Christopher Philippo

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Christopher Philippo

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in Troy, New York, The United States

Member Since
August 2014

A historical society's website of merely 10 pages was turned by Christopher Philippo into an encyclopedic one of over 750 spanning the 17th-20th centuries. His research about forgotten 19th C. suffragist Caroline Gilkey Rogers secured a grant for a historical marker placed near her former home. He has helped with gravestone conservation in municipal, family, Catholic & Jewish cemeteries of the 18th-20th centuries in New York's Capital District, work recognized in newspaper articles & podcasts & visible from Google Satellite. He wrote the entry on Mad Love (1935) for Horror 101: The A List Of Horror Films and Monster Movies , edited the The Valancourt Book of ​Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories: Volume Four, and Five. . ...more

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Christopher Philippo 2021: Returning The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories to its home origin with volume five, after volume four's focus on North Ameri…more2021: Returning The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories to its home origin with volume five, after volume four's focus on North America, was a request by the publisher—to reset before going to explore other parts of the world. That said, it should still have surprises for readers.

For example, Derek Johnson had written "the Christmas ghost story […] is a primarily English rather than Scottish, Welsh or Irish tradition […] it was the English tradition that dominated, and in particular a London or South-East English tradition." Volume Five isn't restricted to England, however, but covers the British-Irish Isles.

"The Ghosts of the Bards: A Legend of Anglesea," for example, is set in and was published in Wales. "Hel-ya-water: A Shetland Legend of Yule Time" is set in Scotland and written by a Scottish folklorist. "The Siren: An Adventure in Manxland" is set on the Isle of Man, published in a Manx newspaper. Of stories from England, they're not just from the Southeast, but also Mid East, West Midlands, and Northwest. There's one story from an Irish newspaper, though not set there or by an Irish author; there's also documentation of how another story was reviewed by Irish papers.

Johnston, Derek. "Migrating M. R. James’ Christmas Ghost Stories to Television." Gothic Migrations: International Gothic Association Biennial Conference, 30 July 2015, Vancouver, Canada.

I'd started collecting some Christmas ghost stories over a decade ago. As with many people, the line in "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" had gotten me wondering about the tradition.

Aside from purchasing The Complete Ghost Stories of Charles Dickens, edited by Peter Haining, (back in 2008) I hadn't bought any Christmas ghost story anthologies until last year. When I would look for such ghost stories over the years, I'd mainly try finding them in old magazines and newspapers. A lot of the research I do, regardless of topic, involves searching periodicals.

In 2019, reading the first volume of The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, I returned to thinking about that song and wondered if there were any other Christmas songs referencing ghosts. Not many! A number of very old Christmas carols do make mention of ghosts or other dark themes, but are rarely sung today. I did, however, find a number of Christmas ghost poems, including ones that made that their major theme rather than a mere reference in one line.

Noticing that Valancourt Books had published Victorian Christmas ghost story anthologies three years in a row, each with a different editor, but then stopped with volume three in 2018, I put out an initial feeler and then a formal proposal. The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories Volume Four developed from there, with some changes in direction suggested by the publishers.(less)
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More books by Christopher Philippo…

The Story of the Fantom Ass—Judge Byers’ Change of Heart

"A Christmas Carol: The Story of the Fantom Ass—Judge Byers’ Change of Heart" is an 1886 short story printed in Texas Siftings that I'd transcribed for the Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories volume four, that had focused on North American stories. For the most part we ended up steering away from humorous examples like that one, thinking that modern readers' interest in the subgen Read more of this blog post »
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Published on January 07, 2023 11:47 Tags: christmas-ghost-stories

Christopher’s Recent Updates

The Valancourt Book of ​Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories by Christopher Philippo
"Nothing beats volume two! But this is a great entry in this series. This volume features mainly American and Canadian writers, including Stephen Leacock."
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