The English Ghost, Hardback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The English, Peter Ackroyd tells us in this fascinating collection, see more ghosts than any other nation.

Each region has its own particular spirits, from the Celtic ghosts of Cornwall to the dobies and boggarts of the north.

Some speak and some are silent, some smell of old leather, others of fragrant thyme.

From medieval times to today, stories have been told and apparitions seen - ghosts who avenge injustice, souls who long for peace, spooks who just want to have fun. "The English Ghost" is a treasury of such sightings - which we can believe or not, as we will.

The accounts, packed with eerie detail, range from the door-slamming, shrieking ghost of Hinton Manor in the 1760s and the moaning child that terrified Wordsworth's nephew at Cambridge, to the headless bear of Kidderminster, the violent demon of Devon who tried to strangle a man with his cravat and the modern-day hitchhikers on Blue Bell Hill.

Comical and scary, like all good ghost stories, these curious incidents also plumb the depths of the English psyche in its yearnings for justice, freedom and love.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Ghosts & poltergeists
  • ISBN: 9780701169893

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

After a short but informative introduction which concludes 'It is merely stating the obvious to observe that the witnesses [ to the following ghostly happenings] here fully believed in the reality of what they had seen or experienced. Whether the reader chooses to believe in it is another matter.' There then follows,details and reports of hauntings over the whole of the country,given in some cases with headings to tie them in with newspaper reports and books.A useful Bibliography completes the book.

Review by

Very much in the tradition of Elliott O'Donnell this gives an account of alleged hauntings without comment and with very little detail of the places involved. One gets the impression that the Ackroyd has not really researched the subject but merely reprinted other accounts. A nice christmas present but I was hoping for a little more substance.

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