My Other Website: It Was Not a Ghost

Have y’all checked out my new website: It Was Not a Ghost? (Don’t worry, Notebook of Ghosts is not going anywhere.)

When looking for ghost stories in the newspaper archives, I would come across ghost stories that ended up being something else entirely. It was not a ghost! It was a robe, paint, moonshine, an odd reflection, a youthful prankster, the wind, and more!

I gathered these (sometimes humorous) stories about non-ghosts and created a new site in addition to this one. I will update the website every other Friday. I posted last Friday (three times actually) and will post next Friday. Head on over and see what you missed!

And, I’m on Twitter (again).

Thanks for the continued support! ๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ–ค

Featured Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash

Christmas #humpdayhaunts

December at Notebook of Ghosts is sure to be a spooky one! Along with my Patreon site, I have some blog posts planned for this blog. If you would like additional spooky content, I recommend following me on Instagram (notebookofghosts). Every Wednesday, I share haunted history in a series called #humpdayhaunts. This month will be everything CHRISTMAS.

I thought I might gather up past Christmas #humpdayhaunts for your “First Week of December” enjoyment.

Merry Christmas! ๐Ÿ‘ปโ˜ƒ๏ธ๐ŸŽ…

Featured Photo by Stรฉphane Mingot on Unsplash

#25SpookyStories: A 2020 Christmas Reading Challenge

Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about spectres. It is a genial, festive season, and we love to muse upon graves, and dead bodies, and murders, and blood. – Jerome K. Jerome, Told After Supper (1891)

The following post is a recycled and polished version of the challenge from last year. I have added some more books and free readings. I will continue to update the post with readings I come across.

Christmas is a time for ghost stories. It’s true! The tradition of telling ghost stories around Christmas time probably came before the holiday itself and definitely before the commercialized version of today.  The origins, as Kat Eschner writes, are “about darker, older, more fundamental things: winter, death, rebirth, and the rapt connection between a teller and his or her audience. But theyโ€™re packaged in the cozy trappings of the holiday.” The tradition never really made it over to America (Puritans ruin the party again), but ghost stories around Christmas were especially popular in 19th Century British books, periodicals, homes, and theatres. In 2017, Ghostland author Colin Dickey made a call to resurrect the tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas, so I’m challenging y’all to read 25 ghost (or just scary) stories this Christmas season (or 12). Maybe you’ll read them in your comfy chair with hot chocolate or wassail. Maybe you’ll read the stories aloud around the fire with family and friends (via Zoom of course). Whatever you need to do to bring this tradition back to life and hopefully start a new spooky tradition in your home. (To learn more, please check out the two articles below that ground this tradition in interesting historical research.)

If you participated in #31SpookyStories, it is basically the same thing. You’ll read 25 spooky short stories each day this December until Christmas. Or, if you are busy (or preoccupied/stressed because 2020), you can choose to read 12 stories instead.

Below I have provided some books and FREE sites where you can find some spooky Christmas stories (I’ll continue to update this list throughout December). Feel free to read whatever spooky stories you want, Christmas-themed and otherwise.

Your reading style and availability may be different than mine, so I gave the challenge additional options:

  • You might read from one anthology/story collection or multiple anthologies/story collections.
  • You might double, triple, or quadtrouple stories on slow days or makeup days. Hell, you could read 25 (or 12) stories in one week.
  • You might choose to read fiction and/or nonfiction spooky stories.

The goal of this? To have fun, resurrect an old tradition, and to introduce yourself to new writers. Below are some ways to join the fun on social media, some sources on the history on the tradition, and possible stories to read.

Join the Fun on Instagram

Some challenge readers (me included) will be sharing our daily reads on social media. Follow me (@notebookofghosts) for fun Story templates, my daily reads, available anthologies from some of my favorite online sellers, and more!

We’ll be using the hashtag #25SpookyStories!

Some History About the Tradition

Books You Might Purchase

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FREE Reading List

Below are links to some anthologies online. I haven’t read all of these, so I’m sorry for the lame ones! ๐Ÿ™‚  Please note: Most of these links take you to Project Gutenberg, which gives you multiple formats to read it in. HTML is best for reading on your computer. You can also send it to your Kindle (I use this email method). 

