Category Archives: Christmas ghost stories

Christmas River Ghost by Paula Cappa

Christmas River Ghost    by Paula Cappa

A Christmas Tale,  Thursday,  December 7, 2017

Merry Christmas to my readers and followers. I give you a free short story by yours truly (flash-fiction, 12-minute read). Snuggle in with a cup of hot spiced cider, a Christmas cookie, and the Christmas River Ghost.

 

 

They come—through the icy wind, between the naked trees, walking the bridge, by Eagle Hill River. On Christmas Eve, I come home to call the old time back. Holly wreaths, tea and sugar, apple cakes, a partridge in a pear tree. And a peacock hung dead with its speckled feathers in the pantry. ‘ Take the peacock, break its neck.’  That I remember with a shiver.

Tonight there is the good news of snow falling, the dark village sleeping beneath giant snow drops everywhere as I make my way through Main Street. The church steeple chimes do not sound yet, as it is not midnight. My mind calls up pixies and elves, the ringing of sleigh bells across the sky.

The house waits for me, shabby with the grief of those passed on. Spending Christmas alone has its virtue, my sister Annabella used to say, whose heart was ever open to charity’s claims and gift-giving. She would know about such solitude; she had spent many a Christmas alone. Too many times, my fault.

A Christmas Eve supper will sooth me: ham and apricots, a fresh biscuit, a glass of warm red wine with a cinnamon stick. The crabbed and wrinkled Scrooge breaks into my thoughts. Maybe I would read a few pages of Dickens. Remind myself of the miserly and cold-hearted man.

Snow pelts arrows at me as I stumble up the hill to the front path. I ring the doorbell just for fun, announcing my arrival to no one. Maybe Annabella will hear it. That is, if her spirit still lives here. Christmas ghosts are common, I’m told. Christmas miracles and all that—the arrival of the holy babe makes a holy night. If true, her presence would certainly reside in the kitchen especially. Her lilac perfume and the green ribbons in her light brown tresses every Christmas day. I can see her at the stove, blue eyes sparkling, her cheeks flushed with the holiday excitement. Home is such a magnet. In the front hall I nearly expect to hear her laughter just one more time.

The kitchen is the same as when I was a girl. Oak table by the frost-crazed window panes. That ancient curly-legged cast iron stove that spouted smoke at the ceiling. A white cupboard, open-shelved where pies would cool and tempt.

‘ Rose, take the peacock, break its neck, cut its throat.’

Again I shiver. “Time to make Christmas.” I warm the kitchen with Annabella’s boiling copper kettle and make a pot of orange tea in her china teapot trimmed in holly. I set my slice of ham, three apricots, and biscuit into the oven. The red wine steams with the cinnamon stick on the stovetop. The savory aroma is exactly as Annabella used to make it. In the library, I stack logs and kindling in the hearth as she did every Christmas when I was a child. Nothing like a roaring fire to set things right. For I must set things right tonight.

As I recline in the giant armchair, I decide against reading Dickens. No need for Scrooge now, nor the reminder of being arrogant and vain and stingy.  My tight-fisted hand at the grindstone. Is this really me? I’m done with all that. Music will serve. I find Annabella’s old Christmas records. Sleigh bells ring … are you listening … walking in a winter wonderland.

‘ We cut its throat. Flay him, skin him, feathers and skin altogether.’ I squeeze my eyes shut to blink away the raw images. Such exquisite turquoise- and purple-eyed quills. Peacocks are perfect everlasting beauties. I shoot my vision out the side window. Through the snow, I see the old ice house still stands by the bridge. And that marvelous sledding hill that Annabella and I rode, sisters hanging on to each other at every curve. Veering right, veering left, flying high. I never minded numb fingertips.

‘ Draw him down tight. Keep the neck whole. Mind the dripping blood now.’  My breath catches in my chest like an ice block. I down the wine and head to the kitchen to check the ham. I set out my Christmas supper on the oak table and sit down. Later on we’ll conspire … as we dream by the fire … walking in a winter wonderland. The biscuit is oozing with melted butter. The ham juicy and tender. I add a dash of salt and pepper.

