View Full Version : Was it ever traditional to tell ghost stories at Christmas?
11-26-2005, 07:10 PM
In the song "The Most Wonderful Time Of the Year" there is a line that goes:
There'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories
of Christmases long long ago
Did we ever tell ghost stories at Christmas? Maybe the writer was referring to Dicken's work?
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
11-26-2005, 07:13 PM
I believe it was, and perhaps still is, a UK custom.
11-26-2005, 07:18 PM
It's a venerable British tradition, predating Dickens (who was just adding to the list).
11-27-2005, 03:50 AM
Many people point to the cycle of stories American author Washington Irving wrote of Christmas at the English manor "Bracebridge Hall" in his book The Sketch Book (1820) as playing a major part in reviving old Christmas customs. Certainly Dickens credited Irving as an inspiration for his own A Christmas Carol.
In the chapter The Christmas Dinner (http://www.online-literature.com/irving/geoffrey_crayon/23/), the company gathers after dinner:When I returned to the drawing-room I found the company seated round the fire listening to the parson, who was deeply ensconced in a high-backed oaken chair, the work of some cunning artificer of yore, which had been brought from the library for his particular accommodation. From this venerable piece of furniture, with which his shadowy figure and dark weazen face so admirably accorded, he was dealing out strange accounts of the popular superstitions and legends of the surrounding country, with which he had become acquainted in the course of his antiquarian researches. I am half inclined to think that the old gentleman was himself somewhat tinctured with superstition, as men are very apt to be who live a recluse and studious life in a sequestered part of the country and pore over black-letter tracts, so often filled with the marvelous and supernatural.
11-27-2005, 04:01 AM
And of course there was the tale of Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin.
Technically, they were Jewish, though.
11-27-2005, 04:12 AM
What are you talking about?
11-27-2005, 04:25 AM
What are you talking about?
Tomlin and Asner were the title characters in one of the funniest-ever episodes of The X-Files, named "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas", December 1998. After exposing Mulder and Scully to a lot of scary mind-bending stuff, there's a scene in which Scully (in a somewhat frazzled state) encounters Tomlin's Lydia:
Lydia: You look like you saw a ghost. There are ghosts in this house, you know.
Scully: Who are you?
Lydia: I live here, thank you very much.
Scully: Where's my partner?
Lydia: Why are you pointing that gun?
Scully: There were corpses right there underneath the floor!
Lydia: I think maybe the ghosts have been playing tricks on you.
Scully: I don't believe in ghosts.
Lydia: Then what are you doing here?
Scully: It's my partner.
Lydia: He believes in ghosts?
Lydia: Oh, you poor child. You must have an awful small life. Spending your Christmas Eve with him... Running around chasing things you don't even believe in.
Scully: Don't come any closer.
Lydia: I can see it in your face... The fear... The conflicted yearnings... A subconscious desire to find fulfilment through another. Intimacy through co-dependency.
Lydia: Maybe you repress the truth about why you're really here pretending it's out of duty or loyalty — unable to admit your dirty little secret. Your only joy in life is proving him wrong.
Scully: You don't know me. And you don't live here. This isn't your house.
Lydia: You wouldn't think so, the way I'm being treated.
Scully: Well, then why is all the furniture covered?
Lydia: We're having the house painted.
Scully: Well then where's your Christmas tree?!
Lydia: We're Jewish. Boo.
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