A Ghostly Reminder

For Fandango’s Flashback Friday, I thought I’d repost a fun thing I wrote about telling ghost stories at Christmas back in November of ’22

Last week my day job has expanded a bit, so I’ve been focused on learning some new things- which is okay but it is NOT okay for my writing time ( which has suffered ). This post is going to get me  back on track so I thought I’d share it with you just in case anyone needs a little creativity boost themselves.



Earlier this month I posted a story about my family telling ghost stories at Christmas- it’s a Victorian Tradition and one that I really enjoy taking part in. I’ve posted some links here for a little inspiration and if this Winter you have that feeling in your bones ( that can only be a ghost story trying to make it’s way into the world ) then you might find these useful too.


How To Write A Victorian Christmas Ghost Story

Best Thriller and Suspense Writing Prompts of 2021 (reedsy.com)

Writing Prompts About Ghosts

A Winter Tradition

WP Daily Prompt asks: What’s something you believe everyone should know?

Illustration by French impressionist Édouard Manet for the StĂ©phane MallarmĂ© 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)
Édouard Manet1875

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

The Swinging Tree

Inspired by the Daily Prompt: What does it mean to be a kid at heart?

Artist: Jack Dawson

My Grandfather’s name is Finlay Chatburn  and the one thing you need to know about him is this- He doesn’t look his age-  he’s a kid at heart and I think that must be what keeps him so young looking and lively.

My Grandfather is the guy who puts up Halloween decorations and Christmas Decorations and buys the best fireworks for the 4th of July and New Years Eve.  It’s not just that he decked his halls at the same time every year and through great block parties- but he did it with his favorite top hat festooned with little bones perched on top of his head.

When Grandpa cooled off in the evenings, he would sit on swing that he hung  from the tree in his  yard for my Mom and her little brother who died when he was just six years old.

Stanley was hit by a car on his way home from the store- it was Grandpa who found him on the side of the road on his way home from work that night.

That sort of thing can age a parent, but it didn’t age my Grandpa one bit.


Sometimes I watched  Grandpa  gently swung back and forth on the swing and at other times he just sat there twirling around like a leaf in a lazy stream.


One Halloween I was at Grandpa Finlay’s  helping him string cheesecloth ghosts up in his cherry trees and I asked him if he was really a kid at heart, like everyone said.

” I’m only asking Grandpa because I can’t think of a single kid that would work this hard to hang decorations from about a zillion cherry trees.”

” That’s a fact, Jillana”  he said as he pointed out that one of my ghosts wasn’t as secure on it’s branch as it could be “kids are not what you might call focused. Plus. I’ve had little hyperactive  puppies with more attention to detail then a building full of little kids. ”

” So. Who do you think you are at heart? ” I asked.

Grandpa Finlay strolled over to his swing. He sat down. He pushed himself back and forth and he dragged the toe of his boot. ” I think at heart I’m just a ghost of a young man who spends a lot of time swinging from a tree. ”

I watched Grandpa swinging from his tree and I held that image of him- young looking and carefree for as long as I could and when I couldn’t hold that picture anymore I  turned away from him and walked back into my Grandparent’s house with an cool icy breeze tickling at the back of my neck.