The wreaths are up to entice vegetation in the new year, the mistletoe is hanging from the rafters to inspire merriment and magic, and logs have been chopped for the beckoning hearth as you polish the grand piano. You’re nearly set for your Victorian Christmas party, but the only thing missing is the perfect collection of spine-tingling ghost stories to murmur in the glow of the fire as your guests clutch their lace collars against their ghostly faces. Well, fret no more, as I have collated the most chilling of Victorian ghost stories for the perfect Gothic Christmas.
The Signalman – Charles Dickens
An iconic ghost story to set your after-party entertainment apart from the rest. A signalman witnesses a terrifying ghoul on the rail, an omen of foretelling doom. This tale is likely to make them blanche and rub their buttons.
The Open Door – Charlotte Riddell
What lies behind the door? Are you brave enough to venture there and find out the dark truth? Be sure to shut all of the doors in the hall for dramatic effect.
The Phantom Rickshaw – Rudyard Kipling
An elicit affair, a distraught woman’s death, a spurned lover’s revenge beyond the grave – a Victorian gossip ghost story that will prick the hairs on their back as the wind wails outside.
Lost Hearts – M. R. James
An orphan boy goes to stay at the crumbling mansion of his distant cousin. His cousin dapples with dark sorcery and he is haunted by the visions of children who may have been there before… A story to keep your guests awake while they sleep in the crumbling alcoves of your Victorian mansion.
The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe
A little early for the Victorian era, but a famous one to grip your guests by the throat. Be sure to time this telling with the shriek of your ancient Grandfather clock and sit in your only chair by the hearth for dramatic effect.
Have a very Victorian Christmas, and be sure to scare your guests silly!