(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Wildgoose Lodge,” a nineteenth century tale of terror based on an actual event, begins with the narrator receiving a summons to attend a meeting of a Roman Catholic secret society called the Ribbonmen. In the middle of winter, on a gloomy, stormy day, the narrator, filled with apprehension about the summons, goes to the meeting in the parish chapel. Forty people are waiting for him there, but the welcome he receives is not the hearty greeting to which he is accustomed. Although he does not know the reason for the meeting, he knows that it involves something terrible.

The leader of the Ribbonmen, Patrick Devann, a schoolmaster who teaches in the chapel and on Sunday is clerk to the priest, gives the narrator a glass of whiskey to drink, but the narrator holds back because they are in a church. As more men enter, all are made to drink the whiskey as a sign of their commitment to the act that Devann, called the Captain, has planned, although no one knows what that act is. The Captain reads the names of a group of members of the society who have betrayed the organization and says that all those assembled are brothers on a sacred mission to punish the traitors. The Captain takes the Missal on the altar and swears by the sacred and holy book of God that he will perform the action they have met to accomplish. When he strikes the book with his open hand with a loud sound, the candle goes out and the chapel is thrown into darkness; there is the sound of...

(The entire section is 574 words.)