Unsolvable Mysteries: Tommy’s Note in Collected Ghost Stories

Posted on April 26, 2016 by Lindsay

Hey guys. I know this isn’t travel related but I have to share. I’m really into mysteries and true crime. I seek out movies and podcasts on the subject and it is by far my favorite type of book to read. In some alternate timeline, I’d like to think that I’m a detective or private eye but for now, I’ll have to settle for trying to figure out life’s little random mysteries. Who know, maybe this will become a regular series.

This mystery comes from a recent trip to a thrift store (a place I’m sure is ripe with unanswered questions.) I picked up a couple of books to read including a small paperback by M.R. James called Collected Ghost Stories – perfect for our next camping trip.


I handed the book to my friend to gauge her approval on the purchase – she was into it and thumbed through the pages briefly. Her eyes bulged as she stopped on a page with a neatly folded note. I hadn’t even noticed it! Here was the slip:


The note reads

This gift is unexcptablely late. I’m not good at writing letters, so I wish you luck in the future. Good-bye.


There was no other writing in the book. Only a post it note marking a separate page.


Was it underlining this passage or just marking this story?



There certainly isn’t much to go on with the note itself. We can assume that Tommy wasn’t the owner of this book unless he had a habit of writing notes and not sending them. The misspelling of ‘unexcptablely’ leads me to believe he meant unacceptably rather than unexpectedly.

The book The Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James is written by Montague Rhodes James, a medievalist scholar well known for these short stories. Many consider him to be the ultimate ghost-story teller as his writing and preferred methods of reciting the works became his biggest legacy.

You can purchase a newer edition of the book here.



There are a few unanswerable questions here. For starters, who was this book given to? Tommy never mentions anyone by name and there is no personalized remarks indicated anywhere else in the book.

Also, what was the purpose of this note? It’s so short we don’t know why Tommy won’t see this person in the future or if the ghost stories book is in fact the gift he refers to. It’s possible this innocuous note ended up in this specific book as a bookmark. If that’s the case, why the post-it note on the other page? Two placeholders in a book with multiple short stories is not necessarily that odd, I suppose.

As with all unsolvable mysteries, we will never know.

What do you think about this mystery?

Also: let me know if you have
an Unsolvable Mystery you’d like me post!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.