Christmas, ’Tis the Season for Scary Stories
The Spectral Tales We Tell Respond to Our Deepest Desires—Especially on a Long, Dark Winter’s Night
Popularized by Charles Dickens in his 1843 A Christmas Carol, as well as in the yuletide editions of his literary magazine, All the Year Round, ghost stories were regular Christmas fare for the Victorians. “Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters,” writes Jerome K. Jerome in the introduction to Told After Supper, his 1891 anthology of Christmas ghost stories.
In our contemporary moment, Halloween has supplanted Christmas in the popular imagination as the time of year best suited for tales of terror. …