Vintage, £7.99, 273pp £7.59 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The English Ghost, By Peter Ackroyd
Friday 21 October 2011
According to Peter Ackroyd, the English see more ghosts than any nation on earth. In this Halloween-friendly anthology of "true" ghost stories, he takes us through a history of English hauntings from the sixth century onwards.
Lacking the dressings of fiction, these eyewitness accounts can feel quite bald, but all the more peculiar for that. Some ghosts behave quite conventionally - they stand at the end of beds and warble - while others, like the Thirties Thames Ditton commuter-train ghost, are terrifying by their ordinariness.
In the book's spry introduction, we learn how the English have over 200 words for their spirits and sprites, ranging from "hobbits" and "dobbies" to the more outlandishly named "mum-pokers", "chiittifaces", "melch-dicks" and "clabbernappers".
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
Arts & Ents blogs
The desolation of the Weinstein brothers: Film producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
Your Money, Money, Money please - Abba ask fans for £195 pledges on direct-to-fan website
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug review
Not all right on the night
Lost Peter Sellers films Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia Is Good for You hailed as the movie equivalent of 'finding Dead Sea Scrolls'
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 4 Not all right on the night
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >