“Fear is a wonderful thing… in small doses.”
The house is quiet. Finally, you have time to yourself to get comfy and read. You settle in with a glass of wine on the side table, curled up in your favorite chair in front of a warm crackling fire. The house settles into its night routine, floorboards creak, shadows flicker, a phantom touch at your elbow.
It’s nothing you insist, a vivid imagination. The clock on the mantle ticks on. You flinch at the thump of a log falling in the grate and startle at muffled sounds you can’t pinpoint.
Gooseflesh deckles your skin and your heart beats like a jackhammer in your chest.
When did ghost stories appear?
Belief in ghosts can be found in all cultures and were originally part of the oral history. They were depicted as being misty. Anthropologists linked the idea to early beliefs that ghosts were a person’s spirit, their breath. In cold conditions the deceased person’s ‘breath’ would appear as a white mist giving us our ghosts an unearthly appearance.
Early examples of written stories date back to Old Testament in which the Witch of Endor calls on the spirit of Samuel for King Saul when he needs help fighting the Philistines and in the classical world in Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus travels to the underworld to face the ghost of the dead.
What is the appeal?
“Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses. You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re still here, still safe. That nothing strange has happened, not really. It’s good to be a child again, for a little while, and to fear — not governments, not regulations, not infidelities or accountants or distant wars, but ghosts and such things that don’t exist, and even if they do, can do nothing to hurt us.” From Neil Gaiman’s explanation as to why we love a good ghost story.
Escapism for certain. The stories are varied. Some are intended to be scary (Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw), some are comedic (The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde) and others tell of things to come (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens).
Are ghosts real?
That question is best answered by someone who has experienced a ghost. There have been sightings of some famous people. Anne Boleyn, Britain’s King Henry VIII’s second wife and mother of Queen Elizabeth I, her ghost is reported to be haunting the Tower of London where she was executed in May 1536. She’s also been seen at her childhood home, Hever Castle.
America has its own notorious ghosts. Benjamin Franklin’s ghost has been seen near the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Some say the statue of the founding father in front of the society sometimes dances in the streets. I’m a bit skeptical but it does sound like the basis of the movie, Night at the Museum comes to mind. Abraham Lincoln’s presence has been sensed both in the White House and around the Old Springfield, Illinois capitol building. And Al Capone haunts his prison cell at Alcatraz.
Why do ghosts haunt us?
Taking a leap of faith that there are ghosts, why would they linger? We who are living know so little about the afterlife. Perhaps ghosts have the same apprehension. If they died suddenly maybe they don’t know they’re dead. They could be angry or jealous that they’ve passed on or need to complete some unfinished business.
Why do we read ghost stories?
Why do we read ghost stories if they make our hearts pump and raise our apprehensive to say nothing of being afraid to open that door in the dark? According to Gaiman ghost stories “remind us we are alive and that there is something special, something unique and remarkable about the state of being alive.”
Lost: One locket filled with memories. Will finding it lead Rachel to peace? Happiness?
Rachel Emerson led a charmed life. Steffen Burkett, her greatest love was everything a woman could want and he was hers. But before the wedding invitations were sent, the wedding was cancelled.
Fast forward thirty years. Rachel returns to her beloved home on Halloween eve, the day before the house becomes the property of the Historical Society. For years she mourned the loss of her locket, her only connection to Steffen. This is her last chance to find it. Going home takes Rachel on a journey of self-discovery and possibly even reconciliation.
About the Author
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.
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