Happy Reading!

Happy Halloween! My Top Five #humpdayhaunts

One my favorite ways to keep the Halloween spirit going all year long is through my Instagram series #humpdayhaunts. Every Wednesday (well, sometimes Thursday), I share haunted history. I always look forward to the opportunity to research a new haunting. In a chaotic world, it is indeed my constant!

I was recently looking through my archives and began reminiscing about past posts. I thought I might share some of my favorites in preparation for the Halloween weekend.

I hope you enjoy this spooky trip down memory lane. Have a hauntingly splendid Halloween!

-Ash ๐Ÿ‘ป

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#humpdayhaunts is BACK!! Skinwalker Ranch lies southeast of Ballard, Utah with 480 acres full of #paranormal activity. The property has also been dubbed "UFO Ranch," because of the high number of #UFO sightings. This place is basically Fox Mulder's Disney World. ๐Ÿ‘ฝ There are a number of stories associated with the place, so let's get to it. (1) A family that lived on the property reported cattle mutilation. Some cows had no sign of injury or blood other than a hole "drilled" into the eye. Other cows had organs carefully removed. (2) The same family had issues with a wolf repeatedly killing their cattle, so they shot it…multiple times and on several occasions…with no luck. A bulletproof wolf folks! (3) There has been poltergeist activity including objects moving in the home, unpacked groceries being repacked into grocery bags, and disembodied voices in an unknown language. My guess is UFO ghosts, because fun. (4) The same family from before reported lethal blue orbs on the property. One night they saw the blue orbs floating on the property. They let 3 of their dogs loose to chase the orbs, and the orbs led the dogs further and further from the house. Eventually the owner heard dog yelps in the the distance, but did not go see what was wrong out of fear. The next day, they found 3 spots burned into the ground with a weird gooey substance in the center. It is believed to be the only thing that remains of the dogs. (5) There are a lot of weird animals on and near the property, including a very muscular hyena, giant sea snakes, and a mysterious squid. (6) There's a humanoid figure called The Dark One that peers into another dimension or something. (7) Crop circles of course! Do Do Do Do Do Doooooo [#xfiles theme song] (8) Wait there's more…BIGFOOT sightings. ๐Ÿ‘ฝ In 1996, the The National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) purchased the property. The NIDS was founded by Las Vegas hotel owner Robert Bigelow with "the purpose to research and advance serious study of various fringe science, and paranormal topics, most notably ufology" (Wikipedia). The same year Bigelow received the Pigasus Award from skeptic James Randi. (CONTINUED IN COMMENTS)

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And here's another #humpdayhaunts for #Halloween. Also check out my post from this morning! ๐ŸฐAccording to legend, a bus of convicts crashed in Fairfax County, VA in 1904. Convicts fled from the bus, but were quickly rounded up by police. All of them…except one. BOOOOO! ๐Ÿฐ The people of Fairfax County started to notice skinned and half-eaten bunnies hanging in trees, specifically in the wooded area around (then-called) Fairfax Station Bridge. One Halloween night, some teenagers decided to hang out under the bridge. In the morning, they were found in the same condition as the bunnies, hanging from the bridge. Police and concerned citizens assumed this was the work of the escaped convict. The convict became known as The Bunny Man, because he ate bunnies and also killed his family on Easter Sunday (we got some creative legend makers in Virginia). OK so there's the legend. Wanna hear some factual creepy stuff? OK! ๐Ÿฐ Fairfax County Archivist Brian Conley decided to do some research on this popular local legend. He found its beginnings in the 1970s. As reported in the Washington Post, Air Force Academy cadet Robert Bennett and his fiancรฉe were sitting in their car on Guinea Road in Fairfax Co around midnight. A man appeared in a white suit and tall bunny ears wielding an axe. He yelled at the couple to get off his property, eventually throwing the axe through the front car window. Luckily the couple was not seriously injured. Two weeks later and a block away, the bunny dude was spotted by private security guard Paul Phillips on the front porch of a new, yet unoccupied house. Phillips began to talk to the bunny, which only angered him. Phillips reported to the Washington Post that the bunny said: โ€œAll you people trespass around here. If you donโ€™t get out of here, Iโ€™m going to bust you on the head.โ€ He then began chopping at the porch. The police looked into these reports, but nothing substantial came out of the investigation. As you can tell, locals took these facts and ran. ๐Ÿฐ Virginians of Fairfax are warned to stay away from the bridge tonight. At the stroke of midnight, they may face the same consequences as those teenagers (and bunnies).

