WHY ARE HAUNTINGS OFTEN TIED TO THE HOLIDAYS?
The victorians were notorious for spinning hauntingly good Christmas tales, but why? What created this rise in the 19th century tradition of telling ghost stories around the Christmas Tree? History shows it was a pastime popularized by writers, fortune tellers, stage plays and parlor room seances. But was there more to it than that? Christmas is a holiday shrouded by stories of miracles, mysteries and magic but how did ghost stories become tied to the holidays?
There are many different opinions on why the victorians loved having a "hauntingly good time". The rise of the industrial revolution created a new environment for many. The economic changes were driving people from farms and villages to cities and towns, creating a new middle class. People were filling new larger homes that were unfamiliar. The residents and servants were getting used to their new spacious lodging complete with floorboard creaks, hidden rooms, servants quarters and secret stair cases. It was easy to become frightened as one may unexpectedly bump into someone else in the night. Not to mention the gas lamps used in homes at night cast long, creepy shadows down dark halls that were lit with lanterns known for producing noxious fumes that allegedly created scary hallucinations.
Did all these factors create the perfect environment for ghost stories to be created? Let's remember, many forms of entertainment were limited during these times and books penned by horror authors such as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allen Poe were among the extremely popular reading genres during the victorian times. It attributed to others creating their own oratory tales to share and pass around the fire at night. Story telling was mysterious and fun in a time when there was little to do. But how did the holiday stories of ghosts really get jump started.
Enter Charles Dickens, a man keen on spotting commercial opportunities and publishing the ever so popular "A Christmas Carol", during a time when ghost stories were beloved was nothing less than a hit. The series release also happened to coincide with the issuance of the first Christmas card, which tightened the knot between Christmas and ghosts. It also catapulted Dickens to fame and ignited readers desires for the haunting holiday tale. Dickens satisfied the desire of his readers and continued to publish Christmas related ghost stories all year round in his periodical.
But is there a connection between the Christmas holidays and real hauntings? Well it turns out there's actually an increase of hauntings reported during ALL holidays as well as birthdays, anniversaries and days of death. It seems that the rise in emotions from the living who are mourning a lost loved one combined with that particular spirit recognizing a holiday or specific date can create increased paranormal activity. It's not uncommon for people to report seeing or hearing from their lost loved ones at Christmas or other days of remembrance.
It's believed in the paranormal community that active spirits as well as residual hauntings can amp up during holidays, lunar cycles, the changing seasons and other significant dates. It's something to consider when trying to make contact with the deceased.
In conclusion I'd like to share this excerpt from "Ghosts at Christmas" a book of true ghost stories reported by many. This particular story is called: Battle at Edgehill.
The battle of Edgehill, a civil battle among the English ended in October 1642. It was concluded with a brutal tie with many men lost on both sides. On Christmas eve 1642, the first sighting of a ghostly re-enactment was reported by some shepherds as they walked across the battlefield. They reported hearing voices and the screams of horses, the clash of armour and the cries of the dying, and said they had seen a ghostly re-enactment of the battle in the night sky. They reported it to a local priest and it is said that he too saw the phantoms of the fighting soldiers. Indeed there were so many sightings of the battle by the villagers of Kineton in the days that followed, that a pamphlet, “A Great Wonder in Heaven”, detailing the ghostly goings-on was published in January 1643.
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