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The Monster She Wrote Podcast

Dec 15, 2020

The Christmas ghost story was a staple of winter festivities in Victorian and Edwardian England, so we thought we’d discuss one of the most famous ones: Elizabeth Gaskell’s “The Old Nurse’s Story.” The story is told in first person. The nurse, now an older woman, is speaking to a little girl about when her mother was a little girl. The nurse, then a young woman, found herself in a creepy old manor house in the middle of a cold and snowy winter, the only caretaker of the little girl, who had recently lost both her parents. The manor house belonged to a relative, and in Gothic fashion, secrets abound in the old home. No one ever enters the east wing, which has been permanently closed. And there is also the troubling presence of a little ghost child, who appears outside at windows during snow storms. Is she begging to be let into the warm house, or is she beckoning the nurse’s charge out into the cold? 

Recommended in this episode: Valancourt Book's collections of Christmas Ghost Stories and T. Kingfisher's The Twisted Ones

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Our social media is @MonsterWrote on Twitter and Instagram. Our email is This episode was produced and researched by Lisa and Mel. Theme music is “Misconception” by Nicolas Gasparini, used with permission.