Title: Christmas Ghost Stories
Publishing House:The Folio Society
Date of Publication: 2005
”This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle-lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.”
Lyke Wake Drige Lament
Christmas is arguably the jolliest time of the year. Lights everywhere, bright ornaments, laughing children singing beautiful carols. Ages-old traditions getting rejuvenated every year. However, Christmas is a part of winter. And winter is a dark time. A time for ghosts…
The tradition of narrating ghost stories during Christmas flourished in the Victorian era but its roots can be found in the pagan times during the Winter Solstice and the Yule when the terror of the supernatural had immense power over the people’s hearts and could only be exorcised by sharing experiences around the fire, finding shelter in togetherness. This collection includes some of the most unsettling, wintry ghost stories from the UK, the USA and Canada I’ve ever read.
The rucksack of a condemned man comes alive. An old nanny becomes the witness of a tragic story and a young man becomes a passenger to a cart whose destination lies far from our world. A vindictive ghost haunts the ghosts of an estate in Cornwall and an evil vicar is taunted by goblins. A young English woman faces the consequences of her husband’s darkest secrets and a professor makes a strange pact with a most unsuitable Christmas visitor a.k.a the Devil. A hide-and-seek game attracts a player that wasn’t supposed to be there. Charles Dickens and Santa Claus meet in a ghost shop and two brothers play a macabre game of disappearance.
An enemy of Christmas is made to face the results of his hatred in an astonishing story and a young woman is bound to an earthly half-existence. A dead husband calls for his wife. A woman is haunted by the vengeful presence of her husband’s ex-wife and by dark premonitions. The spirit of a beautiful French girl haunts the estate that is about to shelter two young lovers to dreadful results.
Make no mistake. These stories contain very few festive moments. They are dark and twisted and firmly related to the human inclination of revenge. Love affairs, threats, family secrets, companionship, and remembrance. And who wouldn’t choose Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joan Aiken, Muriel Spark, M.R.James and many more to spend a few spooky nights by the bright Christmas tree and the dark window?