Friday, 23 November 2012

Ghost Stories - Are They In Decline?

Christmas is traditionally a time for sitting around a log fire and telling ghost stories. These days central heating has mostly replaced the log fire but what about the seasonal ghost story? Is that also going the same way? From my list of 3,763 Mutual Twitter Followers I could only find a handful prepared to tag their work as 'ghost stories'. Is this because the ghost story is seen as old hat or has this particular sub-genre been immersed in the ever growing Paranormal and Fantasy genre?
I'd be interested to know what you think.

I believe a well written ghost story can send shivers down the spine like nothing else. The imagination is probably the brain's most powerful attribute.The images that can be conjured in our mind by a creaking door or a flickering candle far surpass the most graphic description that can flow from a writers pen. That's why I find it so sad that when we think of great ghosts stories we invariable have to delve into the past.

M.R.James is one who immediately springs to mind as a master of the craft. As evidence of my claim you may wish to view Robert Powell's reading of 'The Mezzotint'.

If you are then here is Part 2.
If you enjoyed this story you might well want to read some of the stories that M.R. James himself found scary. They are:


1. "The Open Door" by Mrs Olliphant

2. "The Upper Berth" by F. Marion Crawford

3. "The Familiar" by Sheridan Le Fanu

4. "The Red Lodge" by H. R. Wakefield

5. "The White and the Black" by Erckmann-Chatrian

Two of my favourite ghost stories are Dickens 'A Christmas Carol' and W.W. Jacobs 'The Monkey's Paw'. If anyone has not read or seen an adaptation of Henry James 'The Turn of the Screw' where have you been? This is definitely a must read. More authors synonymous with ghost stories include many great names in the history of English literature:

Algernon Blackwood
Ambrose Bierce
Washington Irving
Shirley Jackson
Edgar Allan Poe
Edith Wharton

Where are the indie authors to take up this challenge?
Well, I've found a few.

No title
Read A Ghost Story This Christmas
Mardi Orlandi
A Secret Society An Abandoned Church And a Shadow Brought together by their mysterious gifts, seven teenagers have been stranded in no-time by their Secret Society. In an abandoned church they find a gathering of ghosted orphans, trapped for over one hundred years. To free these ghosts they will need to discover each of their identities, and to do that, this group of misfits will need to face the secrets that have haunted their own lives. It is the only way they will survive. And time is running out. A haunting fantasy, Secrets of Ghosts will intrigue those of us who like to seek amongst the shadows.
Peter Shapiro Peter David Shapiro was born in Montreal, Canada, and emigrated to the US after completing graduate school at Stanford. Before writing his debut suspense novel, Ghosts on the Red Line, he toiled as a management consultant serving clients around the world. Harry West, his protagonist in Ghosts on the Red Line is by amazing coincidence also a consultant. Harry West also plays the leading role in The Trail of Money, the prequel to Ghosts on the Red Line, a suspense novel about money laundering and murder in Hong Kong that was released in October 2012.
Suzy Turner Adopted sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane are polar opposites, but when the same strange 'tattoo' suddenly appears and winds its way up their bodies within days of each other, they soon realize there's more to their relationship than they could ever have imagined.
Sent off to London for two weeks of 'work experience', the Morgan Sisters soon find themselves being initiated into the ancient Praxos Foundation, one that protects the innocent while fighting evil, both human and supernatural.
At the same time, Lana Beth and Emma Jane must also investigate why the sweet but sometimes pesky ghost of Josiah Grimshaw just won't leave them alone.

Douglas R CobbJoin the world's best-known and most beloved terrier/pterodactyl, Lily, her fourteen-year-old "owner," Celeste Quince, and the rest of PAWS (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths), Fuzzy Wally MacGee (a Chinese Crested/rhino), Lucy Marmoset Higgins (a Great Dane/orangutan), and Prince Alphonse Saed (a miniature dachsund/Mountain Lion) as they attempt to foil the latest plans of the scarlet Macaw Frankie Sinister and the Scarlet SNURFLES. The claim they want to develop an alternative energy source, but when the ghosts of Arkansas start disappearing from their favorite haunts, it looks like it's a case for Lily, Celeste, and PAWS. How can they say "No," when the request comes from the "Bandit Queen," the ghost of Belle Starr? Read about their exciting and often humorous sleuthing adventures as they travel throughout Arkansas encountering ghosts (both good and diabolically evil) ! Also, be sure to read the first book in the exciting new series, Lily, Unleashed!
William MeikleBetween 1878 and 1879 the small town of Amherst in Nova Scotia sees of one of the strangest cases of poltergeist activity in history.

