from “The Crown Derby Plate”—A Vintage Ghost Story by Marjorie Bowen, 1931

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“Very unpleasant,” said Martha Pym, undisturbed.

This ghost seemed too elusive for her to track down; she would have to be content if she could recover the Crown Derby plate; for that at least she was determined to make a try and also to satisfy that faint tingling of curiosity roused in her by this talk about “Hartleys” and the remembrance of that day, so long ago, when she had gone to the auction sale at the lonely old house.

So the first free afternoon, while Mabel and Clara were comfortably taking their afternoon repose, Martha Pym, who was of a more lively habit, got out her little governess cart and dashed away across the Essex flats.

She had taken minute directions with her, but she had soon lost her way.

Under the wintry sky, which looked as grey and hard as metal, the marshes stretched bleakly to the horizon, the olive-brown broken reeds were harsh as scars on the saffron-tinted bogs, where the sluggish waters that rose so high in winter were filmed over with the first stillness of a frost; the air was cold but not keen, everything was damp; faintest of mists blurred the black outlines of trees that rose stark from the ridges above the stagnant dykes; the flooded fields were haunted by black birds and white birds, gulls and crows, whining above the long ditch grass and wintry wastes.

Miss Pym stopped the little horse and surveyed this spectral scene, which had a certain relish about it to one sure to return to a homely village, a cheerful house and good company.

A withered and bleached old man, in color like the dun landscape, came along the road between the sparse alders.

Miss Pym, buttoning up her coat, asked the way to “Hartley” as he passed her; he told her, straight on, and she proceeded, straight indeed across the road that went with undeviating length across the marshes.

“Of course,” thought Miss Pym, “if you live in a place like this, you are bound to invent ghosts.”

***

“The Crown Derby Plate” was first published in 1931 in Grace Latouche and the Warringtons.

Read the entire story online, here:

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0607711h.html

“The Ghost in the Mill”—An Oldtown Fireside Story by Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1872

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“Come, Sam, tell us a story,” said I, as Harry and I crept to his knees, in the glow of the bright evening firelight; while Aunt Lois was busily rattling the tea-things, and grandmamma, at the other end of the fireplace, was quietly setting the heel of a blue-mixed yarn stocking.

In those days we had no magazines and daily papers, each reeling off a serial story. Once a week, “The Columbian Sentinel” came from Boston with its slender stock of news and editorial; but all the multiform devices—pictorial, narrative, and poetical—which keep the mind of the present generation ablaze with excitement, had not then even an existence. There was no theatre, no opera; there were in Oldtown no parties or balls, except, perhaps, the annual election, or Thanksgiving festival; and when winter came, and the sun went down at half-past four o’clock, and left the long, dark hours of evening to be provided for, the necessity of amusement became urgent. Hence, in those days, chimney-corner story-telling became an art and an accomplishment. Society then was full of traditions and narratives which had all the uncertain glow and shifting mystery of the firelit hearth upon them. They were told to sympathetic audiences, by the rising and falling light of the solemn embers, with the hearth-crickets filling up every pause. Then the aged told their stories to the young,—tales of early life; tales of war and adventure, of forest-days, of Indian captivities and escapes, of bears and wild-cats and panthers, of rattlesnakes, of witches and wizards, and strange and wonderful dreams and appearances and providences.

In those days of early Massachusetts, faith and credence were in the very air. Two-thirds of New England was then dark, unbroken forests, through whose tangled paths the mysterious winter wind groaned and shrieked and howled with weird noises and unaccountable clamors. Along the iron-bound shore, the stormful Atlantic raved and thundered, and dashed its moaning waters, as if to deaden and deafen any voice that might tell of the settled life of the old civilized world, and shut us forever into the wilderness. A good story-teller, in those days, was always sure of a warm seat at the hearthstone, and the delighted homage of children; and in all Oldtown there was no better story-teller than Sam Lawson.

“Do, do, tell us a story,” said Harry, pressing upon him, and opening very wide blue eyes, in which undoubting faith shone as in a mirror; “and let it be something strange, and different from common.”

“Wal, I know lots o’ strange things,” said Sam, looking mysteriously into the fire.

“Why, I know things, that ef I should tell,—why, people might say they wa’n’t so; but then they is so for all that.”

“Oh, do, do, tell us!”

“Why, I should scare ye to death, mebbe,” said Sam doubtingly.

