- WP Daily Prompt asks: What’s something you believe everyone should know?
Illustration by French impressionist Édouard Manet for the Stéphane Mallarmé translation of “The Raven”, 1875
Did you know that it was on bleak December evening that the Raven made his way into a scholar’s home, that in the dead of winter the Raven took it’s place above his chamber door where it perched on a bust of Pallas and drove the unamed narrator of the poem stark raving mad?
I think everyone should know this because during the Victorian Era, telling ghost stories was the thing to do on those long, cold, dark evenings. When you look at it that way you can see that the Raven a Christmastime Ghost story as opposed to the Halloween story it has been morphed into.
The Raven (Le corbeau): Flying Raven (ex libris)
My own family would tell ghost stories during the winter- with the bulk of them being told during our Christmas gatherings.
We would always find a way to work stories about the supernatural into our gatherings, but during the winter there was a a tradition we followed without even realizeing it.
We specifically told ghost stories- and all of them if you were to ask- were absolutely true.
Every winter there has been a slew of articles popping up on line advocating for brining this tradition back.
If you aren’t into telling stories at gatherings, there are books with stories from the Victorian Era that focus on ghost stories that were told during Christmas/ Winter that you can pick up and enjoy instead:
I love this one:
The first-ever collection of Victorian Christmas ghost stories, culled from rare 19th-century periodicals
During the Victorian era, it became traditional for publishers of newspapers and magazines to print ghost stories during the Christmas season for chilling winter reading by the fireside or candlelight. Now for the first time thirteen of these tales are collected here, including a wide range of stories from a diverse group of authors, some well-known, others anonymous or forgotten. Readers whose only previous experience with Victorian Christmas ghost stories has been Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” will be surprised and delighted at the astonishing variety of ghostly tales in this volume.
Along with planning my family’s holiday meal- and as I cook and shop and hope for snow, I am also planning on what stories ( or Whoppers as my Grandpa Bert would call them ) I will be telling.
Here is a link to a great article about this tradition. It’s from 2017 and it’s informative and a great read- who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to try this out yourself:
A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories