The 13 Ghosts of Christmas



Christmas A Season Of Goodwill Given To All Mankind, And Of Snowbound Winter Wonderlands A Time For The Gathering Of Families And Friends To Share In A Bounteous Harvest Of Good Cheer, Of Sparkling Decorations And Roaring Fires Lighting Up The Parlour And Of Glittering Presents Strewn Beneath The Glorious Fir Tree, And Of Excited Children Full Of Boundless Joy In Their Hearts And The Time When The Ghosts Of Those Long Gone, Of The Restless, The Unhappy And The Bitter Are Closest To The Living, Walking Abroad In The Frozen Landscape Outside The Cosy Living Room Window Here Are Thirteen Seasonal Tales Of Those Lonely, Wandering Spirits, Guaranteed To Bring Delicious Thrills To All Aficionados Of The Ghostly And The Supernatural Inside These Pages You Will Find, Amongst Others, Stories Of Eerie Urban Myths, Age Old Rituals, Lost Invaders From History, Haunted Weather Phenomena, Strange Spirits, And Creatures Of Myth And Legend, Told By Some Of The Finest And Most Exciting Writers Working In The Field TodayThe 13 Ghosts of Christmas

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  • ebook
  • 201 pages
  • The 13 Ghosts of Christmas
  • Simon Marshall-Jones
  • English
  • 06 August 2018

10 thoughts on “The 13 Ghosts of Christmas

  1. says:

    In its short time Spectral Press has become a byword for quality and consistency and it is pleasing to see this continue with 13 Ghosts of Christmas, it s first anthology The book is opened with an informative historical look at Christmas Ghost stories from Johnny Mains and is closed by a heartfelt selection of acknowledgments from Editor Publisher Simon Marshall Jones In between are a wonderful and eclectic selection of creepy winter tales from a mix of newcomers and genre stalwarts.An Odd Nu In its short time Spectral Press has become a byword for quality and consistency and it is pleasing to see this continue with 13 Ghosts of Christmas, it s first anthology The book is opened with an informative historical look at Christmas Ghost stories from Johnny Mains and is closed by a heartfelt selection of acknowledgments from Editor Publisher Simon Marshall Jones In between are a wonderful and eclectic selection of creepy winter tales from a mix of newcomers and genre stalwarts.An Odd Number at Table John CostelloA strong opening to the collection is provided by this first published story from John Costello A family Christmas with a very spectral guest is given depth by a superbly realised group of grotesque characters that bought to mind favourable comparisons to the work of Reggie Oliver My personal favourite of the anthology 5 5Concerning Events at Leinster Gardens Jan EdwardsThis story had a strange feeling of time slippage as a fancy dress party goer attends what may be the wrong party I was left slightly perplexed and unsure as to what was happening 3 5Carnacki A Cold Christmas in Chelsea William MeikleThe style of this type of story robbed the tale of any sense of suspense or jeopardy for the main character and by extension the reader too 3 5A Taste of Almonds Raven DaneA well told revenge tale that probably had the least need of a Christmas setting 3.5 5Where the Stones Lie Richard Farren BarberGreat sense of setting in this tale of young children exploring rural Ireland An eeriness and an unsettling conclusion also added to this superior short story 5 5All That is Living Nicholas MartinThis story had a wonderful anytime quality to its opening exchanges The switch to aisolated location added a sense of ambiguity to events leaving the reader to make up there own minds about the validity of the protagonist s experiences 4 5And May All Your Christmases Thana NiveauA very unsettling course of events and superb pacing elevated this Twilight Zone style story A highly entertaining and well told tale 5 5Now and Then Martin Roberts A muchdepressing and unsettling take on the Christmas ghost story than others in the collection with a very creepy spectral girl that bought to mind J Horror at its best 4 5December Paul FinchA decent story with well drawn characters that just felt a little lacking in meaningful action 3.5 5Ritualism Gary McMahonA superb modernisation of a classic with all the touches you expect from a McMahon story Down trodden, socially reticent loser is given a glimpse of the underbelly of the grim North and embraces it in the hope of bringing some sort of meaning to his pathetic life 4.5 5We Are a Shadow Neil WilliamsonThis great addition to the isolated village horror of films such as The Wicker Man ran the Costello close for the position of favourite Great setting and well drawn characters are complemented by deft prose 5 5The Green Clearing John ForthOnce again setting and characterisation are strong and are complemented by a wonderous sense of nostalgia for the simpler times of youth and of burgeoning first love which elevate what is a fairly rudimentary plot 4 5Lost Soldiers Adrian Tchaikovsky A creepy and unsettling tale that makes wonderful use of its setting and provides a genuinely surprising twist 4 5All in all this amounts to a wonderful first anthology from Spectral Press and hopefully represents the first in a long running series of Christmas Ghost collections

