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A Yorkshire Terror, 1621. Illustration: Courtesy of Wellcome Images

A Yorkshire Terror, 1621. Illustration: Wellcome Images

Ghosts vs. Aliens vs. God: Ghosts Win!

Elsewhere on this site we have ascertained that Britain is the most haunted nation on earth, hosting approximately one ghost per square mile, according to British experts on such matters. And according to a new survey conducted by Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Brits themselves are every bit as haunted as their castles and their countryside: More British adults believe in ghosts than believe in God.

Ripley’s survey of 1,500 Britons, published on October 28, 2014, revealed that 55 percent believe in ghosts, as opposed to only 25 percent who believe in God. Other supernatural beings included in the survey were aliens (51 percent), UFOs (42 percent), and angels (27 percent). [click to continue…]


The Sun Sets At Stonehenge

The Sun Sets At Stonehenge

Writers From The United Kingdom Won All Three Prizes In The Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition

Writers in Britain obviously have a knack for the supernatural. In The Ghost Story‘s new Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition, which concluded January 31, all three cash awards for flash fiction (short-short stories of under 1,000 words) on a supernatural or magic realism theme went to authors living in England and Scotland.

Scroll down through TGS‘s Home Page to read these three fine stories.

Winning honors in the competition—and its $300 first prize—went to CL Dalkin, a librarian living on the south coast of England, for her story, “A Brief Respite.”

First Honorable Mention and a $100 cash award went to Barry Charman, of North London, for his story, “Palette.”

And Second Honorable Mention, with a $50 prize, was taken by Stuart Riding of Edinburgh, Scotland, for “Kitsune.”

Our next fiction contest is The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award, for which we begin accepting submissions on February 15. Prizes are $1,000, $250, and $100 for full-length short stories of between 1.500 and 10,000 words.


Anne Boleyn, The Headless Horseman, And Roland: A Long Tradition Of Decapitated Phantoms

In 1978, when the late singer-songwriter, Warren Zevon, penned the lyrics to his haunting (and haunted) musical ballad, “Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner,” he was adding the most recent strand to a braid of literature and folklore that Western storytellers first began weaving hundreds of years ago.

The Roland character in Zevon’s song is a Norwegian mercenary soldier fighting in Africa who, at the behest of the CIA, is betrayed and murdered by his comrades. Post-death he returns as a revenant—a headless one, due to his having been decapitated by a burst of automatic gunfire—and he wanders the earth seeking revenge.

Of course, the most well-known headless ghost—also a revenant—is Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman, who appears in the 1820 story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by American author Washington Irving. [click to continue…]


Ghost Train. Photo: Jesse Draper

Ghost Train. Photo: Jesse Draper

What Is It Like To Meet A Ghost?

If you’ve seen, heard, or felt a ghost, you are far from alone. Plenty of people in our own time as well as throughout centuries past have reported some sort of contact with a disembodied spirit. For just one example, around 80 percent of elderly people who have lost a spouse say they’ve seen their dead partner at least once since she or he passed away.

In addition, scientific research tells us that most people’s haunted experiences share many similarities with those of others. The research, conducted in the form of surveys taken by Britain’s Institute of Psychophysical Research in the late 1960s and early 1970s, reveals broad consensus concerning what it’s like to see a ghost, hear a ghost, or be touched by a ghost. [click to continue…]