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It's a whole week of #humpdayhaunts! I'll share a haunted place or legend each day this week, because #HALLOWEEN. ๐Ÿ‘ป Have you heard about the โ€œTHE SHIP OF DEATHโ€ in Wyoming? About every 25 years or so, a phantom ship appears on the Platte River. Witnesses of the ghost ship report a thick fog and a ghost crew covered in frost. The unfortunate witness that pursues a closer look might see the corpse of a still-living loved one lying on the deck. Sometimes the crew is surrounding the person or the captain is motioning towards the loved one's body. This loved one always dies soon after. ๐Ÿ‘ป 100 or so years ago, a trapper named Leon Webber saw the ghost ship (this is the first reported sighting). When he got closer to the ship, he saw his fiancรฉe lying on the top deck. She died that same day. The next reported sighting was 25 years later (1887) when Gene Wilson, a cattleman, saw his wife lying on the ship's deck. She too died the same day. The last reported sighting was in 1903. Victor Hiebe was chopping firewood one autumn day at his residence along the river (or he was a lumberjack). He saw the fog and then the ship…and then the body of his good friend hanging from a noose. This friend had been convicted of murder, though Victor believed in his innocence. Victor last heard his friend escaped from prison. The same day of the sighting, Victor's friend was captured and put to death. ๐Ÿ‘ป There have been no reported sightings since, but I recommend avoiding the Platte River on foggy days. . . . . . #halloween #scarystory #scarystories #fall #autumn #october #ghost #ghostship #ghosts #paranormal #supernatural #hauntedplaces #haunted #folkore #history #urbanlegend #Wyoming #scary #horror #writersofinstagram #spooky #paranormalactivity

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#humpdayhaunts | Next week I'm in New Orleans, so I'll be taking a break from #humpdayhaunts and #occultmondays. ๐Ÿ’€ Today, I'm sharing the story of The Black Carriage of Overton Landing (Missouri). "Overton Landing was a small, isolated farming community scattered along the bluffs and flats of the Missouri River near today's Interstate 70. As with many villages, everyone in Overton knew everyone else, helped out when needed, celebrated the harvest and passed along gossip" (Mary Collins Barlie). ๐Ÿ’€ One older couple did not fit in with the rest of the community. They lived in a wooden house off the ferry path, which they ran a tavern out of for weary travelers. Their business wasn't successful, because their reputation as being sour and cruel made travelers avoid it. ๐Ÿ’€One night they murdered a merchant with an iron poker and threw his body in the Missouri River. They, of course, kept his money and pricey belongings. They told the community they had inherited the money. With their new fortune, they bought new clothes (the old woman bought a black crepe gown), fixed up their tavern, and bought a fine black carriage. ๐Ÿ’€ Three years later, the old woman became ill. On her deathbed she rambled on about blood and an iron poker to neighbor women. She, about to die, asked her husband one last thing: to never remarry and finish his life alone. He promised. ๐Ÿ’€Well, he did not keep that promise and married a young woman in St. Louis. The night he brought her back home, neighbors made a ruckus outside his house. Holding torches and lanterns, they shouted loudly. The old man came outside and angrily screamed, "Get out or I'll…" He was interrupted by a carriage coming down the drive. The carriage was black with lanterns as red as blood. The carriage wheels and horse hooves did not make a sound. The crowd and the new young wife watched in silence as the old man looked inside. There sat a woman in a black crepe gown. The coachman convinced the old man to enter and shut the door. The old man and his deceased wife disappeared into the night. As recently as 2012, people have reported seeing a black carriage on the road. It is considered a bad omen so beware!

