Christmas and ghost stories, it may seem that the two don’t fit together well, but they actually do. When you think about it why wouldn’t our love ones pay us a visit at such a special time if they can, to offer us reassurance, make us feel their presence and their love. Even though it is not popular now days, in Victorian times it was somewhat of a tradition at Christmas time to gather around a fire and tell one another spooky ghostly tales. Remember that the Victorian era is where spiritualism, seances, ectoplasm and table rapping became popular so it would make sense that Victorians would have done such traditions rooting back to their roots in pagan custom. Evidence lining this is in a line from ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ where it is mentioned ” There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmas long, long ago…”
There is also the Dickens classic ‘ A Christmas Carol ‘ which is properly one of the last remaining tales of a haunting one may associate with this time of year. Then there is the miracles that surround Christmas itself, and that being the birth of Jesus Christ. Did you know that there were another very popular story started around this time of year and by the format of a magazine, lets check it out. Beeton`s Christmas Annual One tradition in England One tradition in England that ran from the year 1860 to 1898 was a yearly release of a magazine called Beetons Christmas Annual a paperback founded by Samuel Orchart Beeton a publisher that also published the first ever boys magazine. The Beetons Christmas Annual of 1887 in the month of November contained A Study In Scarlet a novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and this novel introduced the characters Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend Watson.
Christmas and the Victorians
The release of the Christmas annual Christmas annual occurred during the Victorian era this era changed the face of Christmas to the present day. It would be hard to imagine a year going by where Christmas is not celebrated but that was the case in the early 19th century as the population barley celebrated the occasion. They say the way we celebrate and recognize Christmas today is due to the marriage of Queen Victoria to the German born Prince Albert as they adopted aspects of Prince Albert’s Christmas traditions. The marriage took place in 1840 by 1848 a drawing of the Royal Family around a decorated Christmas Tree was published and not long after that families up and down the country were following suit. In 1843 a card for Christmas was commissioned and at first they were too expensive for most people but by the 1880`s millions of cards were being produced as color printing became more popular and Other well known traditions of today also took hold like the decorating of the house became more important and in 1848 a British sweet confectioner designed the humble Christmas cracker for the simple reason to package sweets after been influenced while on a trip to Paris when he came across Bon Bons and and sugared almonds wrapped in twists of paper.
The Victorian era really did give birth to the modern way we celebrate Christmas today from the Christmas Turkey to more larger shop bought presents under the tree. Charles Dickens also helped spread these new traditions through his work Christmas Carol and as well as spreading the traditions of Christmas he also helped spread the message of Christmas the message of family, charity and peace and good will.
SIR Arthur Conan Doyle |A Victorian Ghost Buster
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Victorian Ghost Buster. As we can read above the Victorian era gave birth to the way we celebrate Christmas today and it was also the beginning of Arthur Conan Doyle`s Sherlock Holmes. The Victorian era also witnessed a massive surge in the interest of spiritualism and the paranormal and this is where Arthur Conan Doyle has another great influence. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had a keen interest in mystical subjects along with joining in on many seances talking to mediums and even taking part in a few experiments. Just before he declared himself a spiritualist he wrote to Light a spiritualist journal. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a founding member of the Hampshire Society For Psychical Research and also a member of the Ghost Club which concentrates on ghosts and hauntings.
It is said the Ghost Club is the longest running of its type. After taking to the spiritualist scene and finding a greater link with Christian Spiritualism he had influence within the Spiritualist National Union. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also left behind a few works of literature on the subject of spiritualism. He was also an initiated Freemason. After learning of Arthur Conan Doyle`s adventures in the world of the paranormal and spiritualism its easy to see he would have fit in well in today’s paranormal community.
Charlene lowe Kemp