‘Tis now the very witching time of year, when churchyards yawn and we round up some of the best podcasts and articles from the past twelve months across READ, featuring ghosts, the gothic and other spectral things.
Are ghosts real? The result of hoaxes? Or just the product of the overactive imaginations of those who think they perceive them? Richard Sugg shares excerpts from his collection of ghostly Victorian newspaper reports, and speculates about the different causes that may lie behind each tale.
The Ghostly Vicar-Many people are sceptical about the existence of ghosts, but one of the unusual features of ghost stories through the ages is the range of people who report seeing spectres, including those we might normally expect not to believe in them. This was the case with the family of a Wesleyan minister in 1893, which inhabited a... Continue Reading →
The Servant Who Was Frightened to Death-We often joke about being “frightened to death,” but it appears that in the nineteenth century some people really could be killed by fear. In 1864, as reported by a newspaper of the time, a young servant died after a dressing-up prank went horribly, terrifyingly wrong. In this extract from his recent book, Richard Sugg explains that the case shows... Continue Reading →
A Ghost in the Water Closet?-In this extract from his new book, Richard Sugg investigates the strange noises that haunted an entire neighbourhood in Windsor in 1841, as reported by a newspaper of the time. This is a classic Victorian poltergeist case, and given the technology available it seems hard to determine how it could have been perpetrated as a hoax. So what... Continue Reading →
A Century of Supernatural Stories-Spectral cats; magical candles; parents murdering their fairy children. In his new book, Richard Sugg presents A Century of Supernatural Stories, a collection of compelling nineteenth-century newspaper accounts of seemingly supernatural phenomena. Presented along with Sugg’s own interpretations of what the strange events, and the way they were perceived, might tell us both about the society of the... Continue Reading →
Follow Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough on as she explores the weird landscapes that have inspired writers such as Philip Pullman and A.S. Byatt.
The Supernatural North-Join Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough on a journey to Arctic Norway, in search of the legends and landscapes that have inspired writers as diverse as Philip Pullman, AS Byatt, and the authors of the medieval Icelandic sagas. Eleanor’s BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature is available to download now. As the dark winter nights draw in, our thoughts turn to... Continue Reading →
If you are looking for something to read this Halloween, Curtis Runstedler shares his favourite books featuring werewolves.
Top Ten Werewolf Books of All Time-Looking for a few good werewolf reads this summer? Curtis Runstedler counts down the best of the best. From Remus Lupin to Bisclavret to the Gmork, there are werewolves here to terrify, surprise, thrill, and delight – and not only during the full moon! If you have a favourite werewolf book, share it with us on... Continue Reading →
The poetry of William Wordsworth is littered with ghosts and haunted sites. Listen to Mark Sandy explore the way Wordsworth uses the spectral as a figure for the poetic imagination.
READ publicises the research conducted by the Department of English Studies at Durham University. It features a blog on literature and books, book reviews, bookchat, podcasts and lectures on literature. READ also publicises literature and cultural events in the North East.
Where indicated, posts represent the views of their individual authors. Not everything that appears on this blog, including individual ideas or opinions, is necessarily endorsed by the Department of English Studies or by Durham University.