I first encountered Paul Murray — the biographer of "Dracula" author Bram Stoker and the editor of a new collection of spine-chilling Japanese ghost stories by Lafcadio Hearn — in a suitably awe-inspiring and spooky location: the Great Hall of Durham Castle in north-east England in 2015. With its impressively paneled walls adorned with battle weapons and Victorian portraits, the castle was an inspiration for Hogwarts in the "Harry Potter" films.

Japanese Ghost Stories, by Lafcadio Hearn, Edited with an introduction by Paul Murray.272 pagesPENGUIN CLASSICS, Horror.

We were both speaking at a conference at Durham's Lafcadio Hearn Cultural Centre — a pleasant place created to commemorate the mostly miserable boarding school years Hearn spent at nearby Gothically inspired Ushaw College in the 1860s. Holed up in a castle room as the autumnal moon hung mistily over Durham Cathedral outside, flicking between Murray's 1993 biography of Hearn and some of Hearn's Japanese ghost stories, I found my fascination for Hearn soar to new heights.