Christmas

The Passing of the Christmas Ghost Story

The Christmas ghost story was a holiday tradition in the magazines and papers of the 19th century. Dickens popularized it; hacks hackneyed it; M.R. James brought it to the pitch of paranormal perfection. But by the time of this humorous piece, every possible change had been rung on the Christmas ghost story clichés.

Ding Dong Merrily Below: Underground and Underwater Bells

Christmastide is a season full of superstitions, including the notion that it was a magical time when the bells of long-lost villages and submerged churches could be heard.

Hark! The Herald Angels Help: 3 Angelic Visitations

The holidays (or perhaps more accurately, holiday films) are a time for heartwarming depictions of helpful angels: Clarence, the Angel Second Class of It’s a Wonderful Life and Cary Grant’s debonair Dudley of The Bishop’s Wife spring to mind. Here are stories of three angelic visitations, two of dubious helpfulness.

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The Animals’ Christmas Carol: The Beasts Speak on Christmas Eve

It is said, in traditions ranging from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, that animals are magically able to speak at midnight on Christmas Eve. You might look for innocent barnyard chatter about a Baby in a manger or a bright new Star in the East. And yet, in many parts of Europe, you would put your head under the covers for fear of what sinister things you might hear.