Halloween (and immediately after) is a good time to talk about ghosts.
I’m not an expert. Not in literature, film, and certainly not in real-life experiences. I have no doubt that if I experienced a ghostly encounter of any kind, I would flip my lid.
But I’m a skeptic at heart. I have gone out on an actual ghost hunt. I didn’t see or hear anything. Only strange noises in the woods, but remember… it’s the woods. Lots of critters hunt at night.
I would never do the Blood Mary mirror game as a kid. Why tempt fate? I don’t watch scary movies, they scare me. Bottom line: I am a skeptic who is also a chicken.
On the other hand, I love stories about the fantastical. That includes ghosts.
Ghosts show up in modern and classical fiction, from Shakespeare to bodice rippers. They’ve been present in stories for as long as anyone can remember. They are our dead loved ones, frightening terrors, or even representations of our conscience.
The most haunting ghost story I have opened lately was Caitlín R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl, published in March 2012 by Roc. It’s about a schizophrenic woman who may or may not be haunted.
While not frightening, it has enough Gothic notes to send chills up this girl’s spine. Sometimes, it is all the in the details, and in this case, it’s in the beauty of Kiernan’s prose. It left a mood and impression that refuse to be forgotten.
Ghosts don’t always have to chill our spine. Oftentimes, Urban Fantasy makes them the center of mysteries.
My Halloween reading includes catching up on Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series. I am currently reading book six, Downpour.
The first one was Greywalker, published in October 2006 by Roc. When protagonist Harper Blaine dies and is brought back, she can see the ‘grey,’ and all the ghosts and monsters that inhabit it.
Set in Seattle, it is oftentimes spooky. The magic ‘grey’ system is fully thought out and always a joy to dive into.
Here ghosts are more or less spirits. Spirits can be good, bad, monsters, friendly, or just looking for justice. Oftentimes, the grey spits out a mystery for Harper to pull apart.
I just looked through my book collection. I don’t have a great deal of ghost stories under my belt. The two mentioned above are the first to come to mind. In prepping for this article, I looked up a great deal of ghost books. Many have been added to my already overbearing To-Read (yes, it needs caps) list.
I invite you to share some of your own favorite ghostly titles. No reason I can’t make that To-Read list longer.