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Today's #humpdayhaunts comes from my signed copy of Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts (it's even signed by the ghost Jeffrey). This story comes from Gallatin, Tennessee. On September 23, 1880, Mrs. Lang sat on her front porch watching her children play. She was waiting impatiently for her husband, Mr. David Lang, to finish his farm work so they could go into town. He explained he had to check on the horses and then they would be off. He began walking across his wide pasture, when his name was called from a buggy on the nearby road. He looked up and waved to his friends. Mrs. Lang was watching the scene from the deck and watched as her husband VANISHED in thin air. One second he was waving, and the next second he wasn't there. โ–ช๏ธ His friends jumped from the buggy. The wife jumped from the porch with the kids following. They went to the spot of his disappearance. All that was left was grass crushed from David Lang's feet. Friends and family began a search. There were no sinkholes, crevices, wells, or large shrubs. People began digging on the spot he last stood. The well-digger even brought his equipment to dig a hole, but he soon hit limestone. Bloodhounds were brought out to search for his scent, only to whimper and turn away when they reached the spot of the disappearance. โ–ช๏ธ Friends and family stayed with the distraught family each night and each night they heard "Help me! Please somebody, help me.โ€ They searched the darkness for the source of the cries, but they only seemed to come from that tainted spot. Each night the cries grew weaker and eventually they never heard from David Lang again. Mrs. Lang agreed to finally hold a funeral. โ–ช๏ธ The following spring, the mysterious spot was marked by nature with brown grass 15 feet in diameter, a perfect circle. What ever happened to Mr. David Lang? ๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ‘ฝ๐Ÿ•ณ

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#31SpookyStories: October 2020 Reading Challenge

Photo by Grayson Savio on Unsplash

I asked my friends on Instagram if they would be interested in bringing back #31SpookyStories and the response was more than expected. Let’s do this! ๐ŸŽƒ

Last year, many committed to reading 13 or 31 spooky short stories during the month of October. This challenge is not only doable, but it is accessible as I provide free resources. I find this tradition an excellent way to introduce yourself to new writers, folklore, genres, and more.

When choosing the next story for this challenge, I usually grab one of my favorite short story anthologies and randomly pick a story. I usually read nonfiction pieces and I never go a challenge without reading M.R. James. Your reading style, interests, and availability may be different than mine, so I gave the challenge additional options:

  • You might read from one anthology/story collection or multiple anthologies/story collections.
  • You might double, triple, or quadtrouple stories on slow days or makeup days. Hell, you could read 31 stories in one week. I find I read most my stories on the weekend.
  • You might choose to read fiction and/or nonfiction spooky stories.
  • You might not have time for 31 stories, so letโ€™s swap the numbers around and make it 13. Iโ€™m cool with that. I’m actually doing that this year, because I am setting the bar low during a pandemic.
  • You might choose to participate with your children (I sprinkled in some childrenโ€™s books below).

Make this challenge your own. I look forward to seeing what you do with it and what stories you recommend! ๐Ÿ‘ป

Join the Fun on Instagram

Some challenge readers (me included) will be sharing our daily reads on social media. Follow me (@notebookofghosts) for fun Story templates, my daily reads, available anthologies from some of my favorite online sellers, and more! 

Weโ€™ll be using the hashtag #31SpookyStories!

Documenting Your Reads

You can keep a list of what you read in a planner, journal, or notebook. You donโ€™t have to be public about it.

But, if you would like to share your reads on social media, here are some ways:

  • Post your daily reads (story, story writer, book title, and book editors) on Twitter or in your Instagram stories. Instagram users: I made you templates. Just check my highlights! You might also create your only highlight to archive your daily reads!
  • Share a picture of your book piles periodically.
  • Share your method for picking stories.
  • Write down and share your favorite stories.

Recommendations for Fiction

(That arenโ€™t already in the Free Section)

Recommendations for Nonfiction

Free Stories

Below are links to some anthologies online. I havenโ€™t read all of these, so Iโ€™m sorry for the lame ones! Please note: Most of these links take you to Project Gutenberg, which gives you multiple formats to read it in. HTML is best for reading on your computer. You can also send it to your Kindle (I use this email method). 

Keep Notes in a Commonplace Book

Commonplace books are an excellent tool for writing down your favorite quotes and excerpts! To learn more about commonplace books, readย this post (and this post). To learn more about keeping a Halloween commonplace book, read this post.