‘ Brine the bird with salt, sugar, a palmful of peppercorns.’ Annabella’s words repeat in my head. She always basted the peacock with beaten eggs and honey.   ‘To keep the meat moist and tender.’ And she never believed the folklore that peacocks were bad luck or evil-eyed spirits. ‘ Pure as snow,’ she was certain.

‘ Let’s roast him high as if he is sitting up alive—just like a king.’

Every Christmas she would carry the bird on a silver platter on her shoulder to the table. The breast dripped with golden gravy. Annabella dressed it with the tail feathers struck out in a wild plumage of color. Before we ate it, as was usual from our childhood days, we made the peacock vow of immortality, an honor to the bird’s ‘ love and beauty forevermore.’

Forevermore, Annabella’s favorite word to shout out every Christmas.

“Annabella? Are you here with me tonight? Please be here with me tonight.”

Silence at Christmas time can be unnerving. I listen closely for a moment. “Annabella?”

Words float into my mind.  ‘ Rose, remember the flocks in the woods. Remember the dancing peacocks when you were a little girl.’

I gaze out to the vast woods and recall the giant birds’ studded tails, how they twirled their feathers into violet hues. I would practically swim in those exuberant colors, getting lost in them. What loud calls they made, like urgent church bells. Each peacock seemed to walk alone, though, on his own path. I always wondered why. Still, I loved the luster in their eyes as I greeted them good morning and good night each day.

‘ Remember, Rose. The bridge. Our favorite spot by the river.’

Maybe Christmas ghosts are real. If I could be granted just one moment with her. One moment to say just two words. Within minutes I bundle up, hat to boots, and slosh out. Leaving tracks behind me in the snow, uphill toward the sledding hill, I stop at the foot of the bridge. The river is churning slowly with ice patches. Through the snowfall, on the far side, I see a tangle of shadows, pointed shapes, hot-blue barrel chests, and streaming colorful threads. Dark is present. I am not afraid of the dark. I walk across the bridge and stop midway. Only the soft sounds of the snowflakes surround me. And then I see them. The flocks. Hundreds of all-seeing eyes stare straight at me. The woods are full of peacocks, their plumage unfurled and radiant, just like when I was a girl. My heart shivers.

One by one they turn away from me and walk through the trees on their separate paths. No Annabella appears. Nor will she. I know that now. There is no such thing as a ghost. No extra moments to be given. No words allowed to mend the past. Too many years now since the river swallowed Annabella that Christmas morning. Her canoe overturned; her body never found. I should have been here.

We live. We die. Only the peacock’s flesh does not decay when it dies, Annabella used to say. ‘ They live on for all of us, these forgiving souls of wisdom.’

A single peacock comes forward from the woods now. He mounts the bridge where I stand. With his beak lifted, he trails a dusty green aura behind him. Regal beyond words. True blue, he holds all the secrets in his vibrancy. I so envy him.

The snow stops. The peacock curls his soft feathers around me and I smell his meaty flesh. He flaps his wings and cries out as if laughing at life. He follows me back to the house, just like when I was a kid. Peacocks are such gifts. “Goodnight, lovely peacock. Goodnight.”

Christmas chimes ring out from the church steeple. Midnight, holy night. His wings flare, his tail swings generously, rocking the darkness. He perches himself up on the backyard fence rail, letting his feathers drip down like tresses.

Inside the house, I sit in the armchair by the window. Does he know I’m watching him? The shifting iridescence of his colors in the sudden moonlight saturate my thoughts. Alone on my own path, I drift off to sleep in the chair. Were it not for the church chimes ringing in the holy babe on Christmas morn, I might not have woken from such a deep sleep. Scrambling to my feet, I look out the window to the fence. Gone. His claw prints are tracks leading back to Eagle Hill River.

There, in the pure white snow he had shed his full plumage. A wild fan of green-rimmed, blue-eyed feathers are glistening in the Christmas sun—standing upright, alive like a king.

“Forevermore,” I say aloud. “Forevermore, Annabella.”

 

 

 

 

 

In medieval times, peacock was served for the Christmas feast. The bird would be skinned, roasted whole and then redressed in its feathers to look as if it was still alive. Its beak was gilded with gold leaf and a piece of cloth soaked in spirits was inserted into the beak and set alight. It would be served by the highest lady of the house.

