Monday, 24 October 2016

My Favourite Ghosts.

Monks. Monks have always been my favourite ghosts. More mysterious than grey ladies, more believable than headless horsemen, more subtle than Japanese women with unkempt black hair climbing out of TV sets, they are the supreme exponents of the haunting art.

You must admit that while monks with bald heads (OK, ‘tonsures’ if you must expect me to declare a modicum of erudition) hoeing the fields are pretty nondescript, monks with their heads covered and their faces hidden are already a bit other-worldly, so seeing one standing in your garden just as you’re about to go to bed, or walking through a quiet autumnal wood while the birds fall silent, is doubly so.

That’s why I find the final scene of The Masque of the Red Death, in which a red-robed monk complete with capacious cowl is talking to a little girl, so memorable. And it’s why my novel begins with young Brendan Bradshaw meeting a hooded figure in his local wood on a still day in November.

Only he isn’t actually a ghost as such. He’s more mysterious than that. Mmm…

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