Friday, December 26, 2014

The 12 Scares of Christmas: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Tonight, we continue a seasonal series, exploring the darker side of Christmas. In this season of the darkest nights of the year and ancient traditions celebrating the passing of the season, those of us who are lucky enough to have haunted hearts appreciate the darker, creepy and sometimes terrifying aspects of the winter holiday-- some of which could not be more a part of the Christmas holiday in their own right.

      The fifth scare of Christmas needs no introduction. Easily the scariest installment among Scrooge's Christmas Eve visitors, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come has been scaring Scrooge-- and readers and viewers-- for 171 years. 

       The Last of the Spirits has made the Grim Reaper as synonymous with Christmas as the big man in the red suit. Shown almost always in long, black robes which call to mind the most classic depictions of the grim reaper-- the spirit who comes for souls to take them to death-- this last Ghost shows Scrooge the bleakness of the Future, one where Tiny Tim has died, and Scrooge himself sits alone, reviled and physically forgotten, in a cold, snowy churchyard cemetery.

Disney's "The Muppet Christmas Carol" 1992

      Whether depicted without a face, or with a skeleton face revealed beneath the hood, this Ghost is silent and scary. He caps off Scrooges night and the plea from beyond the grave by leaving Scrooge with the thoughts of all he has remembered and seen-- in the past, present and future-- and offers him no insight but what he can show him. In some adaptations, the Ghost leaves Scrooge alone in the cemetery, in others Scrooge falls through to his grave, his coffin-- ending up back in his bed, safe and alive but changed. All in all, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to come does his best to bring some haunting into the Decemeber season.
A Christmas Carol - Illustrator P. J. Lynch.
Illustrator: P. J. Lynch

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