Back in the 1960s I read an Alfred Hitchcock anthology of horror or suspense stories for children. I guess that Hitchcock merely lent his name to the anthology.

If I remember correctly, the book had a mostly greenish hard cover.

I remember bits of three stories:

In one story, a vampire was discovered and defeated. The vampire unusually could turn into an owl instead of a bat.

In one story there was reference to how unhealthy West Africa was for European explorers and colonists due to tropical diseases, and someone recited a poem about the Bight of Benin. The version of the rhyme in this story went:

The Bight of Benin, the Bight of Benin.
One comes out where three goes in.

And I remember that another story had a reference to, or a visit to, New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which I have never lived very far from.

So I ask if anyone remembers that book or any story from it.

  • 1
    FWIW, there were several Alfred Hitchcock anthologies marketed towards children (and yes, it's mostly him putting his name on them). I unfortunately haven't had much luck finding yours.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 6, 2022 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


This is likely Haunted Houseful (1961).

Cover of "Haunted Houseful" showing a decaying three-story house with mossy roofs and pointed gables on a sandy dune, with one wall of the house being Hitchcock's face

It contains "The Forgotten Island" by Elizabeth Coatsworth, which contains a reference to the Bight of Benin couplet:

"Yes, and tell what was written over the mantel in queer letters—you remember we learned it—'Oh, the Bight of' what was it, John?

"Oh, the Bight of Benin,
The Bight of Benin,
One comes out
Where three goes in."

"The Mystery of Rabbit Run" by Jack Bechdolt is set in New Hope, Pennsylvania, which lies in Bucks County:

Three young travelers in single file plodded through midsummer heat, crossing the bridge between Lambertville, which is in New Jersey, and the village of New Hope, in Pennsylvania.

There are a couple of explicit references to "Bucks County" in the story:

"Well," said Captain Ben, "he's a rich man from out in Indiana or some place, that's bought the old Fairfields place and is tryin' to mind the business of everybody in Bucks County. But don't you let him worry you. If he did make a trespassin' charge against you, the court would throw it out."

  • 1
    Better answer than mine - I've had no luck finding descriptions of the actual stories. Good find!
    – Omegacron
    May 6, 2022 at 20:57
  • @Omegacron There are a couple of extensive reviews on Goodreads that list brief descriptions of all the stories, but there aren't any details there that really match the question.
    – DavidW
    May 6, 2022 at 21:04
  • Archive.org also has copiers that can be borrowed.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 7, 2022 at 0:29
  • 1
    @DavidW This sounds like the one. And I recognize the cover image. May 7, 2022 at 2:35

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