Everyone loves a ghost story at Christmas don’t they?
These real-life tales of haunted houses (left) are taken from the first volume of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Originally launched in 1882 to, in its members’ own words, make “an organised and systematic attempt to investigate that large group of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and Spiritualistic”, the Society collected and examined accounts of events that were – as yet – unexplainable by scientific principles or laws. Among them were reports of “apparitions at the moment of death…[o]r regarding disturbances in houses reputed to be haunted.” While the Society’s efforts at uncovering the scientific reasoning behind these seemingly unnatural occurrences were to prove inconclusive, the material collected in that search makes for fascinating – and slightly spooky – modern reading.
The Central Library holds the Society’s proceedings from its founding in 1882 to 1901, together with two histories and a volume of additional materials by Society Council members Edmund Gurney, Frederic Myers and Frank Podmore. So, why not make a visit to the library one cold and dark winters’ day, pull up a chair in some forgotten nook or cranny, and immerse yourself in some real ghost stories?