Monday, 6 October 2014

The Signal-Man (a ghost story)

This there were major disruptions on the train line, so I arrived late at work. I don't mind when it is late in autumn, I can read more scary stories to put myself in a Halloween mood. I mentioned it here. But anyway, I said to my fellow disgruntled commuters that we needed a signalman. It made a few people smile. I was thinking of course about The Signal-Man, the ghost story written by Dickens which I discovered a few months ago in its play adaptation. Which I am going to read soon in this book. But you can find it in many anthologies of ghost stories. As I mentioned here, I love that it mixes elements of modernity and in particular technological progress with the supernatural. A common trope in many XIXth century ghost stories, and modern ones too. This morning, I was thinking that however technologically advanced we are, we are still vulnerable to nature and malfunctions of human inventions. Which is maybe the main theme of Dickens' story. I took this picture of a signal box in Devon, on the steam train from Totnes to Buckfastleigh. I was thinking of ghost and ghost stories. Like I did today. And I am certain you now noticed that you just read tonight's countdown to Halloween post.


Mantan Calaveras said...

Speaking of modernity mixxing with the supernatural.

Our movie production house is haunted by the ghost of an old lady, presumably the prior owner.

One of the ways that she manifests herself, is by ringing the doorbell.

Specifically, she makes it play the Westminster Quarters chime.

The Artful Gypsy aka Wendy the Very Good Witch said...

There's something about that title "The Signal-Man" that just sounds spooky to me, and I'm not sure why! I've never read the story, but you are right in that we seem to be ever more at the mercy nowadays of the technology that practically owns us! That in itself is pretty scary!

Guillaume said...

@Mantan-Cool story! Sort of remind me of SHining City by Conor McPherson.
@Wendy-It is a great ghost story, and I agree the name is kind of spooky. What does one signal but danger?