I look forward to reading along with you. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

I’m Back! (& Haunted Post Offices)

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Hello! Thank you for your patience as I was launching my Patreon page. On my Patreon page, patrons pick a tier, pay a low-cost fee ($1-$5 a month), and receive exclusive content (more haunted history!). This was my first time doing such a thing, so it took more planning than expected! The experience has been great thus far and, now that I have an idea what I am doing, I can return to blogging my usual (free) content as well!

To thank you for your patience as I got my life together (๐Ÿ˜†), my latest Patreon post is free to the public. Click here to read about haunted post offices!

I have some great things planned for September and October, so keep this page bookmarked!

Thanks for sticking around and for your continued support!

-Ash

๐Ÿ–ค

My Morning Tarot Ritual Box

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I am going to stray from my usual ghost content to share a part of my morning ritual. As someone who deals with anxiety, I like to have some type of self-care routine in place. In a time of COVID-19, taking care of yourself is especially important.

In this post, I’ll describe my morning ritual, which involves tarot, meditation, and journaling. I’ll also discuss how I organize my materials.

The Box

What you (could) need (adapt to your style and beliefs):

  • A box or basket
  • A tarot deck (there are also free apps and websites that let you “pull” a daily card if you don’t have a deck available)
  • Candle + matches/lighter
  • Journal + pen
  • Extras: cloth bag, crystals, tarot cloth

So why put everything in a box? First, it saves me time gathering supplies in the morning. Second, by making this ritual mobile, I can move it outside easily when the weather permits. Third, I have always loved the idea of having multiple altars for different purposes. Of course, you can do this ritual (or your adaptation of it) without a box.ย 

*I linked the stores I purchased some of the items from in the list above.ย 

The Ritual

  1. I usually make some tea (I like CBD Chamomile or Cup of Calm) before I start (I like writing with fluids around, I don’t know).
  2. I light a candle and say:ย Peace surround me, I am present in the momentย (from Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The Witch’s Book of Self-Care)
  3. I mediate 3-10 minutes (usually using a guided meditation).
  4. I then pull a card for the day. Sometimes I’ll ask a specific question, but I usually just pull a card.
  5. I write down or doodle the card, along with a brief description of its meaning. This exercise is also helpful for learning tarot card meanings and interacting with your desk’s design and symbolism.ย 
  6. Then, I journal. I usually ask myself: What is this card telling me? Does it apply to something going on in my life currently? Sometimes I’ll create an affirmation for the day (based on what comes up during the reading) and write it down in my planner.ย 
  7. I close my session with a statement of gratitude: I thank the universe for my many opportunities to reflect and explore my spirit. May I always be blessed (from Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The Witch’s Book of Self-Care).
  8. Then, I put out my candle and start my day!

If the morning is rushed, I’ll set a timer when I’m journaling or do a truncated version of the ritual. I understand mornings are difficult especially with complicated sleep schedules, children, long commutes, etc. This can easily change to a weekly ritual. Pull a card for the week on Sunday!

Maybe this my inspire you to start a new daily/weekly ritual!

I hope you and your loved ones are well during these trying times. โ™ฅ

 

Short & Spooky Book Review: Ghosts of the Southern Mountains and Appalachia by Nancy Roberts (USC Press)

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Nancy Roberts, known as the “First Lady of American Folklore,” wrote more than 20 books on Southern hauntings and folklore. Her stories weave archival research, firsthand accounts, and detailed descriptions of haunted locations, locations which she visited and soaked in. The University of South Carolina Press provided me a copy of Roberts’s Ghosts of the Southern Mountains and Appalachia (originally published in 1978, 2019 reprint) to review. I was thrilled as I love local folklore and short stories (as you all know).

Nancy Roberts (1924โ€“2008) was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and returned to North Carolina, where her parents were originally from, in the 1950s. And, thank goodness for it. Roberts was an extremely prolific writer of Southern folklore, selling over one million copies. Impressed by her freelance writing for the Charlotte Observer,ย she was encouraged by poet and journalist Carl Sandburg to write her first book in 1958 (USC Press). The stories in her books are grounded in historical research, which earned her a certificate of commendation from the American Association of State and Local History. Along with her impressive list of books, Roberts was also known as an excellent oral storyteller and lecturer. Along with the title of “First Lady of American Folklore,” Roberts was also named “Custodian of the Twilight Zone” by Southern Livingย magazine.

