An H.G. Wells Ghost Story Joins the Canon of Rediscovered Manuscripts by Famous Writers

The newest H.G. Wells story, appearing this week in The Strand magazine, lay undiscovered for decades amongst the late author’s files. Until recently, The A.V. Club reports:

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.

The clues that made it clear this was Wells’ work? His near- indecipherable handwriting. The story, about a man driven mad by a woman’s ghost in his ceiling, now appears in The Strand magazine.

This isn’t the first time that a writer’s ouevre has been expanded thanks to a chance discovery. The most obvious recent example is Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s draft/prequel/sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, rediscovered in a safe deposit box and controversially published. But Lee and Wells are part of a storied group: previously unknown stories by Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss and F. Scott Fitzgerald have been found in the authors’ files and their subsequent publication has set literary fans’ hearts aflutter.