Victorian Ghost Stories
Victorian ghost stories reflect a golden age of the paranormal. The Victorian society devoured these tales of darkness and light. The greatest ghost story of this age was penned by Charles Dickens. His tale, A Christmas Carol, remains one of the most retold Victorian ghost stories of all time.
The White Lady
The tale of the White Lady is found throughout the regions of Great Britain and the United States. It's said that sometime during the 1800s, the White Lady lost her children. Different versions claim it was due to a disaster, a murder or that the children simply disappeared.
In all cases, she wandered the rest of her life in search of her children. In nearly all versions of this Victorian ghost story, she either died from a broken heart or committed suicide. After death, the White Lady continued her search in spirit form. She's reported to be kind to women and children, but vengeful towards men.
The Bell Witch
The Bell Witch was one of the most famous Victorian ghost stories. This 1817 Tennessee folklore pre-dates the Victorian Era.
The tale is so pervasive that several films have been made about the Bell family and their encounters with the witch.
Every family member was affected, including the Bell children, who had various communications from the spirit. The property that the family owned continues to receive visitors to this day; all hoping to catch a glimpse of the Bell Witch.
In the 1800s, Marie Laveau was a well-known Creole voodou (also voodoo) practitioner from New Orleans. Marie and her daughter (also known as Marie Laveau) were held in high regard within the Cajun and Creole communities. Their magic and their spectacles were a sight to behold, but the legend of Marie Laveau took on a new layer after her death in 1881 at the age of 98 (or so it is believed). Many residents, friends, acquaintances, and even those who only knew of her reputation, swore they saw the Voodou Queen strolling through New Orleans. Bad men and women were well-advised to stay out of her path.
Ghost of Drury Lane
Ever since it was built in the early 1800s, Drury Lane has been known as London's most haunted theater. It's said that many ghostly figures are permanent residents. Many buildings, homes and theaters once stood on the same ground, but Drury Lane has survived the longest. Among some of its most prominent ghosts is the Man in Grey who appears dressed in eighteenth century clothing. Other ghosts seen in the theater include those of actors who died while performing in or around the theater itself.
The Lincoln Bedroom
This favorite Victorian ghost story continues into the twenty-first century. The room in the White House known as the Lincoln Bedroom was actually President Lincoln's office during his presidency. After his death, it was rumored that his ghost could be felt pacing the room and even seen in other areas of the White House. In more recent history, people who've reported seeing him include Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and First Ladies Grace Coolidge and Eleanor Roosevelt. To this day, the sense of Lincoln's presence is so strong that many who visit the Lincoln Bedroom leave as believers in ghosts.
Fact or Fiction
Victorian ghost stories come in all shapes and sizes that include tales of loss, murder, hauntings, and terror. The Victorian era was at the height of spiritualism both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Many searched for answers through literature (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula), the occult and mediums, who claimed to communicate with those in the afterlife.