Robert E. Howard’s “The Dead Remember,” was submitted to Argosy in 1936 and sold to Munsey by Otto Binder for $17.50. Two drafts are known to exist. The drafts differ mainly in character names and the description details. One prominent divergence is the absence of Jezebel’s dress description in the earlier draft, a detail later included. These variations reflect the story’s evolution and Howard’s process of refining its supernatural elements.

The story

“The Dead Remember” tells the tale of Jim Gordon, who is plagued by supernatural guilt and revenge after murdering an African American couple named Joel and Jezebel. In a letter to his friend Bill, Jim explains how he killed the couple in a drunken rage months earlier, after which Jezebel cursed him with her dying words.

Jim believes he is now cursed as he narrowly escapes death several times on a cattle drive. The night before his death, he dreams of Jezebel saying she is coming for him. Consumed by guilt and visions of Jezebel, Jim sees a Black woman’s ghost beckoning him at a saloon. Believing it to be Jezebel’s vengeful spirit, he desperately fires his gun, only for it to explode and kill him.

An inquest finds a piece of cloth from Jezebel’s dress stuck in Jim’s gun barrel, suggesting a supernatural fulfillment of Jezebel’s curse. The story is told through Jim’s letter to Bill and several witness statements after his strange death, painting a tale of guilt, ghosts, and revenge from beyond the grave.


  • Jim Gordon (James A. Gordon): The protagonist, haunted by his guilt and cursed by Jezebel.
  • Joel and Jezebel: The elderly couple murdered by Jim. Jezebel curses Jim.
  • John Elston: Jim’s trail boss, providing insights into Jim’s behavior.
  • Mike O’Donnell: A bartender who witnesses the saloon incident.
  • Sam Grimes: A deputy sheriff who encounters Jim before his death.
  • Tom Allison: A witness to the supernatural event leading to Jim’s death.

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