19th century engraving depicting ball lightning

Whether there is any necessary link between a devotion to afternoon sweets, queuing, and windowbox gardening on the one hand, and a passion for the ghost story on the other, would be hard to say. But one can assert without question about that puzzling thing, the English national temper, that it shows a deep affinity for the tale sprung from a restless grave.

In the last two centuries, beginning with Sir Walter Scott, the ghost story has flourished in England with an artistry and range probably unmatched throughout the world. Dickens, George Eliot, Gaskell, Hardy, Kipling, Wells, de la Mare, Maugham, and Elizabeth Bowen all composed ghost...

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