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CHRISTMAS EVE GHOST STORIES

AN ANTHOLOGY OF WINTER HORROR TALES

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Ghost stories at Christmas can be traced back to pagan times – Yule and Saturnalia – when the Winter Solstice (like Hallowe’en and Wulpurgis Night) was viewed as a moment in space and time where the thinness of the boundaries between the supernatural and human worlds became remarkably plastic, and all manner of strange things were said to be seen and heard in the winter air. while we no longer have the old stories spoken in the old homes around the old fires by the old myth-keepers, let us sit around and enjoy some of the stories that would have sent shivers up the great-great-grandchildren of those little ones sitting around the Yule fire – the supernatural literature of the Victorians and Edwardians.

 

Enclosed in this volume are tales of dark winter nights and harrowing encounters between the worlds of Man and the Hereafter. There are tales of cursed antiquities, otherworldly toy stores, possessed dolls, deals with the devil, and murderous cabin fever. I hope your Christmas is – as M. R. James put it “may be the cheerfuller for a story-book” which takes you back to a different world – one not mapped out, trending, or tweeted about, one dark, forbidding, and evocative. Perhaps I may be a luddite for saying it, but I find something strangely comforting in that. Something consoling and hushing and chilling. Perhaps you will, too.

Yule Horror – H. P. Lovecraft                                                               

 

— CHRISTMAS MESSENGERS —

TALES OF SPECTRES ON A MISSION

 

A Christmas Tree – Charles Dickens                                    

Pollock and the Porroh Man – H. G. Wells                             

The Shadow – E. Nesbit                                                                  

Jacob Marley’s Ghost – Charles Dickens                             

The Goblins Who Stole a Sexton – Charles Dickens            

 

— WINTRY VISITORS —

TALES OF WANDERING SPIRITS AND SHADES

 

Between the Lights – E. F. Benson                                             

The Dead Sexton – J. Sheridan Le Fanu                              

The Tapestried Chamber – Sir Walter Scott                      

The Step – E. F. Benson                                                                  

The Kit-Bag – Algernon Blackwood                                  

 

— CHILDREN IN DANGER —

TALES OF HAUNTED NURSERIES AND TOYS

 

The Old Nurse’s Story – Elizabeth Gaskell                      

The Magic Shop – H. G. Wells                                                     

The Doll’s Ghost – F. Marion Crawford                              

The Open Door – Mrs Oliphant                                                

The Wondersmith – Fitz-James O’Brien                              

 

— SNOW DEMONS —

TALES OF MONSTERS AND SHAPESHIFTERS

 

The Snow-Fiend – Ann Radcliffe                                           

The Festival – H. P. Lovecraft                                              

The Horror-Horn – E. F. Benson                                               

The Glamour of the Snow – Algernon Blackwood            

The Transition – Algernon Blackwood                              

 

— HAUNTED HOUSES —

TALES OF TROUBLED HOMES AND ROOMS

 

The Mistletoe Bough Legend – N. Thomas Hynes Bayly     

The Other Bed – E. F. Benson                                                       

A Strange Christmas Game – Charlotte Riddell             

Number 17 – E. Nesbit                                                                        

Jerry Bundler – W. W. Jacobs                                                       

 

— DEATH IN THE SNOW —

TALES OF TRECHEROUS LANDSCAPES AND MEN

 

The Phantom Coach – Amelia B. Edwards                           

The Hostel – Guy de Maupassant                                            

In the Vault – H. P. Lovecraft                                                      

The Silver Hatchet – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle                  

The Story of a Disappearance… – M. R. James