Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Literary Ghosts


Every week The Broke and the Bookish conjure up a new Top Ten list for us book bloggers to write about but this one is a Halloween-related freebie. Two years ago I wrote a list of my favourite spooktacular reads (see here) so this year I have decided to take on the literary undead and list my favourite ghosts and ghouls of stories past and present…

Ghosts 1

Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-PorpingtonHarry Potter series by JK Rowling
Of all the ghosts of Hogwarts, Nearly-Headless Nick is my favourite. From his Deathday party to an application to the Headless Hunt he is a brilliant secondary character who adds a little bit more richness to the magical wizarding world.

Inspector GooleAn Inspector Calls by JB Priestley
Who was that strange man? That is the question that rises in the minds of audience and characters alike at the end of Priestley’s searching play. I studied this at GCSE and fell in love with the question of ghostly consciousness created by the mysterious inspector…

Liza HempstockThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The ghost of witch Liza Hempstock is one of the many beautifully brought-to-life characters in Gaiman’s graveyard tale. She is feisty, tough but almost tragic in her love for Bod as she comes to realise that their time together is limited to his ties to the yard.

Ghosts 2

King Hamlet – Shakespeare’s Hamlet
His appearance is only brief but the effect of the king’s ghostly appearance is all-too consuming for his son, Hamlet. The driving force behind this dramatic play lies in the secrets of the unrestful dead…

Jacob MarleyA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This story, and my favourite Christmas tale, centres on the appearance of Marley – a businessman whose torturous afterlife compels him to save his business partner from the same fate. Once Marley appears, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who show him his life in glaring light in the hope he will redeem himself before judgement day.

Miss Jessel and Peter QuintThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James
These ghostly apparitions in James’ gothic novel are cause of the governess’ slow decent into madness as their existence and effect on the children, Miles and Flora, is forever in flux. An unreliable narrator and a dangerously disturbed gothic twist makes for a classic and excellently spooky Halloween read!

Ghosts 3

Sadaka YamamuraRing by Koji Suzuki
Made famous by the film franchise, this is the book that spawned the psychological horror series. A trapped soul is seeking vengeance for the torture she experienced within her short but tragic life and it seems that no one can escape the seven day sentence a left-behind video tape places on your head…

ErikThe Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Phantom of the Opera is probably most famously known as the musical brought to life by Andrew Lloyd Webber but the book is just as rich and good a read. A mysterious character plagues the theatre when he becomes entranced by the voice of the new leading lady… (Also I love that his name is Erik – it is my go-to literary fact!)

MillieThe Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
This is of my favourite Michael Morpurgo’s but it is also heart-achingly sad when you realise just who the narrator is. Millie’s tale of Bertie and his white lion, told to a runaway school boy, is picture perfect and so beautifully told.

The Woman in BlackThe Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Susan Hill’s short but effective ghost story is a quintessential gothic read for any fan of the ghosts and ghouls. Suspense is built, reached and rebuilt effortlessly throughout that you may need to take short breaks in reading just to make it through!


7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Literary Ghosts

    • It was a close-run thing, but Nick had the edge for me because he opens up the ghost world to the reader more than any other character in HP. I didn’t want a list of Harry Potter ghosts but I could easily have written one! Thanks for visiting 🙂

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