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"13 Traditional Ghost Stories From Lincolnshire" Book Review

Written by Michael Wray
Illustrations by Anne Marshall
Edited by Chris Firth


I was born in Orkney, but I grew up in Lincolnshire. I went to primary school there and only moved back to Scotland after I had started at John Leggott College. As a result, I feel a certain connection with the place.

Growing up in a village on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, I was very aware of the ghost stories around where I lived. My mum grew up in Epworth, so I was well accustomed to the tale of Old Jeffery that is featured in this book. Our house, itself, was very old and I'm pretty sure it was haunted. It talked - creepy floorboards when no-one was there, doors closing when I couldn't feel a draught - that sort of thing. Close to our house there used to be a wood where apparently someone hanged themselves. We were also down the road from Thornton Abbey with its headless ghost who sometimes runs across the road. (The story, as I heard it, was that someone was fishing in the monastery pond and a monk chopped his head off with a spade! Barbaric stuff!)

As a result, I really loved reading through the stories contained in this delight of a book. As my sister pointed out, they are written mirroring the oral tradition of ghost stories. They are written down as you might say them, and important words and phrases are made bold in the text. You can almost imagine a family or an old group of friends sitting around the hearth telling each other chilling tales as the nights draw in.

Even the font used for these words in bold is well chosen. Very olde worlde!

Because it is written how it would be said, the stories are easy to read. You don't have to plough through reams of exquisite description to find the story hidden away.

The illustrations are also very well done, with a sense of antiquity and individuality which reflects some of the delights of Lincolnshire.

Basically, I really enjoyed this book!! There are a couple of small mistakes. Nothing too much and something that a reader can easily skip over. Also, there are 14 stories in this book - not 13. But this is just me being a bit pedantic!

I was initially confused because there are also 3 mini-paragraph-stories about Johnny i' the Grass. These stories start exactly the same. I thought it was just an error in the publishing but since realised that the stories are slightly different.

Overall, this was a really delightful booklet that I would happily pick up again from the shelf and read through.

You can buy a copy of this book here.

We are running our own Ghost Story Competition to celebrate the tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas. Stories (up to 4000 words) can be submitted to by the 31st September 2017. The winners will be announced on the 6th November 2017 and the subsequent anthology will be published in time for Christmas! You can find more details about this competition (including information on prizes!) here.


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