“Oh, pooh! no, you wouldn’t,” we both burst out at once.

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But Sam was possessed by a reticent spirit, and loved dearly to be wooed and importuned; and do he only took up the great kitchen-tongs, and smote on the hickory forestick, when it flew apart in the middle, and scattered a shower of clear bright coals all over the hearth.
“Mercy on us, Sam Lawson!” said Aunt Lois in an indignant voice, spinning round from her dishwashing.

“Don’t you worry a grain, Miss Lois,” said Sam composedly. “I see that are stick was e’en a’most in two, and I thought I’d jest settle it. I’ll sweep up the coals now,” he added, vigorously applying a turkey-wing to the purpose, as he knelt on the hearth, his spare, lean figure glowing in the blaze of the firelight, and getting quite flushed with exertion.

“There, now!” he said, when he had brushed over and under and between the fire-irons, and pursued the retreating ashes so far into the red, fiery citadel, that his finger-ends were burning and tingling, “that are’s done now as well as Hepsy herself could ‘a’ done it. I allers sweeps up the haarth: I think it’s part o’ the man’s bisness when he makes the fire. But Hepsy’s so used to seein’ me a-doin’ on’t, that she don’t see no kind o’ merit in’t. It’s just as Parson Lothrop said in his sermon,—folks allers overlook their common marcies”—

“But come, Sam, that story,” said Harry and I coaxingly, pressing upon him, and pulling him down into his seat in the corner.

Continue reading

You. Must. See. This. Movie!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t care what critics or Rotten Tomatoes says—This is so damn scary I almost lost my shit in the theater!! Run and see The Posession of Hannah Grace! And it was filmed with a $2000 Sony DSLR camera with Hawk 65mm lenses for $10M.

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You Need These!! 3 Volumes of the Greatest Christmas Ghost Stories from the Victorian Era! (TOCs+An Intro+Links)


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Volume 1: Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION by Tara Moore
THE TAPESTRIED CHAMBER by Sir Walter Scott
THE OLD NURSE’S STORY by Elizabeth Gaskell
HORROR: A TRUE TALE by John Berwick Harwood
“BRING ME A LIGHT!” by Anonymous
OLD HOOKER’S GHOST by Anonymous
THE GHOST’S SUMMONS by Ada Buisson
JACK LAYFORD’S FRIEND by Anonymous
HOW PETER PARLEY LAID A GHOST by Anonymous
A MYSTERIOUS VISITOR by Ellen wood
THE HAUNTED ROCK by W. W. Fenn
THE LADY’S WALK by Charlotte Riddell
THE CAPTAIN OF THE “POLE-STAR” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
THE DOLL’S GHOST by F. Marion Crawford

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Volume 2: Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
A REAL COUNTRY GHOST STORY by Albert Smith
THE GHOST OF THE TREASURE-CHAMBER by Emily Arnold
NUMBER TWO, MELROSE SQUARE by Theo Gift
THE WEIRD VIOLIN by Anonymous
WALSHAM GRANGE by E. Morant Cox
HAUNTED! by Coulson Kernahan
THE STEEL MIRROR by W. W. Fenn
WHITE SATIN by Anonymous
NICODEMUS by Alfred Cronklin
WOLVERDEN TOWER by Grant Allen
CHRISTMAS EVE IN BEACH HOUSE by Eliza Lynn Linton
THE NECROMANCER; or, GHOST versus GRAMARYE Isabella F. Romer
THE VEILED PORTRAIT by James Grant
THE GHOST CHAMBER by Anonymous
A TERRIBLE RETRIBUTION; or, SQUIRE ORTON’S GHOST by “A. S.”

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Volume 3: Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
NOTE ON THE TEXT
THE GHOST OF THE CROSS-ROADS by Frederick Manley
19, GREAT HANOVER STREET by Lillie Harris
SIR HUGO’S PRAYER by G. B. Burgin
WALNUT-TREE HOUSE by Mrs. J. H. Riddell
HAUNTED ASHCHURCH by Anonymous
THE HAUNTED TREE by Anonymous
A DEAD MAN’S FACE by Hugh Conway
THE GHOST’S “DOUBLE” by L. F. Austin
THE HAUNTED MANOR by E. H. Renton
THE NAMELESS VILLAGE by J. E. Thomas
OLD SIMONS’ GHOST! by Anonymous
MIRIAM’S GHOST by J. W. Hollingsworth
THE VICAR’S GHOST by Lucy Farmer
THE GHOST OF THE HOLLOW FIELD by Mrs. Henry Wood
THE WICKED EDITOR’S CHRISTMAS DREAM by Alice Mary Vince
THE BARBER’S GHOST by Anonymous
A SPIRIT BRIDE by Andrew Haggard
THE HAUNTED OVEN by W. L. Blackley
THE DEVIL’S OWN by Lilian Quiller Couch
A CHRISTMAS GHOST STORY by Anonymous

The Links!

