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article imageReview: Dickensian ghost stories for Halloween Special

By Tim Sandle     Oct 30, 2016 in Entertainment
London - Halloween is perfect for the reading of ghost stories, and one of the masters of the genre was Charles Dickens. Over the weekend leading into Halloween, stories have been retold in the oral tradition beloved by Dickens.
Charles Dickens' ghost stories —apart from 'A Christmas Carol' — are not as well known as his major novels. Nonetheless, Dickens was a superb teller of stories of the supernatural and he authored several short stories that dealt with the world of spirits and macabre.
A reconstruction of a Victorian kitchen at the Charles Dickens Museum  London.
A reconstruction of a Victorian kitchen at the Charles Dickens Museum, London.
Dickens was not only a writer, he also regularly gave lectures, and held recitals of his work. Keeping with the oral tradition of storytelling, the Charles Dickens Museum in London, in the build-up to Halloween, has re-enacted Dickens' love of reading aloud to an audience, hosting an event where three of Dickens' ghost stories are read, against a back-drop of flickering candle light, to a captivated audience.
Spooky looking pumpkins at the Dickens Museum.
Spooky looking pumpkins at the Dickens Museum.
The Charles Dickens Museum is located at 48 Doughty Street in Holborn, London. The museum occupies the Georgian terraced house that was Charles Dickens's home from 25 March 1837 (a year after his marriage) to December 1839.
The door leading to the Georgian townhouse where Charles Dickens once lived  in London.
The door leading to the Georgian townhouse where Charles Dickens once lived, in London.
The museum is perfectly decorated with furnishings from the Victorian era.
Recreation of Dickens  dining room  at the Charles Dickens Museum  London.
Recreation of Dickens' dining room, at the Charles Dickens Museum, London.
Victorian study  Charles Dickens museum.
Victorian study, Charles Dickens museum.
While living in the house, Dickens completed the novel 'The Pickwick Papers' (1836), he wrote arguably his best-known novel 'Oliver Twist' (1838) as 'Nicholas Nickleby' (1838–39).
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is a novel by Charles Dickens. Originally published as ...
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is a novel by Charles Dickens. Originally published as a serial from 1838 to 1839, it was Dickens' third novel. Original copy on show at the Dickens Museum.
Dickens also began work on 'Barnaby Rudge', a novel which was completed in 1841.
A ghost-like shadow of Charles Dickens  at the Dickens Museum in London.
A ghost-like shadow of Charles Dickens, at the Dickens Museum in London.
Dickens's ghost stories extend across the realm of horror and the supernatural, with tales of murder, suicide, existential terror, undercover ghosts, child butchery, cannibalism, deals with Satan and executions.
Staircase in the Charles Dickens Museum  London.
Staircase in the Charles Dickens Museum, London.
Whether Dickens believed in ghosts himself is uncertain; however, Dickens stimulated Victorian interest in the supernatural even thoough he sought rational explanations for it.
The stories recited were 'The Ghost in the Bride's Chamber', 'Captain Murder' and 'The Signalman.'
A reconstruction of Charles Dickens  writing desk at the Dickens Museum  London.
A reconstruction of Charles Dickens' writing desk at the Dickens Museum, London.
'The Ghost in the Bride's Chamber', covers an eerie tale of a man who spends the night in a room in an inn; a twin-bedded room where the other bed is occupied by a dead body. 'Captain Murder' is perhaps the most humorous of Dickens' ghost stories. It tells the dark tale of Captain Murder, Bluebeard (the French Barbe bleue tradition of serial murdering husbands) who cuts his wives throats and cannibalizes them.
'The Signalman' is generally considered to be Dickens’ best ghost story. It is a disturbing mystery that challenges assumptions about fate, purpose and free will. This tale describes am meeting between a gentleman who befriends a very nervous railroad worker who operates a signal close to a tunnel at the bottom of a ravine. The signalman recounts how he has been haunted by a faceless phantom, who appears to predict a railway disaster.
Actor Dominic Gerrard reading some of Charles Dickens  ghost stories  October 2016.
Actor Dominic Gerrard reading some of Charles Dickens' ghost stories, October 2016.
The stories were retold by the actor Dominic Gerrard, who masterfully afflicted a range of emotions to convey the spooky atmosphere the different tales demanded.
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