 

 

By many accounts, it is well known that the iridescence in the peacocks’ colors represent the reality of the spiritual world rather than the imaginary world. In Christianity, peacocks are a common motif representing eternal life, the peacocks’ feathered eyes symbolizing the all-seeing eye of God. 

Fra Angelico’s Nativity with a peacock on the stable roof.

 

 

Friends, do leave me a comment. This is my newest short story and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Or, ask me a question, let me know if you would recommend this story to friends, or if you’re so inspired, write me a quick review. 

 

 

 

 

Christmas River Ghost. Copyright © 2017 by Paula Cappa.

All Rights Reserved. 

 

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Charles Dickens, Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Ghosts, Gothic fiction, Greylock, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, mysteries, Night Sea Journey, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural fiction, tales of terror, The Dazzling Darkness

Ghostly Chambers for Christmas

A Strange Christmas Game  by J.H. Riddell  (1863)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror     December 20, 2016

 

girl-reading-ghost-story

There’s nothing more satisfying than reading ghost stories at Christmastime. Even when we read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol over and over again, we are still delighted.  A Strange Christmas Game by J.H. Riddell is a mysterious little ghost story that you’ve probably not read at all, since Charlotte Riddell is one of those forgotten authors, but a popular one in her day.

bookmgres

 

 

68537928-spooky-forest-wallpapers

John Lester and his sister Clare inherit a gloomy old estate in Bedfordshire. Family history here is not a long one, except for the fact that former owners of the estate Jeremy Lester went missing on Christmas Eve and was never found for 41 years. Until John and Clare stay at the dark castle on Christmas Eve. Do you like to visit haunted chambers? Try this 30-minute read for an old fashioned Christmas Eve tale.

ca92e422293ec79a0bd97a1b9380becf

 

 

 

mrsriddell4a

 

 

J.H. Riddell (Charlotte Riddell) was born in England in 1832. Her spouse was Joseph Hadley Riddell. She wrote over 50 novels and short stories, and was well known as a prominent ghost story author. Charlotte was part owner and editor of the St. James’s Magazine, one of the most prestigious literary magazines of the 1860s.

 

 

 

 

imgres

 

Read this ghost story A Strange Christmas Game at Vault of Ghastly Tales.

 

Listen to the audio, narrated by Michael Whitehouse at Vault of Ghastly Tales via YouTube

 

xbsxacjdmz

 

Wishing you all a merry merry season! 

On a personal note, as I’ve been recovering from hip replacement surgery (doing well). I have been MIA with much of my writing and blog posting. Book sales for my supernatural novels Greylock, Night Sea Journey, and The Dazzling Darkness are climbing. Right now The Dazzling Darkness is #10 on Amazon Kindle Best Seller List for occult/supernatural genre since Dec. 6. Here’s hoping the novel will finish out the year as a Kindle Best Seller.

Hope to be back at full activity very soon to work on my next novel and continue to discover and post more supernatural mystery short stories  by the famous authors we love to read.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 180 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

The Kill Zone

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

6 Comments

Filed under Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, ghost stories, horror blogs, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

A Boy Named Claus: The Adventure

 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus  by L. Frank Baum  (1902)

Tuesday’s Holiday Tale, December 22, 2015

 

thumb_christmas_Bells_bell_icnI’m ringing the holiday bells early this year. Snuggle up. Grab the popcorn, mug of hot spiced cider, and imagine the snow sprinkling down soft and slow. Outside your window, the green hills shine white.  All is silent for this night …

 

Of all the Christmas classics you’ve read over the years, as a child or a teen, or to your children, L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is probably one you could not forget.  Some of us missed reading this story in our childhood. If, like me, you missed this magical adventure, today you can travel into the exciting world of a boy named Claus.

Xmasimgres

 

We are in the enchanted Forest of Burzee, a mighty forest with queer gnarled trees, mosses, and sunlit meadows. There is a Master Woodsman of the World here, named Ak.  Ak is all wise, sees everything, and lives in a castle in Burzee with his queen.

WoodsmanIMG_0027

[Ak, Master of the World in the Forest of Burzee.]