Ghosts of the Southern Mountains and Appalachia contains 18 short stories running around 5-10 pages with each story attached to a particular location, essentially a folklore tour. The stories are rooted in their historical times, yet the narrative view sometimes pulls back to the modern times Roberts was writing in. The stories make use of direct quotes from actual witnesses and fictionalized dialogue between characters (which was never hokey, a problem I find with some stories written about haunted history). Roberts grounds the stories in human emotions, making the supernatural less unfathomable. The ghosts themselves are not merely mists, but beings tethered to the earth by longing, fear, anger, secrets, love, and utter confusion.

I was given the chance to talk to the author’s daughter, also named Nancy Roberts, on the phone about the legacy of her mother. Her daughter mentioned something that stuck out to me on the phone call, something which was a common theme in the ghost stories written by her mother: “Everyone wants to get home.” Whether it’s a roadside ghost looking for a ride home or a mother ghost trying to get her baby back into her father’s arms, Roberts’s ghosts just want to get back home. Roberts is so good at describing this desperation and inciting emotion. While these stories can bum the reader out, there is something comforting in the way Roberts writes: like a mother wrapping you in a blanket, handing you a hot chocolate, and telling you the secrets of the world.

Her daughter spoke of her childhood: bedtime stories about mischievous fairies, adventures to the Bell Witch Cave, and the usual parental embarrassment. For example, her mother would sometimes dress in costume for her readings: “We would tease her about the costumes.” As someone that had a mother dress up as a Care Bear for work, I totally understand these feelings. Everywhere the author went, came recognition as well: “I didn’t like that my mom would be recognized. We couldn’t go places quietly. As I got older, I liked that she was so successful.” Successful writer and storyteller aside, Nancy Roberts also brought a certain energy to every room she entered.”She had a spark about her…” her daughter tells me, “when she came into the room, people could tell how interested she was in them and how trustworthy she was […] She had an honest, open, investigative attitude.”

In many ways, to read Nancy Roberts is to know Nancy Roberts. Her written words carry the very empathetic, comforting, and honest parts of her personality. If you are looking for spooky storytelling that captures human struggle on both sides of the veil, I highly recommend adding Nancy Roberts to your “To Be Read” pile.

About the Book

Ghosts of the Southern Mountains and Appalachia, revised by Nancy Robertsย 

2019 Reprint by University of South Carolina Press

You can purchase the book here: https://www.sc.edu/uscpress/books/2019/6041.html

My favorites stories from the book are: Return of The Bell Witch, Chain Gang Man, The Woman in Black, and A Visitor From the Dead.

#25SpookyStories: A Christmas Reading Challenge

Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about spectres. It is a genial, festive season, and we love to muse upon graves, and dead bodies, and murders, and blood. – Jerome K. Jerome,ย Told After Supper (1891)

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[Updated 12/20/2019]

Christmas is a time for ghost stories. It’s true! The tradition of telling ghost stories around Christimetime probably came before the holiday itself and definitely before the commercialized version of today.ย  The origins, as Kat Eschner writes, are “about darker, older, more fundamental things: winter, death, rebirth, and the rapt connection between a teller and his or her audience. But theyโ€™re packaged in the cozy trappings of the holiday.” The tradition never really made it over to America (Puritans ruin the party again), but ghost stories around Christmas were especially popular in 19th Century British books, periodicals, homes, and theatres. In 2017, Ghostlandย author Colin Dickey made a call to resurrect the tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas, so I’m challenging y’all to read 25 ghost (or just scary) stories this Christmas season. Maybe you’ll read them in your comfy chair with hot chocolate or wassail. Maybe you’ll read the stories aloud around the fire with family and friends. Whatever you need to do to bring this tradition back to life and hopefully start a new spooky tradition in your home. (To learn more, please check out the two articles below that ground this tradition in interesting historical research.)

