg.

About 25 years later, Henry's philosopher brother, William, saw an image of "a...

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