What could be more worthy of a Christmas episode than a ghost story? Answer: twelve ghost stories! This week Mike and Will find plenty of seasonal cheer in the scribblings of a 15th century monk from Yorkshire, whose collected tales of wandering spirits Monty transcribed in 1922. Expect lashings of purgatorial terrors, a stocking-full of redemption and a whole load of bad wassailing, ghostly and otherwise*, as we explore Twelve Medieval Ghost Stories.
- The Byland Abbey Project has all the stories, plus translation notes and commentary on each story. Invaluable!
- Ghosts in Medieval Yorkshire, by Jacqueline Simpson, is a fantastic article, not least for Jacqueline’s analysis of the different roots of James’ ghost stories and these medieval tales.
- Mark Gatiss talks about medieval manuscripts with a curator at the Fitzwilliam Museum in his 2013 documentary Ghostwriter (contains images some listeners will hopefully find disturbing).
- Death and the Afterlife – a British Library article with examples of medieval Books of Hours and other context for understanding the 15th century view of mortality, purgatory and salvation.
- Underrated BBC Radio 4 discussion show Beyond Belief (it’s great, even for atheists!) ran an episode on purgatory, which may not be available to listeners outside of the UK.
Happy Christmas and we’ll see you again in 2016!
* no, seriously. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.