Christmas used to be a time for telling ghost stories?
There are a lot of traditions associated with Christmas. we have the tree and the nativity scene, mistletoe and holly. But there’s another tradition that goes back centuries; telling ghost stories around the fireplace on Christmas eve.
Ghost stories have a long history in england, dating back to medieval times. In the Middle ages, people spent a lot of time indoors, probably because of wolves… those things are terrifying. So, they would gather around their fireplaces and tell each other scary stories called “winter tales”.
One of the most famous Christmas ghost stories comes from Germany. In the 16th century, hans Sachs wrote a poem called “The Drummer”. The poem tells the story of a drummer boy who is murdered by his Christmas gift-giving master when he refuses to join in singing carols. The boy’s spirit haunts his murderer each year during Christmas until his master repents and asks God for forgiveness.
Dickens took the tradition one step further in 1843 when he wrote A Christmas Carol. The story of ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption is still a classic today. It’s been adapted for film several times, and other writers have used it as inspiration for their own stories.
As a fan of horror, winter holds a special place. It’s a perfect opportunity for isolation, making it a perfect opportunity for horror.
Personally, I’m striving to keep the darker side of Christmas alive. Christmas day can be all about Jesus and happiness, or commercialism and happiness, depending on which brand you subscribe to. But, Christmas eve needs to represent the fear; the history. In a world of computers and space and medical advancements, there’s something cathartic about going back to your roots and fearing the ghosts and demons in the darkness for a couple nights a year.
This year we close the issue with “The Ritual”. The Ritual is a short story written by american horror writer h. P. Lovecraft in 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales magazine.
The story is a first-person narrative of a narrator’s experience in Kingsport, Massachusetts as he comes to the town seeking his relatives, and instead finds a Latin translation of the necronomicon, which contains a passage about an ancient yule-rite.