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Number 13 (short story)

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Number 13
by M.R. James
Ghost stories of an antiquary.jpg
Publication date1904

"Number 13" is a ghost story by British writer M. R. James, included in his first collection Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904).

Plot summary

While researching church history in Viborg, Denmark, in particular the events of the reformation, the narrator's cousin stays in a Danish inn. While staying in room Number 12, he notices that his room seems to grow smaller and his furniture sometimes vanishes. After hearing dancing next door, he assumes it comes from Number 13, however upon discussing the matter with the inn-keep, he learns that there is no Number 13. He asks the inn-keep to visit his room at night. While talking, the protagonist and the inn-keep hear ominous singing in the room next door. They check Number 14, but learn that its occupant thought it was them, then they find the "nonexistent" door to Number 13. A clawed hand attacks them, and they attempt to break down the door but break through the plaster wall. The occupants of 12 and 14 spend the night in a double bedded room. The narrator meets his cousin a few months later, and relates the tale to him.[1]


In 2000, the story was adapted for television as part of the Ghost Stories for Christmas series by the BBC, and starred Sir Christopher Lee as James narrating his story.

In 2006, the story was adapted for television starring Greg Wise, Paul Freeman and David Burke [1].

In 2019, the story was adapted into audio drama as part of the debut season of Shadows at the Door: The Podcast.


  1. ^ James, M.R. (1993). Collected ghost stories (Repr. ed.). Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth. pp. 41–53. ISBN 1853260533.

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Number 13 (short story)
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