For centuries, the telling of ghost stories was an activity associated with the Twelve Days of Christmas - the period between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night (Epiphany), when households would feast through the long winter nights and entertain one another with chilling tales. The tradition survived into more recent times, and is associated above all with Charles Dickens and M. R. James, both of whom routinely terrified their audiences with new ghost stories at Christmas. This talk explores the origins of the association between ghosts and the festive season and the development of the Christmas ghost story.
This lecture is given by Dr Francis Young who returns to give a second lecture following the popularity of his talk on Macabre Church Lore in October. Dr Young is a historian and folklorist, the author of 14 books, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.