Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A ghost story

Telling tales about spooks and spirits is a Christmas tradition, so here is my contribution - a YouTube of a TV programme. It is a supposed investigation into a haunted house. It is terrible, absolute rubbish, it stinks.

My favourite moment is the one when, after the dodgy medium has been chuntering away throwing out guesses, the "historian" emerges from her eavesdropping and confirms that he has got a date right. Spooky! How on earth would anyone know the date of the English Civil War if they hadn't been told it by a dead catholic priest? After that they all sit in the dark, knock things over and scare each other. The only saving grace is that I am not sure how seriously all the participants took it. If they did, god help us!

But I love it. Because there are metaphorical ghosts there. They are my memories. This was my Uncle's house. I spent long childhood holidays there, together with a few family Christmases. It was derelict when he bought it and he spent the twenty years until his death in 1982 renovating it, embellishing it with some false flourishes that the film seemed to be particularly taken with.

I have slept in that four-poster bed many times and never been hauled out of it by a poltergeist. As for the "Cromwell Room", there were no flickering lights when I stayed there. And I used to like the cellars, they were light and airy with big windows to the front as the house is built into a hill.

There are no ghosts. We only have the science of human perception and a literary tradition. It is a tradition that has been associated with Christmas since Victorian times. So if you want to be seasonal, read the best, the ghost stories of M R James. But do remember they aren't real. And sleep tight.


Enoch Hammer said...

Peter, you have to take this seriously, Didn't you notice that the fire had ignited automatically by 7 min 55 secs. Or was the 'continuity person' possibly asleep.

The Plump said...

It would have been more impressive if the medium had spontaneously ignited.