Books Magazine

Winter Ghosts

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
It may be the fault of that famously flimsy veil between the worlds of the living and the dead which is reputed to exist over Hallowe'en. From that point on, as temperatures drop and the brittle winter sunlight crumbles to ruins by mid-afternoon, so the ghosts gather in increasing numbers--if only in the stories we read and the films we watch.
Tales of spectral visitors have long been associated with the wintertime. "Scary ghost stories" even get a mention in Andy Williams' classic Christmas hit (linked here)It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, which, unless you're a latecomer to the blog and reading this in July, you may have heard a time or several recently.
When we think of winter ghost stories, we may think first of 'A Christmas Carol', that tale of the haunting of a rejected and rejecting man, which first appeared in 1843. Or perhaps of the stories of M.R. James, which followed almost ninety years thereafter and which the author read at Christmastime to his students at Cambridge.
However, winter ghosts have made their presence felt long before and long since, from the three sons of the (linked) Wife of Usher's Well, who paid their mother a visit around Martinmas (11th November), to the residents of 'The Shining's' snowbound Overlook Hotel.
What is it about a season in which we huddle together for warmth, indulge in the comforts of rich food and remind ourselves of the importance of peace and good will that draws the ghosts out from the shadowy corners of our homes and our minds?

Winter Ghosts

Banquo's Ghost


The brighter the lights and the warmer the hearth, the darker and colder those shadowy corners seem. One way to consider a ghost is as a manifestation of something that has been rejected, neglected or ignored for too long and is now compelled or determined to be acknowledged by the world. That something could be a person--perhaps, as in many classic ghost stories, a departed person whose wishes have been over-ridden by their living relatives. Or the ghost might be nothing more or less than a truth that is being ignored. It might even represent a living person who is in some way unwelcome or outcast, the proverbial (linked) ghost at the feast. In that sense, unhappy Mr Scrooge had already much in common with his chain-rattling visitor; despite his nephew's well-meant invitation, no-one truly relished the prospect of the miser's company at their Christmas table.
Merry Christmas, Alison Raouf Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook

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