Ghosts of Christmas Past—An Anthology of Old & New Ghost Stories, ed. by Tim Martin, 2017 (TOC+Intro+Link)

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Table of Contents

Title Page
Copyright
Introduction by Tim Martin
M. R. JAMES The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance
JENN ASHWORTH Dinner for One
E. NESBIT The Shadow
LOUIS DE BERNIÈRES This Beautiful House
MURIEL SPARK The Leaf-Sweeper
FRANK COWPER Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk
E. F. BENSON The Step
BERNARD CAPES The Vanishing House
L. P. HARTLEY Someone in the Lift
ROBERT AICKMAN The Visiting Star
NEIL GAIMAN Nicholas Was
JEROME K. JEROME The Ghost of the Blue Chamber
KELLY LINK The Lady and the Fox
Acknowledgements


Introduction

We may think of ghost stories as a Victorian tradition, but the habit of telling spooky tales at the end of the year goes back a long way. Centuries before Dickens and his contemporaries began writing for a mass market fascinated by spiritualism and the occult, workers and families were gathering in the long nights to work, talk and swap tall stories of magic and horror. In 1725 the Newcastle historian Henry Bourne noted that ‘nothing is commoner in country places than for a whole family in a winter’s evening, to sit round the fire, and tell stories of apparitions and ghosts’. Even further back in time is Shakespeare’s character Mamilius, who observes that ‘a sad tale’s best for winter: I have one/ Of sprites and goblins’. In the trough of the seasons, where the days wither and the nights stretch out, our old nocturnal anxieties start to prickle again –and there has always been a delicious Schadenfreude about the ghost story, with its implicit contrast between Them Out There (hag-ridden, bedevilled, plagued by horrors) and Us In Here by the fire with our friends.

Despite the title, this isn’t entirely a book of Christmas ghost stories. The spooky tale set at Christmas, as opposed to told at Christmas, turns out to be less common than one might think –and one stricture feels like enough for a collection. Accordingly, and because misrule is another Christmas tradition, the wandering spirits that throng this collection haven’t had their IDs checked very carefully. Some are ghosts of Christmas past. Others are half-glimpsed Christmas monsters, horrifying Christmas presentiments, amorphous pools of Christmas malevolence, Christmas drunken hallucinations and, in one case, what may well be a Christmas demon. All, however, confine their haunting, chasing, shambling or manifesting to the festive season.

Ghost stories, appropriately, are a moonlighter’s profession: even the big names rarely build entire careers on them. M. R. James, whose Christmas chiller The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance is one of his most frightening pieces, was a medieval historian, director of the Fitzwilliam and translator of the Apocrypha who wrote (and read) his ghost stories to make friends shiver by candlelight. Edith Nesbit, who appears here with the elusive and terrifying The Shadow, fitted hers in between bestselling children’s novels (The Railway Children, The Phoenix and the Carpet) and running the Fabian Society. Writers as austere and waspish as Muriel Spark jostle in these pages with those as foppish and jolly as Jerome K. Jerome; in her bewilderingly calm ghost story The Leaf-Sweeper the ghost is still alive, in his Christmas entertainment (The Ghost of the Blue Chamber) the phantom likes to tempt boozers and strangle carol-singers. Like many such collections, this one is a strange come-all-ye of authors, like a hobbyist’s convention or the cast list for an Agatha Christie mystery.

