The Signalman: A Ghost Story for Christmas


Overtaken by insomnia, a gentleman wanders through a damp winter countryside - until he discovers the black mouth of a railway tunnel. To his amazement, deep in the gorge before the tunnel, he sees an ancient signal-man. Although at first unresponsive to his calls, the signal-man eventually invites him down to a lonely shack. It's there, over the course of two sleepless nights, that we learn the signal-man's horrifying secret: a shrouded figure haunts him, foretelling a catastrophe soon to befall that very stretch of the tracks. Has the signal-man lost his mind in the solitary dark of his profession? Or does he see the phantom of his own grizzly fate?

First published in 1866 for a special Christmas issue of All the Year Round, Charles Dickens' "The Signal-Man" has since fallen into obscurity. This beautiful reissue, designed and illustrated by the inimitable Seth, breathes new life into a work many consider one of the best Christmas ghost stories ever written. An eerie story of isolation, dread and supernatural visitation, this book is a small treasure, meant to be read aloud on a cold, dark winter night.

Steeped in traditions older than the Christmas we often celebrate in modern times, ghost stories told at Christmas were a reflection of the ideas of ending and rebirth (both of the year and crops), as well as reflecting on the darkness (both outside and within). As people gather with families, it is natural to remember those who are no longer amongst the group and to share tales with younger generations.

The Signalman is one such story that is shared with a Christmas spirit. Originally told by Charles Dickens, this single story is one in a group of Christmas Ghost Stories that are perfect for holiday gatherings.

Size: 10.2 x 15.3 cm (4 x 6 inches)