Way back in the dim mists of roughly 1978/79, I took out from our primary school's mobile library a collection of short ghost stories, the title of which I cannot recall whatsoever even though at least two remnants of stories remain vivid, as do the accompanying illustrations.

On the cover was featured a bearded (don't quote me on that bit) gnome/elf with, as a friend of mine at the time put it, 'realistic' eyes. I think he was situated down in the bottom left corner, and the rest of the cover was occupied by title, author, and other artistic renditions depicting supernatural creatures.

The two stories I recall are as follows:

  • One was about a headless skeleton searching for its skull.
  • A man pretending to be a ghost to be with a real ghost (this had a black/white line drawing of both 'ghosts' sitting up in their coffins).
  • This is a good amount of information, but check this page for some other details you might add. Mar 6, 2017 at 19:51
  • One of the Armada Ghost Books perhaps? They were a series edited by Mary Danby that released an edition a year for many years in the 70s and 80s. Do any of these covers ring a bell? google.com.au/…
    – Moriarty
    Mar 6, 2017 at 22:37
  • Forgot to ask: where are you? The Armada Ghost Books were published in the UK, so if you're American it's less likely to be one of them.
    – Moriarty
    Mar 6, 2017 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


Could your story about a headless skeleton searching for its skull be "The Skull" by Ruth Manning-Sanders?

An orphan girl de-haunts and wins a castle by defending a skull from the skeleton that wants to steal it.

I found that description here.

According to isfdb that story is in three collections, any of which could be the volume you're after.

  • Dear Moriarty ... many thanks for your prompt answer to my question. By Jove, I think you've nailed it straight off! Following your link to the description of 'The Skull' you provided led me to Ms Manning-Sanders's 'A Book of Ghosts & Goblins', and as soon as I saw that title a distant bell knelled. Searching that, I came across the cover of the book's 1974 reprint, which appears very familiar indeed. I have found an illustration of the headless skeleton, too, pretty much verifying your deductions ... award yourself a cee-gar, and thank you again for your invaluable assistance. Toodle-pip, JJ Mar 10, 2017 at 17:54

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