Page Turner: Spirits of the Season

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you had a truly special Christmas this year, my family and I sure did. It was lovely to see folk again after the chaos that has been 2021.

Spirits of the Season: Christmas Hauntings is a compilation of several spooky ghost stories set during Christmas from the 1860s to the 1940s. It is part of the Tales of the Weird collection from The British Library. Each tale takes a different twist on the ghost story. From bumping into an old acquaintance on the train, only to find out he is long since dead, to the Devil himself partaking in the village panto.

I relished the variety of ghost stories this book had to offer. No two were the same, so if you don’t like one, there is sure to be another you will. Admittedly this is one of the perks of short story collections, and why I think they are go-to reading material if you don’t know what to read and made for pretty good gifts.

Even after reading all fourteen short stories, I think my favourite is still The Christmas Shadrach by Frank R. Stockton. A gentleman is between a rock and a hard place when he wishes to court Janet, but, being a somewhat decent bloke, doesn’t want to break the heart of his long time friend Mildred. So when he finds an unusual paperweight with an even stranger property, he thinks he might have a way out. However, things don’t exactly go to plan. It’s a rather charming yet chilling tale. 

While I do like to read older books, sometimes there are some questionable moments or elements that show their age. Some old fashioned ideas linger on the pages which are rather cringe-worthy to any decent person these days. That is to be expected though, show me one book from the 1800s with no problematic elements.

Also, this book is extremely British. The stories tend to be about British customs and holidays celebrations, such as pantos. I don’t think they are as popular in other places as they are here. Some of the old turns of phrase might sound off to you. I can’t see how they could put you off, but please keep that in mind. Unless you are used to reading Agatha Christie, it might through you for a loop.

Festive yet frighting, a perfect winter chiller. I know Christmas Day has been and gone, but the festive season hasn’t ended yet. So If you are looking for a lighter read with some frights, this might be the novel for you.

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