Let us begin with a ghost story. In 1872, fourteen-year-old Agnes McDonough announced that she was communicating with the spirit of her deceased father. She was part of a community of Irish Americans who settled in Virginia City, Nevada, home to the fabulous Comstock Lode and the Big Bonanza (giving its name to a famous television show). Crediting her father’s ghost, the young girl revealed insights about the afterworld, all scrutinized by a local priest who hoped to control the sensational aspects of the incident.
Articles about female ghosts are scattered across the Internet, each one more compelling and nightmare-inducing than the last. Stories of lonely, ferocious, and tortured ghosts of women haunt our imaginations across cultures, tapping into our deepest anxieties and fears to make us shiver…and behave.
Here we examine five female ghosts from around the world through a feminist lens. Each of these hair-raising spirits arise from a context just as frightening as the ghosts themselves.
In 1078, William the Conqueror built a white tower on the north bank of the River Thames that would become the most prominent part of the Tower of London. But there is more to the tower than just a tourist attraction. From the ghosts that are said to haunt its walls, to the ravens protecting both the castle and the city itself, there are many stories and superstitions surrounding the Tower of London.
The residents of a Swansea street were shocked to be able to recognise the ghostly spirit haunting their home, but were even more frightened as the ghost had been a murderer when alive…
Welsh miners of the nineteenth century held strong superstitions in supernatural elements, which they believed existed deep in the mines.