A Christmas tradition that should be revived: the telling of ghost stories

The Deacon's Bench | 11/20/2018 | Staff
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We’re heading into the “most wonderful time of the year” when, a popular song tells us, “there will be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long long ago…” But aside from the greatest haunted tale of all, by Mr. Dickens, how many other “scary ghost stories” do we tell during the holidays? Not many.

But according to this intriguing piece by Colin Dickey in Smithsonian Magazine, that wasn’t always the case:

Ghost - Stories - Winter - Tradition - Folk

Telling ghost stories during winter is a hallowed tradition, a folk custom stretches back centuries, when families would wile away the winter nights with tales of spooks and monsters. “A sad tale’s best for winter,” Mamillius proclaims in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: “I have one. Of sprites and goblins.” And the titular Jew of Malta in Christopher Marlowe’s play at one point muses, “Now I remember those old women’s words, Who in my wealth would tell me winter’s tales, And speak of spirits and ghosts by night.”

Based in folklore and the supernatural, it was a tradition the Puritans frowned on, so it never gained much traction in America.

Halloween - Holiday - Ghost - Stories - Dickey

Somehow, Halloween ended up becoming the holiday for ghost stories. Dickey argues it’s time to rethink this:

For decades, these two celebrations of the oncoming winter bookended a time when ghosts were in the air, and we kept...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Deacon's Bench
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