A local girl, Esther Cox becomes the focus of night terrors, rappings, unexplained fires and more.

What is the cause of this outbreak of psychic disturbances? No one knows. But Esther has a secret. And that secret might just destroy her.

Dr Ann NylandAmy Stuart is a journalist and blogger for a paranormal magazine.
She doesn't wear black leather; she can't kick butt; she doesn't have supernatural powers.
But she does have one skill: while wearing shapewear and with her reading glasses perched on her nose, she can out-research the best of them, especially when her caffeine levels are high.
When sent to England to write articles on Sir Francis Dashwood's Hellfire Club, Amy uncovers a link between the alchemist Nicholas Flamel, the nineteenth century occultists and the Hellfire Caves which endangers her own life. Can her research skills save the world from at least one dastardly killer?
The Dashwood Haunting is the first book in the Amy Stuart Occult Mystery series.
Ann SwannWhat do you do when a phantom needs your help?

A small plane crashes into Jase's backyard, and before long, he realizes the ghost of the pilot is haunting him. Jase needs help to rid himself of this supernatural visitor. When he sees his friend, Stevie, entering the town's legendary haunted house, he's certain she's the one who will have the answer to his problem. But will she help him? Would you?
Phil Rowlands For media mogul Clinton Ebenezer Scrooge III this Christmas Eve will be unlike any other. He is about to embark on the most terrifying journey of his life. It is a journey in which he must confront a painful past before he can begin to right terrible wrongs, before he can know redemption. A journey that leads to a place he left long ago, a place where hope abandoned a lost child forever. Tonight Scrooge will discover that the past cannot be erased by power but is he prepared to pay the price demanded for his salvation?

Manhattan Plays Host to Contemporary Urban Adaption of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’.
Adapted and published by Welsh writer, Philip Rowlands, ‘A Christmas Carol: Revisited’ is set to make its debut concert reading in New York this December. Thrusting Ebenezer Scrooge into modern day Manhattan, could Rowlands’ adaption open a new chapter for this timeless classic?
Tonypandy, Wales – Like all good things in life, the passage of times bring a need for change. Nobody believes this more than Welsh author Philip Rowlands, whose contemporary adaption of Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ is taking the literary world by storm. In fact, the story has been so popular that it is about to make its debut concert reading in New York City.
‘A Christmas Carol Revisited’ takes Dickens’s original story and drops it into to modern-day Manhattan. Ironically, the story’s concert reading will take place in the same city, being performed at The House of the Bar on December 19th
However, before making its impressive trip across the Atlantic, Rowlands’ adaptation enjoyed an abundance of home-grown success. The book was featured on BBC Radio Wales last November, being awarded a positive critique by radio host Roy Noble. As Rowlands explains, the positive feedback generated an urge to spread the word
“Earlier this year I decided to email the secretaries of Charles Dickens Societies around the world. The most exciting of all the responses was the one received from The Entertainment Committee of the New York City Bar Association. They requested permission to sponsor a Concert Reading of my book, which has now been planned for this December,” he says.
The performance is taking place on a one-off, non-commercial basis, with attendees being asked to voluntarily contribute something in a '5' denomination for a children's charity.
Rowlands is delighted that his book is getting the attention and acclaim many feel it deserves, something he hopes Dickens himself would approve of.
“I tried to consider what issues Dickens would have written about today, hence my decision to set the story in New York and not London. America has long since assumed the mantle once worn by the British Empire and has been at the heart of most of the major global events of the 21st Century,” he adds.
Attention has even been garnered by noted figures in the literary world, including writer Nigel Crowle. He commented, “I thought it was very, very, good indeed. Phil put a new twist to it. It was great. .He's got some great imagery. . .fantastic. . . I loved it.”
The Concert Reading of ‘A Christmas Carol: Revisited’ will take place at The House of the Bar on December 19th, Manhattan, New York City, between 18:00 – 20:00.
To mark the event and in support of the children's charities involved FREE copies of A Christmas Carol Revisited will be available on AMAZON this December.


  1. Absolutely LOVE a good ghost story! Thank you for this!

  2. Diane, I've just been recommended this link by Rick Tormola.
    You will probably find it interesting.

  3. I've never associated ghost stories with Christmas other than "A Christmas Carol". I know there is a mention in "most wonderful time of the year" song about ghost stories but I assumed that was a reference to ACC too. Where in the world do people tell ghost stories at Christmas?