  2. says:

    Spectral Press has acquired a dedicated following including yours truly in recent past Last Christmas, it undertook an ambitious project reviving the Christmas annuals, primarily dealing with ghost stories, in Dickensian fashion Although the book a very nice hardcover arrived in the week during which I was trying to decide which resolutions can be allowed to be broken, I read it over 4 nights, sticking to at least one resolution of savouring good things in small sips And now, I would Spectral Press has acquired a dedicated following including yours truly in recent past Last Christmas, it undertook an ambitious project reviving the Christmas annuals, primarily dealing with ghost stories, in Dickensian fashion Although the book a very nice hardcover arrived in the week during which I was trying to decide which resolutions can be allowed to be broken, I read it over 4 nights, sticking to at least one resolution of savouring good things in small sips And now, I would like to share my thoughts about the book.To avoid the structure of formal reviews, I would desist from trying to summarise the stories as well, and would like to mention the contents only Introduction by Johnny Mains1 An Odd Number at Table by John Costello2 Concerning Events at Leinster Gardens by Jan Edwards3 Carnacki A Cold Christmas in Chelsea by William Meikle4 A Taste of Almonds by Raven Dane5 Where the Stones Lie by Richard Farren Barber6 All That is Living by Nicholas Martin7 And May All Your Christmases by Thana Niveau8 Now and Then by Martin Roberts9 December by Paul Finch10 Ritualism by Gary McMahon11 We Are a Shadow by Neil Williams12 The Green Clearing by John Forth13 Lost Soldiers by Adrian Tchaikovsky Publisher s Acknowledgements by Simon Marshall Jones Bonus Whitstable novella by Stephen Volk previewExcept the last story by Adrian Tchaikovsky, not a single one contained a spot of humour or positive happy ending John Forth s story was brilliant in dealing with coming of age angst and combining it with old legends Gary McMahon s story, despite being non supernatural, was one of the most accomplished chillingly bleak pieces that I have read in recent times William Meikle continued giving a refreshingly fresh spin to Carnacki But everybody else followed the easy way out of depicting imploding families, tragedies rearing their heads at the most festive times, and despair It was astonishing at least from my perspective, to whom Christmas has neither religious nor societal appeal that so many English authors could view Christmas as something so totally dark Perhaps something to do with present Tory Lib administration

  3. says:

