"Many historians, I fear, still think of ghosts as the province of a small number of specialist ‘historians of the ghostly’, such as Peter Marshall, Sasha Handley and Shane McCorristine. They are prepared to acknowledge that belief in ghosts, like other supernatural beliefs, can be illuminating of the culture of a particular time and place." Yet "Every half decent historian has had this experience: for a moment, the past seems more real than the present, and the absence of the dead an absurdity." Why Historians Need Ghosts, an article by Dr. Francis Young. [more inside]
Montague Rhodes James was an antiquarian, cataloger, scholar (especially of apocryphal books of the Bible), as well as Vice Chancellor of King’s College Cambridge and Provost of Eton College (where he died in 1936). But he is best known for his ghost stories, excellent examples of the Victorian Christmas ghost story tradition. [more inside]
It was Christmas Eve. I begin this way because it is the proper, orthodox, respectable way to begin, and I have been brought up in a proper, orthodox, respectable way, and taught to always do the proper, orthodox, respectable thing; and the habit clings to me. Of course, as a mere matter of information it is quite unnecessary to mention the date at all. The experienced reader knows it was Christmas Eve ... It always is Christmas Eve, in a ghost story.In Told After Supper (1891), Jerome K. Jerome parodied the tradition of telling Christmas ghost stories, but it's plain to see that he had fun writing them. And horror writer Ramsey Campbell, himself the author of a number of Christmas stories, recently dropped by /r/WeirdLit to list off a few places to find more. [more inside]
Since the time of Dickens there has been a long-standing tradition of telling spooky stories on Christmas Eve... Who better to be a guide to a selection of ghostly tales than faux-Edwardian and author of Supernatural Horror in Literature, Mr. Howard P Lovecraft? Scaretastic suggetions from some of his favourite authors within... [more inside]
For many years the BBC had a tradition of showing a dramatisation of a classic ghost story at Christmas. This tradition is being continued this year with Whistle and I'll Come to You being shown tonight staring John Hurt. An adaptation of the same classic MR James story was shown in 1968 staring Michael Hordern beginning the tradition (1, 2, 3). [more inside]
Ronald McDonald is so-o-o last year. The new McDonalds mascot in Japan is "Mr. James", a nerdy white guy from Ohio who speaks broken Japanese in the new ads for their "Nippon All Stars" sandwiches. Here's his blog (copyright McDonalds), translated by Google. FRANCA (Foreign Residents And Nationalized Citizens Association) want MickeyD's to dump him. Those Wacky Japanese!
"Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come to You, My Lad," "Casting the Runes," and other stories by M.R. James, the master of the ghost story.