Christmas and ghost stories may not immediately seem like two great tastes that taste great together, but they're actually a perfectly natural fit. Although it's largely forgotten now, the practice of gathering around the fire to tell spooky stories was a popular Victorian Christmas tradition for years, as evidenced in this line from “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year": There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago ...
The Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is probably the only remaining tale of a haunting that most of us associate with the holidays. But why let the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come have all the fun? Here for your festively creepy pleasure are 5 Christmas ghost stories that may send chills down your spine -- or even, oddly enough, warm your heart.
The Bright Light and the Calm Watchdog:
I had an unusual visitor on Christmas Day, 2008 and I'm pretty sure it wasn't Santa Claus passing by my house in Bloomington, Indiana. The day started in typical fashion with the opening of gifts around the Christmas tree. I served an early Christmas dinner for family and friends, and everybody departed by 5 p.m., except my sister and brother-in-law who live with me. They were sleeping in a bedroom at the end of the hall with the door open.
I went into my bedroom with my dog, Toby, and shut the door securely. I was just dozing off when I heard the latch on my bedroom door open. I waited several seconds for my sister or brother-in-law to ask me whatever they came to say, but there was no other sound. It was almost 7 p.m., so my bedroom was pitch black. I had left lights on in the kitchen and the bathroom, and there were lots of Christmas lights in the living room, so the hallway would have been well lit. I would be able to see whoever was at the door just by lifting my head.
I pushed the blankets down and lifted my head from the pillow, but just as I would have been able to see who was in the doorway, an extremely bright light hit me right in the eyes. I shielded my eyes and yelled, "Turn out that @#%$ light! You're blinding me!" The light immediately disappeared and I heard the bedroom door latch closed. My bedside light is a touch lamp, so I tapped it on and looked around the bedroom. There was no one in the bedroom except me and Toby. Toby jumped off the bed and went to the door without showing any signs of alarm. At first I wasn't frightened because Toby is a Dutch shepherd -- well trained to be an excellent watchdog and proven personal protection dog.
Since Toby was already up, I decided to go let him outside and see what Sis or brother-in-law needed. When I went into the hallway, I could see both of them still in bed. I took Toby to the living room to let him outside, and there was nobody there either.
So who opened my bedroom door and turned a spotlight on my face?
Like most people, the thoughts of loved ones are always close at hand during the holiday season. When I first went to lie down, I was thinking how happy I was that my small family had enjoyed a pleasant Christmas, but it would have been so much better if my mother and brother had still been alive to share it with us. I would like to think it was my brother's spirit stopping by to say "Merry Christmas. I still think of you, too."
I haven't been able to debunk this strange event or find any kind of rational explanation. I'm half afraid that my heart stopped during my sleep and the light I saw was the bright light people report after near-death experiences. Leave it to me to see the Stairway to Heaven and ruin my chance at eternal paradise by saying "Turn out that #$%@ light!" I've made a mental note that if I ever see another bright light to clean up my language ... just in case. - Scarlet
The Returned Relative:
It was Christmas time of 1995 or '96 at my aunt's house on a reservation in North Dakota. Some of my family was in the living room watching television, the kids were playing in the rooms or sleeping, and my uncle, aunt, and I were sitting at the table putting a puzzle together. My cousin, who worked at a casino, would come home around midnight or 1 a.m.
This night, as she pulled up and was walking toward the house, she looked in the window and saw me sitting at the table, my uncle sitting across from me, and someone standing to the left of me and someone standing in the corner, so she continued to walk in the house thinking nothing of it. As we were sitting there talking, she looked at me and asked who was standing next to me a few minutes ago and who was in the corner. I told her no one and she said, "Yeah, there was someone standing next to you. It looked like your mom and she was playing with your hair." (I have long hair, which I used to wear down all the time.) She said this person was running her hand on my hair, like a mother does to a child.
It kinda freaked me out, being I was probably only 12 or 13 at the time. My cousin swears up and down that someone was standing over me rubbing my head and watching me put the puzzle together with my aunt and uncle, and that there was another person standing behind this person. We got around to thinking it was probably her mom she saw. (She passed away on her birthday a week before Christmas back in 1992.)
In my family we consider our aunts and uncles to be just like our moms and dads. After thinking that it could have been her, it didn't scare me so much. However, we couldn't figure out who the person was standing in the corner. And always around Christmas time something strange always happens ... and we just think it's her visiting us. - V. Page
The Haunted Tree:
My parents and I lived in a small home that was around 90 years old. The year would have been 1996. We lived there from the time I was seven years old to the time I was 19. From the very day that we moved in, I felt that I was not alone. One year around Christmas time, I was having a friend spend the night. The heat had just shut off briefly and she and I were sitting in the living room watching television when the temperature dropped substantially. As I rose to turn up the heat, the Christmas tree began to shake violently. Ornaments were falling off right and left and she and I were terrified! We ran upstairs and lay down on my bed. My white cat curled up with us and my door was open slightly. When I gazed out at the dark hallway, I was horrified to see a tall white figure run down the hall. I turned to my friend and she acknowledged that she had seen the exact same thing. She never spent the night ever again. - Caitlin Williams
The Figure in the Recliner:
My mother, to whom I was very close, passed away in 1964 when I was 17 years old. I left home that year and moved to Ontario from Nova Scotia. In 1969 I met a girl whom I will call Karen and we got married in March of 1970. In December of 1971 we were expecting our first child. We were living in a small 1-1/2 bedroom bungalow. There was a fireplace in the living room. My wife and I loved the fireplace and we had it lit every night.
It was Christmas Eve, 1971, and we had just finished putting the gifts under the tree and a nice fire gave off a beautiful glow. On the tree, one string of lights, which was supposed to flash, had stopped several days before. It was five minutes to midnight when the fireplace suddenly just about went out, and the string of lights started to flash -- and the other lights stopped flashing! My wife and I were sitting on the floor and it had become very chilly in the room.
I looked over to my Lazyboy chair ... and a figure was sitting there -- my mother with a big beautiful smile on her face! My wife, who had never met my mother, said she could see the same thing. This "ghost" never spoke, but just kept looking at me and my wife and smiling.
At 12 midnight, the fire in the fireplace started up again and the lights on the tree stopped flashing and the others started flashing again. I looked over in the chair and the ghost was gone. No matter what I did to those Christmas lights, they never flashed again. - Arthur H.
The Ghostly Christmas Choir:
On Christmas Eve night, 1978 at about 3:00 a.m. in Klamath Falls, Oregon, I was suddenly awakened by a choir singing. The house was new construction, miles from the nearest church. I strained to hear any words that I could understand or a tune that I could identify, but I could not understand the language or tune. I did get a feeling of "angelic" exaltation, reverence, and gladness of heart. This was truly a heavenly choir lifting their voices on high, singing hosanna in the highest, in an unknown tongue, without accompaniment of instruments.
I examined the television, but it was turned off, as was the radio. I explored outside, but the singing was not heard outdoors. The way the countless male, female and children's voices entwined together, the tonals going from operatic highs to the deepest bass voices in perfect harmony. It must have lasted about 10 minutes, but it was touching for an eternity. - Mel
Do you believe any of these stories are really true? Have any holiday-themed hauntings of your own to share?
Image via Disney/A Christmas Carol