Macfarlane cites an MR James story I haven't read and am not going to, but for once I might manage it without trauma, because James gives a reason for what happened, a possibly fatal flaw in an eerie tale. Then again, the horror of James for me resides in the atmosphere his writing builds up, and I fancy the journey to the (seemingly) flat-footed explanation is probably exquisitely harrowing.
...his mastery of the eerie: that form of fear that is felt first as unease, then as dread, and which is incited by glimpses and tremors rather than outright attack. Horror specialises in confrontation and aggression; the eerie in intimation and aggregation. Its physical consequences tend to be gradual and compound: swarming in the stomach’s pit, the tell-tale prickle of the skin. I find the eerie far more alarming than the horrific: James is one of only two writers (the other being Mark Danielewski) who has caused me to wake myself with my own screaming. Saw sends me to sleep.Not reading House of Leaves any time soon, though the gimmickry might be distracting.
(I do wish I was one of those people who finds James' ghost stories cozy. After all, I'm one of those people who finds the other James' ghost story simply mystifying.)