‘You must have noticed,’ runs a line in Nesbit’s The Shadow, ‘that all the real ghost stories you have ever come close to, are like this … no explanation, no logical coherence’. Literary ghost stories, however, tend to split into two camps: the haunting and the horrifying. Robert Aickman’s The Visiting Star, like all this inimitably peculiar writer’s work, is more Tales of the Cryptic than Tales from the Crypt as it weaves its theatrical Christmas nightmare out of stifled comedy, semi-obscure mythical allusions (Iblis and Myrrha, among others, are worth scurrying to the encyclopaedia for) and moments of heart-stopping dread. In The Vanishing House, by the forgotten Victorian writer Bernard Capes, a bunch of travelling musicians encounter a winter horror in a brief dialect story that starts out as broad and boozy comedy and ends up feeling like a lost fragment of folktale. The yachtsman Frank Cowper’s Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk, a story disconcertingly cast in the documentary tone of real experience, is choked with ambient dread –few ghost stories manage to make sound so terrifying –but similarly light on explanation and dramatic form.

Other stories train their sights on emotions more complex than terror. Jenn Ashworth’s clever, despairing Dinner for One, not the only story in this volume to be narrated by the ghost, casts its central haunting as a ghastly co-dependent relationship or a form of domestic abuse. Louis de Bernières’s My Beautiful House is an oddity: a supernatural story, told with an admirable lightness of touch, that turns out to be more interested in heart-tugging melancholy than in bald horror. Kelly Link’s rather wondrous The Lady and the Fox, meanwhile, mixes timeworn notions of Christmas ghostery with a crackling contemporary tone and a fantasy story as old (and everlastingly youthful) as Tam Lin himself.

Not all the revenants here are quite so subtle. Neil Gaiman’s Nicholas Was, written for a Christmas card, is a 100-word exercise in jet-black comedy, describing a seasonal favourite who is less St Nicholas than Old Nick. Someone in the Lift by L. P. Hartley (famous for The Go-Between, but a dedicated producer producer of supernatural stories as well) is a Twilight Zone-style shocker whose nastiness is almost too blatant –that dot-dot-dot ending!–but manages a genuinely unsettling tone of supernatural foreshadowing in the first part. Written with dreadful relish, E. F. Benson’s The Step may be the least subtle of the stories in this collection: it’s a tale that demands to be read aloud, with the kind of climactic ‘boo’ that should send listeners howling into the festive night.

And what a long night it is, out there beyond the warm rooms and the firelight. Don’t worry about the noises. Ignore the moving shapes. It’s time to step out. Turn the page. Oh, and happy Christmas. If you come back.

Link

The Red Lodge—A Ghost Story for Christmas by H. Russell Wakefield (Info+Link)

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Reading a ghost story on Christmas eve was once as much a part of traditional Christmas celebrations as turkey, eggnog, and Santa Claus.

The “Red Lodge” is a magnificent Queen Anne house, the ideal rental for a young family on a much-needed holiday. But something is wrong at the Red Lodge. What caused the drownings of so many previous occupants? What dark presence lurks in the river? Why has the son grown sullen and afraid?

About the Author

HR Wakefield (1888 – 1964) was an English author and editor, considered one of the greatest ghost story writers of all time.

Read more, here…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._Russell_Wakefield


Praise for “Seth’s” Christmas Ghost Stories Series…

“[This] series of Christmas ghost stories, miniature books chosen and illustrated by the cartoonist Seth … [offers] chills―and charm.”

―John Williams, New York Times Book Review

“I just bought my set of these and they … are … PERFECT. I hope they do these every year.”

―Patton Oswalt

“These are beautiful little books … [My family’s] been reading them at home, and we’ve actually put them away so we can re-read them on Christmas Eve.”

―Matt Galloway, CBC’s Metro Morning

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Art by Seth.


“For Seth, this is really a labour of love.”

―Peter Robb, Ottawa Citizen

“The two classic Christmas ghost stories that Seth and Biblioasis fashioned last year were a huge success for us. Nifty packaging, striking design―so Seth.”

―Ben McNally, Ben McNally Books, Toronto, ON

“Seth’s Christmas Ghost Stories series resurrects the legacy of fireside tales at Christmas with these beautifully illustrated editions.”

―John Toews, McNally Robinson Booksellers, Winnipeg, MB

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Illustration for Dicken’s ghost story “The Signalman” by Seth.


About the Artist

5E15B7DA-A881-457D-9CB9-D9B761554905“Seth” is the pen name of Gregory Gallant (born September 16, 1962), a Canadian cartoonist best known for his series Palookaville and his mock-autobiographical graphic novel It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken (1996).

Read more, here…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_(cartoonist)

Get the Books

http://biblioasis.com/product-category/fiction/seths-christmas-ghost-stories/