Tara Moore celebrates Christmas in central Pennsylvania where the whip-bearing, fur-clad Belsnickle still terrifies the children who know where to find him. Her publications include articles and books about Christmas, including Victorian Christmas in Print (2009) and Christmas: The Sacred to Santa (2014). She teaches writing and literature at Elizabethtown College.

The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, Volume One edited by Tara Moore

During the Victorian era, it became traditional for publishers of newspapers and magazines to print ghost stories during the Christmas season for chilling winter reading by the fireside or candlelight. Now for the first time thirteen of these tales are collected here, including a wide range of stories from a diverse group of authors, some well-known, others anonymous or forgotten. Readers whose only previous experience with Victorian Christmas ghost stories has been Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" will be surprised and delighted at the astonishing variety of ghostly tales in this volume.

Walter Scott – The Tapestried Chamber
Elizabeth Gaskell – The Old Nurse's Story
John Berwick Harwood – Horror: A True Tale
Anonymous – "Bring Me a Light!"
Anonymous – Old Hooker's Ghost
Ada Buisson – The Ghost's Summons
Anonymous – Jack Layford's Friend
Anonymous – How Peter Parley Laid a Ghost
Ellen Wood – A Mysterious Visitor
W. W. Fenn – The Haunted Rock
Margaret Oliphant – The Lady's Walk
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Captain of the Pole-Star
F. Marion Crawford – The Doll's Ghost




"To capture the Victorian ghost story experience is to whisper it by candlelight, to feel the tendrils of December's chill reaching from the darkness outside the hearth's glow. To revive the Victorian ghost, invite it in on its own terms. Wait for dark. Dim the lights. If you can arrange a draft to waft through the room, all the better. Meeting the ghosts of Christmas does not limit you to Dickens's edifying spirits; instead, prepare yourself for a sensual experience of midwinter leisure and Victorian story-telling tradition." – From the Introduction by Tara Moore

"In the sickly light I saw it lying on the bed, with its grim head on the pillow. A man? Or a corpse arisen from its unhallowed grave, and awaiting the demon that animated it?" - John Berwick Harwood, "Horror: A True Tale"

"Suddenly I aroused with a start and as ghostly a thrill of horror as ever I remember to have felt in my life. Something—what, I knew not—seemed near, something nameless, but unutterably awful." - Ada Buisson, "The Ghost's Summons"

"There was no longer any question what she was, or any thought of her being a living being. Upon a face which wore the fixed features of a corpse were imprinted the traces of the vilest and most hideous passions which had animated her while she lived." - Walter Scott, "The Tapestried Chamber"