The Spookiest Ghost Stories From All 50 States | Mental Floss

Posted by 2018 article


T he extraordinarily prolific EF Benson is chiefly remembered for his archly amusing Mapp and Lucia novels, but before them he turned his hand to horror stories, casting a chill upon the long Edwardian summer. I remember getting hold of a collection when I was about 13, luridly packaged under the title The Horror Horn ; I was just old enough to snigger a little at the title (it refers actually to a Swiss mountain) and young enough to be disturbed by them.

But these tales wouldn’t survive if they hadn’t been constructed well, and one of the ways Benson achieves his effects is to tap into the natural world as deftly as he does the supernatural. The story “Spinach” is a comedy about spiritualism; and the power of “And No Bird Sings” resides in the way it undermines that happiness of summer. “It was one of those golden days which every now and again leak out of paradise and drip to earth,” he writes; all the more effectively to conjure up the monsters of hell.

• Ghost Stories is published by Vintage. To order a copy for £6.55 (RRP £7.99) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

T he extraordinarily prolific EF Benson is chiefly remembered for his archly amusing Mapp and Lucia novels, but before them he turned his hand to horror stories, casting a chill upon the long Edwardian summer. I remember getting hold of a collection when I was about 13, luridly packaged under the title The Horror Horn ; I was just old enough to snigger a little at the title (it refers actually to a Swiss mountain) and young enough to be disturbed by them.

But these tales wouldn’t survive if they hadn’t been constructed well, and one of the ways Benson achieves his effects is to tap into the natural world as deftly as he does the supernatural. The story “Spinach” is a comedy about spiritualism; and the power of “And No Bird Sings” resides in the way it undermines that happiness of summer. “It was one of those golden days which every now and again leak out of paradise and drip to earth,” he writes; all the more effectively to conjure up the monsters of hell.

• Ghost Stories is published by Vintage. To order a copy for £6.55 (RRP £7.99) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. But did you know that it also used to be one of the spookiest? It’s true! In fact, telling ghost stories around the holidays is a tradition that’s been around for a long time, but it’s become less common over the last century. Let's look at how this spooky tradition came about:

The burning of the Yule log is also a Yule holiday tradition that has passed down and incorporated into today's holidays. (Photo by roccocell on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND )

Nobody is quite sure when ghost stories first became associated with Christmastime. Some people actually believe the tradition is older than Christmas itself! Before Christmas was a holiday, the Germanic people of Europe celebrated a festival called Yule, which came at the end of the year.
 

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T he extraordinarily prolific EF Benson is chiefly remembered for his archly amusing Mapp and Lucia novels, but before them he turned his hand to horror stories, casting a chill upon the long Edwardian summer. I remember getting hold of a collection when I was about 13, luridly packaged under the title The Horror Horn ; I was just old enough to snigger a little at the title (it refers actually to a Swiss mountain) and young enough to be disturbed by them.

But these tales wouldn’t survive if they hadn’t been constructed well, and one of the ways Benson achieves his effects is to tap into the natural world as deftly as he does the supernatural. The story “Spinach” is a comedy about spiritualism; and the power of “And No Bird Sings” resides in the way it undermines that happiness of summer. “It was one of those golden days which every now and again leak out of paradise and drip to earth,” he writes; all the more effectively to conjure up the monsters of hell.

• Ghost Stories is published by Vintage. To order a copy for £6.55 (RRP £7.99) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. But did you know that it also used to be one of the spookiest? It’s true! In fact, telling ghost stories around the holidays is a tradition that’s been around for a long time, but it’s become less common over the last century. Let's look at how this spooky tradition came about:

The burning of the Yule log is also a Yule holiday tradition that has passed down and incorporated into today's holidays. (Photo by roccocell on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND )

Nobody is quite sure when ghost stories first became associated with Christmastime. Some people actually believe the tradition is older than Christmas itself! Before Christmas was a holiday, the Germanic people of Europe celebrated a festival called Yule, which came at the end of the year.
 



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