Tue
20Dec
UTC
7:30pm
Online

Why do we tell winter ghost stories?

Dr Lucy Arnold

It's well known that ghosts have long been associated with winter cold since ancient times​. The idea of something scary lurking beyond the light and laughter have inspired many chilling stories, but where does this custom or ritual come from?

Learn about this Garden Talk

It's well known that ghosts have long been associated with winter cold since ancient times. The idea of something scary lurking beyond the light and laughter have inspired many chilling stories, but where does this custom or ritual come from?

Since the pagan festival of Yule, in celebration of the winter solstice, the depths of winter have been insistently haunted by a diverse host of phantoms, and the stories we tell about them. It is December 5th: on either side of the alps, the figure of the krampus, horned and hooved, with a taste for wicked children, stalks the streets. In Finland, on Christmas Eve, the family saunas glow, lit but empty, waiting for the return of ancestral ghosts. In Iran, families gather close on Yaldā night, the longest night of the year, to share stories, poems, and to keep evil and misfortune at bay.

In this talk Dr Lucy Arnold, a specialist in contemporary literature, from the University of Worcester delves into why in the depths of winter, the ritual telling of ghost stories emerged? Why does it persist in our own contemporary moment, as a shadow cast by the bright lights of numerous festivals intended to ward off the cold and dark? 

Why are some of the some of the best and creepiest ghost stories winter tales and where do they come from?

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Dr Lucy Arnold

Dr Lucy Arnold, a specialist in contemporary literature at The University of Worcester. She has a particular research interests in contemporary gothic, narratives of haunting, contemporary women’s writing and psychoanalytic criticism

Life's rhythms & rituals Collection

Rituals are one of the oldest threads in the history of human culture but we can’t always explain why they are so important. Traditions can stir up feelings of nostalgia but have you ever wondered where these traditions and rituals came from?

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