The inhabitants of the forest are all immortals: fairies, Knooks, Ryls, and Nymphs. One very special wood nymph is Necile.  One day she finds a mortal baby starving and abandoned in the woods. Nearby is a lioness, intent on devouring the infant … until Ak commands the lioness Shiegra to give her milk to the infant.

Necile cannot resist the beautiful babe and takes him to the castle and raises him as her son. She names him Claus. The boy grows up and then moves to the Laughing Valley to live among the sweet-natured Knooks—creatures who speak no words.

But then the wicked creatures, the Awgwas, descend.

AgwasIMG_0029

[The Awgwas]

There’s a war. Claus is attacked. Who will save this young man from the evil forest creatures? Will he die? He’s mortal so surely he will. Ak to the rescue! Saved from evil powers, Claus becomes known as generous and kind man in the Laughing Valley, living alone with his cat Blinkie and whittling toys for the children he finds in the  woods and valleys.

SAntalostchildIMG_0031

[Claus carrying a lost child back to the mother.]

Do you know the first toy that Claus ever made? Do you know how and why he made the first dolly? Who did he fashion it after? We all know the rest of this Christmas Eve story, Claus flying over rooftops and slipping down chimneys to bestow toys upon beloved children. But Claus’ trusty reindeer were not Dasher and Dancer. Come meet Flossie and Glossie, Racer and Pacer, Reckless and Speckless, Fearless and Peerless, and Ready and Steady.

reindeerIMG_0055

 

What is the destiny of such a good mortal man with a heart as big as the world? Old age and death? What can save him now so Claus can continue to work his magic for children?

 

DeathSantaIMG_0037

[Grim Reaper at Claus’ bedside]

 

Honor your imagination this holiday season and experience the power. Come back to your own childhood story time. Feel the joy and light! And the love in this dreamy Christmas adventure.

thumb_christmas_Bells_bell_icn

The illustrated edition featured here is out of print (although you can buy it on AbeBooks.com), published by Henry Holt and Company in 2003. The illustrations are by the renowned Michael Hague (The Wizard of Oz and The Velveteen Rabbit.) All images here are photographed from the book for commentary and review purposes only.

You can read the story, free online at PageByPageBooks.com.

 

Red_Christmas_candles_fire

 

Listen to the audio by Librivox.org.

Or, you can likely find this illustrated edition in your library, as I did. Try WorldCat.org to locate a library near you. ISBN 0805038221 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, Illustrated by Michael Hague. 2003.

 

 

 

For more Christmas short stories (ghostly ones!) this blog has several you might also enjoy.

Click the title for a free read.

The Water Ghost by John Kendricks Bangs

The Festival by Lovecraft for Christmas

The Ghost of Dr. Harris by Nathaniel Hawthorne for Christmas Eve

The Legend of the Fir Tree, A Christmas story

Markeim by Robert Louis Stevenson, a Devil of a Christmas Murder

Wishing you all happy holidays

and happy reading!

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vtpipkVWZiQ“>

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, literature, short stories, short story blogs

Christmas Eve’s Phantom

Between the Lights  by E.F. Benson  (1912)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 15, 2015

A_Christmas_carol_(1900)_(14756698076)

 

Christmas ghost stories are a worldwide tradition. This story by E.F. Benson takes place on December 24, Christmas Eve. A story within a story, if you will, and striking a dark tone.  Between the Lights is perfect for a read aloud, guests sitting round the hearth, glasses of nog in hands, fire spitting, candlelight throwing shadows against the dark windows.

Dicken's_works_(1890)_(14586509987)

 

Outside, wind drives the snow and only the sounds of the scurry of snowflakes and the voice of our narrator prevail. He reports about another Christmas Eve’s event at this same house as he sat in his chair.

“It was nearly dark, but a little light came in from the door opposite to me, which seemed to lead into a passage that communicated with the exterior of the place …  there now burned a dim firelight, and my eyes were drawn there. Shapes were gathered round it; what they were I could not at first see.”

