Spooky Christmas!

I know, I know–it’s too early for Christmas. Here’s the thing.

I just bought The Others on DVD. It’s become one of my favorite ghost stories. I thought of the Winter holidays because that’s when my sweetie will finally be here for good. I thought I’d show him a couple of my favorite spooky movies as a substitute for the traditional ghost stories. His response to my idea: “I’ve never heard of that tradition; maybe it’s a cold-country thing?”

That got me thinking. Scary stories for Christmas is just something I know culturally, but where does the tradition really come from? Turns out it’s old–from at least the 1600s–and it’s English.

Some sources connect the stories to the yule log, which has its own macabre superstitions:

“Are you aware that it is unlucky to buy a Yule log? It has to be a very special log, as its mission is to keep the house safe from fire and lightning during the year. A lucky log must be brought in from your own land or that of a neighbor and put into the hearth on Christmas Eve. It better be a dry one, as it must catch fire on the first attempt or misfortune is sure to befall you during the next year. No touching with dirty hands. That would show disrespect for the log and no telling what the consequences could be. While the log burns for the requisite twelve hours, it is traditional to sip cider and tell ghost stories while shadows flicker on the wall. Woe unto you if you cast a headless shadow. You aren’t likely to be around for the lighting of the next Yule log.”

I’ve no fireplace for a Yule log, but I’d be happy to tell ghost stories or watch scary movies for a good twelve hours! I can never get enough of a good scare. Some of my favorites:

  • Haunted
  • The Frighteners
  • Poltergeist (Bill didn’t like it so much)
  • Back of Beyond
  • Stir of Echoes (though it could have been better)
  • The Sixth Sense
  • The Others
  • Stigmata

Mmm…poor Bill. I’m going to scare the daylights out of him!

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