Sunday, December 23, 2012
Sometimes over the holidays, find time to sit alone, preferably after dark, and read a ghost story or two. I often sit up late on Christmas Eve by the fire, long after everyone else has gone to bed, and read a story or two by M. R. James (whose stories were meant to be read on Christmas Eve, actually), and maybe some of Elliott O'Donnell's "true" ghost stories. But anything can be read as long as it sends a chill up the spine.
Ghost stories and Christmas have long gone hand-in-hand. Naturally there's Scrooge's three ghosts, but Victorian magazines invariably HAD to include ghost stories in their Christmas issues for them to be complete. And they're not always cutesy heartwarming ghosts who make the miser see the error of his ways...sometimes they were vengeful and destructive, as James' ghosts were. Some were bent on dark deeds, like the beings in Lovecraft's "The Festival", set during Yuletide. And some are just creepy.
Tell you what...here's a link to a favorite Christmas-themed ghost story. I first read this in high school and it gave me the jitters, and it still gives pleasant shudders. Fasten your seatbelts for "Smee."