CELEBRATION_OF_A_CHRISTMAS_FIRE

But our narrator does see what materializes between the lights and it’s not just shadows or faded light. “It haunted me; for months, I think, it was never quite out of my mind, but lingered somewhere in the dusk of consciousness …”

The_supreme_sacrifice_and_other_poems_in_time_of_war_(1919)_(14782939675)

 

 What does he see between the lights that Christmas Eve night? What happens to the dusk of his consciousness in the clear light of day? Phantom of the mind … or real?

mza_1476584316049453308.600x600-75

Read Between the Lights at Gutenberg.net.au (Australia). Scroll to the Table of Contents and select the title (4th story).

Listen to the Podcast. No. 11 on the itunes list at Corvidae.co.UK. Narrated by Richard Crowest.

Edward Frederic Benson (known as Fred) was an English author of over 50 novels and various collections of short stories. He is famous for his scandalous novel Dodo in 1893 and Mapp and Lucia (Lucia series, 1920s), which explore Edwardian society (not quite Downton Abbey but certainly full of English snobbery, small town rivalry, and British high society). He has had a cult following for decades because of the Lucia series. Many of his readers remember him for his ghost stories. More info on this author  and his novels at the EF Benson Society.

194px-E_F_Benson

 

[Images from WikiCommons.]

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

4 Comments

Filed under Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, ghost stories, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural

Beyond Victorian Vampirism

Good Lady Ducayne   by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1896)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    February 9, 2015    Classic Tales from Women In Horror 

imgres

This is the second week of celebrating Women in Horror Month. Are you ready to explore the short stories of Mary Elizabeth Braddon?

 

They were dreamers—and they dreamt themselves into the cemetery.

Young and healthy Bella Rolleston takes a job as a companion with Old Lady Ducayne. Bella quickly learns that Ducayne’s previous two companions became ill and died while caring for her. Mosquito bites? Or something more sinister? When Bella begins to show the same symptoms, dreams of whirring of wheels, sinking into an abyss, and struggling to regain consciousness, she is too innocent to see the truth of her employer and the local physician Dr. Parravicini.

6a00d8341c464853ef01901c067109970b

What is curious in this story is how the author Mary Elizabeth Braddon uses science and medicine instead of the supernatural to build a chilling story of suspense. Aging and vanity vs. youth and beauty are the hallmarks of this story not to mention poverty vs. money. The subtext runs a lovely quiet horror tone that is smoothly written by a master writer.

300px-Mary_Elizabeth_Maxwell_(née_Braddon)_by_William_Powell_Frith

Mary-Elizabeth-Braddon-horse-228x300Mary Elizabeth Braddon, born in London in 1835, wrote some ninety books, short stories, essays, and plays and was revered for her ‘sensation novels.’ She was rated alongside Wilkie Collins and admired by Charles Dickens and Henry James. Lady Audley’s Secret was her most popular novel. She introduced one of the first female detectives Eleanor Vane in Eleanor’s Victory (1863) and then again in 1864 created sleuth Margaret Wilmot in Henry Dunbar. At Chrighton Abbey, Dead Love Has Chains, and The Doctor’s Wife are worthy of rediscovery.

 

 

theatre-208x300

 

You can read Good Lady Ducayne online at Gutenberg.net.au. Scroll down to the title.

Listen to audio versions of Braddon’s short stories (Sorry, Lady Ducayne is not among them but other short stories here are quite good) at Librivox.org Library.

 

I can highly recommend Braddon’s At Chrighton Abbey. This is Downton Abbey with a ghost. Sarah Chrighton returns to her homestead Chrighton Abbey, to the wintery “fairy forests and snow wreathed trees.” The abbey  is a stately grey stone, ivy- and moss-covered estate. Carriage rides, drawing room firesides,  hunts and hounds, a servant’s ball, and of course the Butler Truefold and Housekeeper  Mrs. Marjurum make this short story a snuggle-up read. Not to mention the family curse coupled with shadowy presences that only Sarah can see. I found this story to be one of Braddon’s most gracefully written ghost stories ever. Read it here at Gutenberg.net.au.

