Lost Hearts

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"Lost Hearts"
Ghost stories of an antiquary.jpg
Author M.R. James
Country England
Language English
Genre(s) Horror short story

"Lost Hearts" is a ghost story by M. R. James, found in his 1904 book Ghost Stories of an Antiquary.


The tale tells the story of Stephen, a young orphan boy, who is sent to stay with his much older cousin at a remote country mansion. His cousin is a reclusive alchemist obsessed with making himself immortal. Stephen is repeatedly troubled by visions of a young gypsy girl and a traveling Italian boy with their hearts missing.


"Lost Hearts"
A Ghost Story for Christmas episode
Title screen, depicting the fog in which the carriage carrying young Stephen arrives
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 3
Directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark
Written by M. R. James (story)
Robin Chapman (adaptation)
Original air date 25 December 1973
Episode chronology
← Previous
"A Warning to the Curious"
Next →
"The Treasure of Abbot Thomas"

The story was first adapted for television by ABC and broadcast by ITV on March 5, 1966 as an episode of the Mystery and Imagination series. However, no archive recordings of this episode are known to exist.

Lost Hearts was adapted by Robin Chapman in 1973 as part of the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas strand, directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark. The shortest of the adaptations, it was first broadcast on Christmas Day 1973 at 11:35 pm.[1] It starred Simon Gipps-Kent as Stephen and Joseph O'Conor as the cousin. The adaptation is noted for the distinctive hurdy-gurdy music that accompanies appearances of the two ghostly children. Ralph Vaughan Williams's English Folk Song Suite is also featured.


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External links