Halloween trick-or-treating probably originated with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On All Souls Day (November 2), early Christians would walk from village to village begging for soul cakes, square pieces of bread with currants. In exchange for the cakes, the beggars would promise to say prayers on behalf of the donor's dead relatives. Thus the Halloween association with ghosts and souls in limbo. This week's collection of Halloween treats are for those who like to read and write ghost stories.
"There was a bright, eerie light surrounding the cave, where the man stood transfixed to the spot as if hypnotized. He could feel the fear in his mind and the evil presence that was haunting it." Come sit by the virtual campfire and read ghost stories written by the fifth and sixth grade classes of Upper Canada College Prep and Bishop Strachan School. Use the keyword search tool (enter keyword ghost) to find specific stories.
Scoutmaster R. Gary Hendra from Milpitas, California has collected ghost stories over the years, and invites readers to send more. One story, written by Lord Baden-Powell, Chief Scout, is reprinted from the December, 1932 Christmas issue of "The Scouter" in England. In Britain, reading ghost stories (such as Dickens's "Christmas Carol") in front of a flickering hearth are part of the Christmas tradition. In this country, of course, we tell ghost stories around the campfire or at Halloween.
Moonlit Road is a collection of ghost stories with "roots in Southern culture and folklore." Most stories (offered in both text and audio) are adaptations of folktales passed down through the oral tradition, but a few are new, published with permission from the author. The audio files are excellent, as are the Cultural Background pages you'll find on each story page.