    Christmas a season of goodwill given to all mankind, and of snowbound winter wonderlands a time for the gathering of families and friends to share in a bounteous harvest of good cheer, of sparkling decorations and roaring fires lighting up the parlour and of glittering presents strewn beneath the glorious fir tree, and of excited children full of boundless joy in their hearts And the time when the ghosts of those long gone, of the restless, the unhappy and the bitter are closest to the livi Christmas a season of goodwill given to all mankind, and of snowbound winter wonderlands a time for the gathering of families and friends to share in a bounteous harvest of good cheer, of sparkling decorations and roaring fires lighting up the parlour and of glittering presents strewn beneath the glorious fir tree, and of excited children full of boundless joy in their hearts And the time when the ghosts of those long gone, of the restless, the unhappy and the bitter are closest to the living, walking abroad in the frozen landscape outside the cosy living room window.Here are thirteen seasonal tales of those lonely, wandering spirits, guaranteed to bring delicious thrills to all aficionados of the ghostly and the supernatural Inside these pages you will find, amongst others, stories of eerie urban myths, age old rituals, lost invaders from history, haunted weather phenomena, strange spirits, and creatures of myth and legend, told by some of the finest and most exciting writers working in the field today So, this Christmas, stoke the fire in the grate, pour yourself a glass of fine port, dim the lights and settle down in your favourite armchair, then sit back and relax, and prepare to have your spine well and truly chilled by these ghostly seasonal tales Tis the season to be jolly, and also scared out of your wits if Spectral Press have anything to say about it The dark overlord of Spectral has brought together thirteen tales guaranteed to add an extra chill to any winter s evening.An Odd Number at Table by John Costello A newcomer attends his girlfriend s family Christmas gathering for the first time Event are marred by the arrival of an unwelcome visitor A classic ghost story to get things started.Concerning Events at Leinster Gardens by Jan Edwards An ex serviceman finds himself gate crashing a strange masked ball There is a marvellous sense of impending doom that builds throughout this story and the final paragraphs leave you with little doubt about the main character s eventual fate.Carnacki A Cold Christmas in Chelsea by William Meikle Expert in all things paranormal, Carnacki, finds himself in possession of a very special ring that demands his attention A chiller in the most literal sense of the word.A Taste of Almonds by Raven Dane A cautionary tale for anyone who decides to do away with his or her partner Beware the Green Fairy, oh and cyanide as well Yes, definitely beware cyanide Murder and madness are perfect bedfellows and this story blends them together seamlessly.Where the Stones Lie by Richard Farren Barber A desolate old cottage is always going to be the perfect lure for the inquisitiveness of children Another tale that has a wonderfully creepy tone.All That is Living by Nicholas Martin An inherited house and a descent into madness I don t think I m ever going to be able to look at snowmen in quite the same way every again, or axes.And My All Your Christmases by Thana Niveau Everyone loves snowy weather don t they But what if it was a sinister, mindless entity that never stopped hunting you down Not such a big fan now are you Now Then by Martin Roberts A short sharp shock of a tale that describes the same family coming home for Christmas over two consecutive years Unexpected and very effective This story is small but perfectly formed.December by Paul Finch The Christmas tree a symbol of everything that s wonderful about this time of year.except when it s not I knew there was a reason why we don t have a tree in the house.Ritualism by Gary McMahon The hell of Christmas shopping, the fear of telling someone you love them and a new urban myth that is going to freak out anyone that ever has nightmares about being smothered.We are a Shadow by Neil Williams With a referential nod to The Wicker Man this moves away from the modern meaning of Christmas and explores something far, far older This story taps into the primal traditions of the winter equinox Less of a ghosts story but still undoubtedly horrific I think this was one of the standout tales of the collection for me.The Green Clearing by John Forth Two families meet to share Christmas in a secluded cabin Unbeknownst to some there is a dark secret waiting to be rediscovered amongst the trees You can t go far wrong with a cabin in the woods when it comes to scares.Lost Soldiers by Adrian Tchaikovsky The path to hell is paved with good intentions A couple of well meaning paranormal investigators attempt to help a lost spirit find his way home Needless to say they get waythan they bargained for.As an added bonus this collection ends with an excerpt from Whitstable by Stephen Volk, which will be published by Spectral in 2013.I can t think of a better book to celebrate the milestone reaching my 100th review of 2012 This collection has the ideal mixture of traditional and modern ghost stories Each author has brought their own unique perspective of the festive season and the darkness that can sometimes come with it I felt entirely spoiled for choice I d be hard pressed to tell you which was my favourite as they are all so much fun If you can think of nothing better than to be sat in front of a roaring fire enjoying a fright or two then this is the anthology for you.Fordetails about The 13 Ghosts of Christmas check out Spectral s website

  4. says:

    As with all such short stories collections there are going to be some stories that appeal to the individual reader and those will vary from reader to reader Taste is subjective after all.The Thirteen Ghosts of Christmas is a collection of stories linked by the season of festive cheer, although there might be very little to celebrate for the poor individuals drawn into these thirteen stories.Told in a style that might be considered perfect for a cold winters night, where friends and families cou As with all such short stories collections there are going to be some stories that appeal to the individual reader and those will vary from reader to reader Taste is subjective after all.The Thirteen Ghosts of Christmas is a collection of stories linked by the season of festive cheer, although there might be very little to celebrate for the poor individuals drawn into these thirteen stories.Told in a style that might be considered perfect for a cold winters night, where friends and families could gather around a roaring fire and be regaled with tales that would leave you with a shiver in your blood and a tingle down your spine, making the eggnog a littlewelcome and maybe making that special someone hold your hand just a little tighter.As a whole these stories succeed wonderfully to that end Not one could be considered the weak link, and they all have original ideas that work wonders If there is any criticism it is a broad one that is no one s fault other than the fact it is Christmas and well it seemed that there were numerous times where it looked as though there was going to be a white Christmas after all ran through all the stories But then a collection by different writers is not something that is going to be easy to stop this happening And in one particular case, And May All Your Christmases by Thana Niveau not only did the story need snow, it might change your mind about going to play in the white stuff the next time it does fall Chilling to the bone Jan Edwards hits a home run with Concerning Events at Leinster Gardens taking the idea of false front houses a street that might look like a row of houses, but is in fact nothingthan a front to hide what is behind, in this case a train line How many practical jokes have seen a delivery arranged to a house where than can be no answer Unless the door is answered What then It seems wrong to just single out a few stories, because all of them need to have their moment in the sun or freeze as the case may be John Costello delivers a disconcerting love story, with a rather unexpected payoff, William Meickle introduces us to the character of Carnacki, a raconteur with a winning turn of phrase, Raven Dane offers a murder in waiting, that is turned on its head, Richard Farren Barber tells a grim and fear inducing story of ruins and thorns, while Nicholas Martin shows us the power of haunted artefacts and that they might not be fatal, the alternative might be worse.Martin Roberts hits deep and hard with a story about grief and memory, a grim reminder that a body maybe haunted by memory as easily as ghosts, Paul Finch delivers a pagan tinged tale that seems the older, hidden meanings behind Christmas might not have finished with the season, Gary McMahon offers a study of ritualism, how certain events just happen, becoming a pattern that can only end, in this instance for the protagonist in an almost fated way, Neil Williams delves into relics and village life, in a tale that is reminiscent of The Hollow man, but at the same time is fresh John Forth asks the question what lurks still in the deeps of the woods And if we see them once, would we ever be able to let it go, no matter what cost Finally Adrian Tchaikovsky gives us a ghost hunting yarn, that seems strangely believable, is fun and disconcerting at the same time.In all a great little collection, edited ably as always by Simon Marshall Jones a near perfect collection for those over commercialised festive nights

