Recently Anthony Stallard, 24, was fined for 'pretending to be a ghost… in a cemetery' in Portsmouth. It seems fair to assume that the witnesses, who reported a group 'engaging in rowdy behaviour and one of them throwing their arms in the air and saying "woooooo"', after an evening’s drinking, found the imitation more distasteful than terrifying. And it also seems reasonable to imagine that, had Stallard been alone, and cloaked in a white sheet for his imitation, few people would have been frightened by the sight. By contrast, throughout the 19th century, most people believed in ghosts. And when somebody decided to imitate one, a white sheet and some dark shadows were sometimes quite enough to frighten their victim to death.
Over the past 18 months we've been slowly digitising the remaining portion of our magazine archive, comprising the years from 1951 to 1979, and adding them to the website.
In this episode of the podcast, the American documentary filmmaker Ken Burns talks to Paul Lay about his latest documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.