 

 

promoted-media_54cd8750654fa

 

http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/

 Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/WomenInHorrorMonth

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas ghost stories, fiction, ghost stories, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, quiet horror, short stories, soft horror, supernatural, tales of terror, vampires, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

A Ghost Story for Christmas: M.R. James

The Tractate Middoth   by M.R. James (1911)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   December 16, 2014

images

 

Shadows, cobwebs, spiders. If ghosts have any presence in our world, these images will conjure up a few shivers. Every Christmas Monty James, as his fans know him (Montague Rhodes James), presented a new ghost story for the holiday at King’s College in Cambridge. James is probably the master of craft when it comes to ghost stories. He beguiled his readers with his scholarly expertise of medieval manuscripts and his clear understanding of fear.

images-1Antiquarian libraries are always mysterious and this story opens with Mr. John Eldred—who wears Piccadilly whiskers—inquiring in a library for a book titled The Tractate Middoth (The Talumud). Our main character is Mr. Garrett, an assistant librarian, who attempts to locate this book for Eldred. Garrett is a book lover and in his search for this book labeled 11334 (note the number) he encounters a frightening experience. So frightening that it causes him to become ill. But that doesn’t stop Garrett.

 

 

images-2

Noticing an odd smell of dust in the library stacks, Garrett does not find the book at first but he does find something else among the stacks: “ … His hat was on the table, and he had a bald head. I waited a second or two looking at him rather particularly. I tell you, he had a very nasty bald head. It looked to me dry, and it looked dusty, and the streaks of hair across it were much less like hair than cobwebs…”

 

imgres

 

A death, a will, a puzzle, family greed, a ghost, and a little romance for Mr. Garrett, this tale is perfect for a Christmas ghost story.

Read The Tractate Middoth it at Ebooks.Agelaide.edu.

Listen to the Librivox recording (scroll down to The Tractate Middoth)

 

 

 

 

images-3

 

Watch the BBC adaptation of The Tractate Middoth on Youtube, produced by Mark Gatiss.  This 36-minute film is well done!

Listen to A Podcast to the Curious, 2-hour discussion (with excerpts) of The Tractate Middoth (scroll down to stream button).

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

6 Comments

Filed under Christmas ghost stories, fiction, ghost stories, horror, horror blogs, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror

Hawthorne for Christmas: A True Ghost Story

The Ghost of Dr. Harris   by Nathaniel Hawthorne  (1850s)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   December 9, 2014

images

 

Ghost stories for Christmas are as traditional as mistletoe and roast turkey. This ghost story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Ghost of Dr. Harris, is reportedly not fiction and his original handwritten copy is not dated. The story was published as one of his “sketches” (scenes from daily life); this genre was in the fashion of the British essay. If you know anything about Hawthorne, you know he had fascination with the supernatural. The thumbnail backstory is the curse on the Hawthornes. Nathaniel’s great-great grandfather Colonel John Hathorne (different spelling) condemned over 100 women to death as witches in Salem, Massachusetts. He was famous for riding out to Gallows Hill to watch the hangings. One of the witches, before her death, put a curse on the Hawthorne family. Nathaniel is said to have carried the guilt of this family curse his whole life. Did it influence his writing? Certainly. Did that make him susceptible to believing in ghosts? Seems so.

lib-east22

 

During Hawthorne’s years in Boston, he frequented the Boston Atheneaum, a reading room, on Pearl Street. It is here that Nathaniel encounters his first ghost. He writes about this experience in Tales & Sketches, The complete writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1856). 

images-1I love Hawthorne’s clarity of voice and how real this ghost is presented while still creating a dreamy atmosphere. What is more impressive is that it was not just a fleeting ghostly moment. There is a subtext of communication here that reaches deep.

Hawthorne does not express much fear in this story, but it leaves a lasting impression. What a perfect ghostly tale to read while sitting by a fire, Christmas tree, with a cup o’ hot spiced cider. I can tell you that the prose works magnificently as a read aloud.

 

 

455_thaddeus_mason_harris_

Dr. Thaddeus Mason Harris

/

Read The Ghost of Dr. Harris as a PDF at Anibalan Files.wordpress.com

Hawthorn HEADis

Or, you can read this published account in the original Tales & Sketches,  The complete writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1856) In Google Books page 244.

 

//

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

3 Comments

Filed under Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, ghost stories, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror