Tag Archives: Christmas

A Ghost for Christmas

Thurlow’s Christmas Story   by John Kendrick Bangs (1894 Harper’s Weekly)

Wednesday’s Christmas Story  December 5, 2018

 

It’s nearly Christmas and a lovely time for ghost stories. Let’s imagine you are a writer. Or maybe, like me, you are a writer of fiction and a lover of ghost stories. Here is a story about a writer haunted by a ghostly vision. At the same time this ghost arrives, our writer is struggling to invent an adventure “the usual ghostly tale with a dash of the Christmas flavor” for his editor to publish for the Christmas  edition, The Idler. What John Kendrick Bangs does here in Thurlow’s Christmas Story is write a letter  based on a supernatural experience. He sends this letter to his editor Mr. George Currier at The Idler.

One night, after producing only blank pages at his desk … ‘On my way up to bed shortly after midnight, having been neither smoking nor drinking, I saw confronting me upon the stairs, with the moonlight streaming through the windows back of me, lighting up its face, a figure in which I recognized my very self in every form and feature.’

So, what happens when we meet a ghost in our own image? Some consider this a comic ghost story. You be the judge.

 

 

I can say that when writing—when inside that mysterious creative process of storytelling—some writers do experience supernatural activity, and I think author John Kendrick Bangs was one of them. Bangs is known as an American satirist, author of short stories, novels, poems, and serial fiction (Harper’s Weekly). He is a clever writer in supernatural fiction, and creator of modern Bangsian fantasy (fantasy set in the afterlife).

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Read the Christmas short story PDF https://loa-shared.s3.amazonaws.com/static/pdf/Bangs_Thurlow.pdf

Listen to the 30-minute audio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=805riJbo7UY

 

 

“May the Christmastide bear you to the highest level of your desires, and the ebbing year leave you stranded upon the Golden Shores of Peace, Prosperity and Happiness.”   J.K. Banks

 

Click to read other Christmas stories posted here at Reading Fiction Blog:

 

 Christmas River Ghost by Paula Cappa  2017

A Strange Christmas Game  by J.H. Riddell   2016 

A Boy Named Claus: The Adventure. Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum  2015

 

 

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Ghoultide Greetings! Christmas Ghost Stories

The Snow by Hugh Walpole

and

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 http://moonlightstories.magick7.com/1/1680.htm

[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.

GoblinSExtonDickens24

Read it at Gutenberg.org (Chapter 29 in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers):
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/580/580-h/580-h.htm#link2HCH0029

Also here at http://www.readbookonline.net/read/156/4515/

 

Merry, merry!

 

 

 

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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