via The State:
… Read the rest
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND — A few years ago, the “Downton Abbey” Christmas special featured a ouija board that communicated a message from a dead character. American reviewers were extremely puzzled by this incursion of the supernatural, while British reviewers found it unexceptional. Indeed, few bothered even to mention it. Why?
The answer lies with the long tradition of Christmas ghost stories, the most famous of which is probably Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” (subtitled “Being a Ghost Story of Christmas”). Dickens was a strong supporter of the Christmas ghost story, reminiscing in his 1850 essay “A Christmas Tree” about childhood Christmases spent “telling Winter Stories – Ghost Stories, or more shame for us – round the Christmas fire.” Dickens also encouraged other writers to produce Christmas ghost stories for the annual festive editions of his magazines Household Words and All the Year Round.