31 Shots of Shock #4: ‘The Vision of Tom Chuff’ by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

*Title: ‘The Vision of Tom Chuff’ by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.
Date Read: 04 October 2011
Available Online?: YES.
Briefly: Tom Chuff is an evil, abusive drunkard who has his family shaking in fear at his very presence. One evening at home he collapses, apparently dead. However, he finds himself is in the midst of a terrifying vision. Will that which is revealed to him cause him to change the error of his ways?
Afterthoughts: From one of the leading horror writers of the nineteenth-century comes a 1870 tale that’s as identifiably Sheridan Le Fanu, as any story I’ve read from this author. It has all of the elements of Sheridan Le Fanu – churchyards, terror, the supernatural, and it’s all brought together to produce a wonderfully chilling (by nineteenth-century standards) Gothic tale, which comes, as many Sheridan Le Fanu tales do, with a moral message.
Notable Quote: Tom Chuff was his name. A shock-headed, broad-shouldered, powerful man, though somewhat short, with lowering brows and a sullen eye. He was a poacher, and hardly made an ostensible pretence of earning his bread by any honest industry. He was a drunkard. He beat his wife, and led his children a life of terror and lamentation, when he was at home. It was a blessing to his frightened little family when he absented himself, as he sometimes did, for a week or more together.

Rating: ★★★½☆

*Story read as part of my 2011 31 Shots of Shock reading project.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. Le Fanu is a writer I discovered a few months ago-I really like his work and want to read more-you might enjoy his short story, “The Child Stolen by Fairies”
    if you have not already read it-I will put this story on my read soon list.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Hi Mel,
      Thanks for that. I’ve taken a note of that story and will look it out. He’s rather good isn’t he? He certainly seems to be able to put the C in CHIIILLLLL! 🙂