A few nights ago, I made the mistake of rereading Charles Dickens’ The Signal-Man in bed. Bad, baaaaad idea. It’s long been my favourite ghost story — and the BBC adaptation one of my favourite short slabs of telly — but even knowing every story beat in the tale didn’t protect me from that growing unease and dread.
It may sound odd to some, but the tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas has a long heritage. For many, Christmas is associated with more repeats of Chevy Chase struggling with Christmas lights or some animated piece of schmaltz banging on about the ‘spirit of giving’. But, particularly in Europe, the Christmas ghost story has a long tradition.