Ghoultide Greetings! Christmas Ghost Stories

The Snow by Hugh Walpole


The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton by Charles Dickens

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, December 18, 2012

Is it Christmas yet? Not quite, but here’s a holiday story to get you in the merry mood for those of us who love Christmas ghosts.

It’s Christmas Eve in The Snow by Hugh Walpole (bestselling author of 1930s but one of those forgotten authors fairly neglected these days). Walpole published five volumes of short stories and 36 novels and was thought of as an equal to Henry James. Virginia Woolf praised his gifts for telling details. The Snow is no jolly Christmas tale with family gathering round for festivities; this story is deeply haunting, leaving the reader in a wintry cold that will surely chill your holiday spirits.

In the dusk of the passage of a Cathedral, Mrs. Ryder, a rather sweet woman, sees an image, ‘…old-fashioned grey cloak, the untidy grey hair and the sharp outline of the pale cheek and pointed chin.’ Mrs. Ryder can’t quite decide if this sinister woman is from her imagination, her increasing madness, or in fact truly real with the ‘… sweep of the grey dress, falling in folds to the ground, the flash of a gold ring on the white hand.’

Whose white hand is this?

The terror she feels is certainly real. A voice faintly comes to her ears: “I warned you. This is for the last time. . . .”

Shivering with this threat, Mrs. Ryder flees to her home and stands in her drawing-room at the window, ghostly snow falling over the great hulk of the Cathedral next door. One gets the dreadful feeling of confinement, a heavy white lid coming down.

When we meet Mr. Ryder, we find him a rather cross, brooding husband who admits to their failed marriage and speaks of a separation. He likes to call that Cathedral next door a flying ship. But to Mrs. Ryder the Cathedral is more like ‘a crouching beast licking its lips over the miserable sinners that it was forever devouring.’

Can fear really whisper in your ear? Mrs. Ryder flees to the Cathedral on Christmas Eve in the thick muffling snow and discovers … the ghost.

You can experience this sinister little Christmas treat at

[This link was functioning originally but of late had some problems. If you can’t access the story here, you can find it in the book The Best Supernatural Stories of Hugh Walpole, or A Century of Creepy Stories by Hugh Walpole, probably at your local library or online purchases.]

The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton by Charles Dickens

Gabriel Grub is a gravedigger, walking at twilight with his lantern, spade, and wicker bottle. He treads the hard crisp snow inside the graveyard on Christmas Eve. A wild frozen voice speaks.


Read it at (Chapter 29 in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers):

Also here at


Merry, merry!




Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.


Filed under Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, ghouls, horror, mysteries, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror

3 responses to “Ghoultide Greetings! Christmas Ghost Stories

  1. To the Readers here: don’t miss A Devil of a Christmas Murder, “Markheim” by Robert Louis Stevenson posted on December 17, 2013, here at Tales of Terror for another classic Christmas story.


  2. Bailey, Lois

    I don’t get this. Why are you sending this around if it’s not your work

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Because,Lois, these old stories are classics that still haunt. This fiction blog has become a horror/mystery blog (Tales of Terror) about the dead short story authors that are forgotten and neglected by today’s readers. Reading the 19th-century masters can still give us exciting reads and juicy escapes into historical days. I find the prose, characters, descriptions, and plots to be a creative boost. So in my personal efforts to read, in my professional efforts to write and create fiction, I look to the spirits of the dead authors to inspire me. That’s a bit spooky, isn’t it? I can’t resist! I hope my readers of this blog are having fun with it too. Which dead author will haunt me next week? Stop by on Tuesday to find out.



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