Musings in the Dark: Horror 101: Harvest Home


Horror 101: Harvest Home

Harvest Home is a 1978 novel written by Thomas Tryon.  It’s about a family that moves to the village of Cornwall Coombe, where the villagers adhere to the “old ways.”  Ned Constantine, his wife Beth and their daughter Kate relocate to Cornwall Coombe, which is a village that celebrates festivals revolving around the cultivation of corn.  The leader of the village, the Widow Fortune, is also a midwife and practices herbal medicine.  Nothing goes down in the Coombe without the Widow knowing.  Ned is suspicious of the Widow’s influence on the town and her medical remedies, but Beth and Kate grow to love her. 

Ned is right to be suspicious of the Widow, as she is the leader of a cult—made up of the Coombe’s women—that practices pagan fertility rites to ensure a good harvest.  Their husbands and sons are locked up in their houses during Harvest Home (which is the most important of the corn festivals), as they are not allowed to see or hear anything that takes place during the commemoration.  During Harvest Home, the Corn Maiden mates with the Harvest Lord and the women then murder him and sprinkle his blood in the cornfields. 

Ned is declared an outcast by the Widow for being too nosy.  When he tries to interfere with the festival, he learns that the newly minted Corn Maiden is his wife Beth.  The women capture Ned and force him to watch his wife fuck the Harvest Lord, and then they blind him and cut out his tongue.  Ned learns later that his wife Beth is pregnant—not by him—and his daughter Kate is next in line to be Corn Maiden.

I enjoy books and movies about pagan cults.  Harvest Home is a decent read, but honestly it could have used a good edit, as the first two-thirds of the book kinda slogs along…and then the final third is when things get really interesting.  I paid a whole $1 for it on Amazon, so it was a worthwhile investment.


  1. You are something else. They have to build the story up first before they can give you the gore that your little heart desires.

    1. Yeah but Tryon could have done that more efficiently.


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