If you participated in #31SpookyStories, it is basically the same thing. You’ll read 25 spooky short stories each day this December until Christmas. Or, if you are busy, you can choose to read 12 stories instead. Below I have provided some books and FREE sites where you can find some spooky Christmas stories (I’ll continue to update this list throughout December). Feel free to read whatever spooky stories you want, Christmas-themed and otherwise.

Your reading style and availability may be different than mine, so I gave the challenge additional options:

  • You might read from one anthology/story collection or multiple anthologies/story collections.
  • You might double, triple, or quadtrouple stories on slow days or makeup days. Hell, you could read 25 stories in one week.
  • You might choose to read fiction and/or nonfiction spooky stories.

The goal of this? To have fun, resurrect an old tradition, and to introduce yourself to new writers. Below are some ways to join the fun on social media, some sources on the history on the tradition, and possible stories to read.

Join the Fun on Instagram

Some challenge readers (me included) will be sharing our daily reads on social media. Follow me (@notebookofghosts) for fun Story templates, my daily reads, available anthologies from some of my favorite online sellers, and more! I will also be sharing a bit on Twitter if that’s your preferred media.

We’ll be using the hashtag #25SpookyStories!

Some History About the Tradition

Books You Might Purchase

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FREE Reading List

Below are links to some anthologies online. I haven’t read all of these, so I’m sorry for the lame ones! ๐Ÿ™‚ย ย Please note: Most of these links take you to Project Gutenberg, which gives you multiple formats to read it in. HTML is best for reading on your computer. You can also send it to your Kindle (I use this email method).ย 

Happy Reading!

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Cover Photo byย Louisa Maljersย onย Unsplash

#31SpookyStories: October Reading Challenge

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Please note: This post will be continuously updated throughout the challenge, so follow me on social media for any update alerts.ย 

Every October, I challenge myself to read 31 short storiesโ€”a story for each day. I thought this year I might invite my friendsโ€”YOUโ€”to join the challenge!

I usually pull an anthology off my bookshelf and then pick a title that speaks to me (here’s my list from 2017). Your reading style and availability may be different than mine, so I gave the challenge additional options:

  • You might read from one anthology/story collection or multiple anthologies/story collections.
  • You might double, triple, or quadtrouple stories on slow days or makeup days. Hell, you could read 31 stories in one week.
  • You might choose to read fiction and/or nonfiction spooky stories.
  • You might not have time for 31 stories, so let’s swap the numbers around and make it 13. I’m cool with that.
  • You might choose to participate with your children (I sprinkled in some children’s books below).

The point of this challenge is to read some short stories, so please do whatever works for you. To make this challenge accessible, I have included a list of free short stories online. I also recommend visiting your local library! If you prefer to buy books, used bookstores and small businesses are an excellent choice.

If you cannot join us this round, you can always join our Christmas/Yule/Winter Holiday short story challenge in December!ย 

Join the Fun on Instagram

Some challenge readers (me included) will be sharing our daily reads on social media. Follow me (@notebookofghosts) for fun Story templates, my daily reads, available anthologies from some of my favorite online sellers, and more! I will also be sharing a bit on Twitter if that’s your preferred media.

We’ll be using the hashtag #31SpookyStories!

Documenting Your Reads

You can keep a list of what you read in a planner, journal, or notebook. You don’t have to be public about it.

But, if you would like to share your reads on social media, here are some ways:

  • Post your daily reads (story, story writer, book title, and book editors) on Twitter or in your Instagram stories. Instagram users: I’m making you templates. Just check my highlights! You might also create your only highlight to archive your daily reads!
  • Share a picture of your book piles periodically.
  • Share your method for picking stories.
  • Write down and share your favorite stories.

Recommendations for Fiction

(that aren’t already in the Free Section)

Recommendations for Nonfiction

FREE Stories

Below are links to some anthologies online. I haven’t read all of these, so I’m sorry for the lame ones! ๐Ÿ™‚ย ย Please note: Most of these links take you to Project Gutenberg, which gives you multiple formats to read it in. HTML is best for reading on your computer. You can also send it to your Kindle (I use this email method).ย 

Keep Notes in a Commonplace Book

Commonplace books are an excellent tool for writing down your favorite quotes and excerpts! To learn more about commonplace books, read this post.

I look forward to reading along with you. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below!