Ranulph Williams

One of the more notable past occupants of the Mazehouse has been the novelist and ghost story writer Ranulph Williams. Williams was stationed in the house during the war, when it was requisitioned by military intelligence, and stayed there for almost two years. Although we know comparatively little about what he was doing there, we do know that his time in the house, and one particular, apparently violent, event, had a lasting and formative influence on Williams as a writer. Williams went on to be, at least to his contemporaries, a well known writer of ghost stories and other tales of the supernatural, often tracing his inspiration back to the event he, himself, had witnessed. He also wrote several novels, including a retelling of Arthurian myth, in ‘The Labyrinthine King’, which partially updates the myth to modern times and was well recieved on publication. Another of his novels, ‘Deus Ex Machina’, was adapted in the 1960s into an ultimately rather disappointing horror film, ‘The Demon Machine’, of which Williams himself once said that the only horrifying thing was the unconvincing nature of the rubber demon and the wooden star. Some of Williams’ short stories were later adapted for television in a short seasonal series of one off films for Christmas, 1974. Most of Williams’ work is now out of print, beyond a few ghost story anthologies, and he has largely been forgotten by the reading, and the critical, public.

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