As Christmas week rolls around I’m switching to a couple of gentler, humorous ghost stories. This may or may not be in keeping with the traditional customs of winter tales, but it’s been my custom. This is my regular story for the week, and I’ll present another one on Christmas Eve.
This week’s tale is “The Ghosts of Grantley,” by Leonard Kip. Grantley Grange boasts not one, but two remarkably similar ghosts: one for the upstairs and one for the downstairs. They show up regularly every Christmas, and they don’t seem to know that they’re dead! Can our hero convince them of this unpleasant reality so that they can move on?
Given the setting of the tale, I was surprised to discover that the author, Leonard Kip, is an American. He seems to be chiefly remembered today for his memoirs of his experiences in the California Gold Rush. This is a bit ironic, since he disliked California and returned to his native New York, settling in Albany for a career in law. He did, however, continue to write, and “The Ghosts at Grantley” was originally written for one of the Christmas numbers of The Argus, an Albany, NY periodical. I couldn’t figure out the exact first publication date of the story, but four of Kip’s Argus Christmas contributions, along with two other stories, were collected into the volume Hannibal’s Man and Other Tales in 1878.
As I mentioned, this story is played for humor, but it is a real ghost story, with a fairly grim story behind the haunting. I hope you enjoy reading it as you get ready for Christmas week.
A list (with links) of the winter tales I’ve shared in previous years is on my Winter Tales page.
Portrait of Sir John Sherard, John Riley (c. 1675) Source: WikiArt
Featured image: Locksley Hall, illustration by William Goodrich Beal for Tennyson Gems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (c. 1889). Source: Old Book Illustrations