  5. says:

    I know Christmas is behind us, but it s never the wrong time of year to read a ghost story Spectral Press, helmed by Simon Marshall Jones, seems to have a keen eye for short fiction for the UK s wealth of horror authors, so it stands to reason they d be a good place to look for a holiday themed anthology.Thirteen authors each offer up a story that harkens back in some way to those old Christmas chiller tales from yore Some are period pieces while others have a contemporary setting Some have a I know Christmas is behind us, but it s never the wrong time of year to read a ghost story Spectral Press, helmed by Simon Marshall Jones, seems to have a keen eye for short fiction for the UK s wealth of horror authors, so it stands to reason they d be a good place to look for a holiday themed anthology.Thirteen authors each offer up a story that harkens back in some way to those old Christmas chiller tales from yore Some are period pieces while others have a contemporary setting Some have a bit of tongue in cheek humor, while others will reach through your ribcage and snatch your heart out An Odd Number at Table by John Costello is the first story in the book, dealing with a young man meeting his girlfriend s parents for the first time by spending Christmas with them That s unsettling enough in a mundane sort of way, but it s when the man meets Aisla Farrell, the purported cousin of his girlfriend It felt like a vintage bit of illicit intrigue set in 1991 Virginia and whet the appetite for .William Meikle s Carnacki A Cold Christmas in Chelsea took a different tact, opting for a story and style that felt like it was plucked straight from 19th century London Fortunately for me, the story isn t bogged down by let s be honest the purple prose of the era, and focused keenly on the subject matter Richard Farren Barber s Where the Stones Lie captured Irish folklore quite handily and squeezed it for every drop of suspense, too Definitely hope to readof both s works in the future Thana Niveau had a story that felt like it d make a great Twilight Zone Christmas special, as And May All Your Christmases offered up a monsters in the snow story that dripped with the kind of isolated horror I tend to go for.The whole collection was simply a treat to read, and sitting down to a couple stories at a time in the evenings over the holidays, with snow cascading onto the streets outside and cold winds raking across the windows, only made the reading experience that much better While I m sure a fella like me could appreciate this stories at the height of summer, I ll encourage folks to check them out now while the temperature is frosty, the hot chocolate is in season, and a crackling fireplace makes the perfect soundtrack

  6. says:

    The Christmas period has always been heavily associated with the supernatural, although in recent years, the traditional Christmas ghost story seems to have become, if not less popular, then at least less visible The closest thing to a Christmas themed ghost story that we see on our televisions these days tends to be a re run of A Christmas Carol Spectral Press, who have taken the UK horror scene by storm with their excellent chapbooks and novella s, have decided to address this imbalance with The Christmas period has always been heavily associated with the supernatural, although in recent years, the traditional Christmas ghost story seems to have become, if not less popular, then at least less visible The closest thing to a Christmas themed ghost story that we see on our televisions these days tends to be a re run of A Christmas Carol Spectral Press, who have taken the UK horror scene by storm with their excellent chapbooks and novella s, have decided to address this imbalance with their first anthology, The 13 Ghosts of Christmas.And what a collection of stories it is The line up includes a number of well known authors, alongside some newcomers, and while each story has a Christmas theme, their execution is refreshing, original and in some instances, downright creepy.The settings of the stories range from London in the 1800 s, to bleak inner city landscapes in the present day Standout tales include Gary McMahon s wonderfully bleak Ritualism that combines urban squalor, violent teenage gangs, urban legends and pagan ritual, and Thana Niveau s chilling tale about sentient, murderous snow, And May All Your Christmases..Like all anthologies, the quality of each tale varies, however in this instance the couple of weaker stories only appear this way when contrasted against the other entries, and are perfectly readable and entertaining in their own right There is not a bad story in the book, just one or two mediocre ones.If you want to add a little chill to your Christmas, and resurrect the old tradition of the seasonal ghost story, then you won t find a better book than this

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