31 Ghost Stories in 31 Days

ghoststoryWith Halloween fast approaching, it’s time to dig into those long neglected ghost story anthologies that have been glowering at me from the bookshelves.

I buy them less for chills than for the promise of coziness that is almost nonexistent in Southern California, not to mention our night free, 24-hour world. I think a longing for that long-lost fireside may even be to blame for the explosion of vampire fiction these days, less to do with sex than a need to take back the night.

On the dark side of the spectrum, however, it’s possible that these recent, and “cuddly” interpretations of the supernatural are more a high-tech, halogen-tainted denial of darkness.

I hope not.

If that’s the case then even the vampire has nowhere left to hide, shine a light and make him work for his pay.

Edith Wharton said it best in the afterward to her own anthology: “What the ghost really needs is…only continuity and silence…it seems to hanker to appear again, and it obviously prefers the silent hours, when at last the wireless has ceased to jazz. These hours, prophetically called “small,” are in fact continually growing smaller; and even if a few diviners keep their wands, the ghost may after all succumb first to the impossibility of finding standing room in a roaring and discontinuous universe.”

So here’s my plan to restore at least a little of that darkness. Everyday this month, I’ll dig out an old ghost story. There may be more than 31, it may take a day or two to catch up at times, but we will reach the number 31 by All Hallow’s Eve.

Let’s keep those small hours small.


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