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Ghosts of Christmas past: Why were the Victorians so ghastly good at ghost stories?

Christmas Eve was traditionally the time to tell scary stories round the hearth. And 19th-century writers proved fearsomely adept Curl up by the fire and I’ll tell you a ghost story. Don’t be alarmed by the creak of the floorboards, the murmurs in the basement, the shrill ululations of a…