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).
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
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