William Hope Hodgson was born in 1877. At the age of thirteen, Hodgson ran away from school in an effort to become a sailor. Caught, he returned to family but eventually received his father's permission to begin an apprenticeship as a cabin boy. After receiving the mate certificate, he was a sailor for several years. During his period as sailor, he was awarded the Royal Humane Society medal for heroism. During his voyages, Hodgson practised photography, taking, among others, photographs of atmospheric phenomena such as cyclones, lightning and aurora borealis. Back from sailing, he opened in 1899 a school of physical culture, in Blackburn, England, offering personal training. In this period he began writing articles on physical culture. After, Hodgson turned his attention to fiction, publishing his first short stories. He wrote poems too, many posthumously published by his widow. In 1907 he published "The Voice in the Night", a horror sea story, and "The House on the Borderland"; in 1909, "Out of the Storm", and the novel "The Ghost Pirates". After, he invented a recurring character, Carnacki, .... see Wiki for more.
From "the Voice in the Night"
It was a dark, starless night. We were becalmed in the northern Pacific. Our exact position I do not know; for the sun had been hidden during the course of a weary, breathless week by a thin haze which had seemed to float above us, about the height of our mastheads, at whiles descending and shrouding the surrounding sea.
With there being no wind, we had steadied the tiller, and I was the only man on deck. The crew, consisting of two men and a boy, were sleeping forward in their den, while Will—my friend, and the master of our little craft—was aft in his bunk on the port side of the little cabin.
Suddenly, from out of the surrounding darkness, there came a hail:
The cry was so unexpected that I gave no immediate answer, because of my surprise.
It came again—a voice curiously throaty and inhuman, calling from somewhere upon the dark sea away on our port broadside:
“Hullo!” I sang out, having gathered my wits somewhat. “What are you? What do you want?”
“You need not be afraid,” answered the queer voice, having probably noticed some trace of confusion in my tone. “I am only an old—man.”