Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Getting Started with Ghosts
In Old English times, ghost was simply a synonym for ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’(a sense preserved in Holy Ghost)’, it did not acquire its modern connotations of the ‘disembodied spirit of a dead person appearing among the living’ until the 14th century. However, since it has been traced back to Indo-European *ghois- or *gheis-, which also produced Old Norse geisa ‘rage’, Sanskrit hédas ‘anger’, and Gothic usgaisjan ‘terrify’, it could well be that its distant ancestor denoted as frightening concept as the modern English word does. The Old English form of the word was gāst, which in Middle English became gost, the gh- spelling, probably inspired by Flemish gheest, first appeared at the end of the 15th century, and gradually established itself over the next hundred years.
ghost. (2006). In J. Ayto, Word origins (2nd ed.). A&C Black. Credo Reference: https://login.proxy195.nclive.org/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/acbwordorig/ghost/0?institutionId=2378
A fantastic, long-form reference article about ghosts from a variety of areas of life, history, culture, etc.
700+ full-text encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books from the world’s leading publishers, providing authoritative information in the form of quick facts and in-depth articles. Find background information, key concepts, historical context, and lists of the best books on a topic.
Some specific sources that may be of interest:
Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained by Alien abductions, bleeding trees, crop circles, phantom funerals, and mysterious showers of fish all feature in this uniquely wide-ranging and balanced guide to unexplained phenomena. Many carefully researched entries shed light on such diverse and controversial subjects as cryptozoology, folklore, fringe science, ghosts, spiritualism, UFOs, and witchcraft. Fascinating, illuminating, and highly readable, Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained is an essential reference for anyone interested in exploring the boundary between the everyday and the extraordinary.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2007-12-19
Encyclopedia of Spirits and Ghosts in World Mythology by Of all the anomalous phenomenon reported, ghost sightings are by far the most common. The words "ghost" and "spirit" are used interchangeably in American English but in other cultures the lingering souls of the departed are not to be confused with ancestral spirits, demonic spirits, numens or poltergeists. This encyclopedia lists hundreds of entities of the spirit realm--from aatxe to zuzeca--from world mythology and folklore.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2016-03-10
We have a large collection of historiography texts (print & eBook). They cover a wide variety of historical topics including communism, women in the middle ages, Judaism in the Roman Empire, and just about everything else. If you are new to this topic, I recommend trying some of our reference sources (like Credo) to explore the topic.
Hauntology is a neologism introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1993 book Spectres of Marx. The concept refers to the return or persistence of elements from the past, as in the manner of a ghost. It has since been invoked in fields such as visual arts, philosophy, electronic music, politics, fiction and literary criticism. (From Wikipedia)
Phrases, Concepts, & Other Bits
Ghost in the Machine - The mind ('ghost') as distinct from the body ('machine').
The Woman in White
The Woman in Black
Non-Fiction books in our collection
We have a good selection of books on ghosts and related topics. It's too long a list to put them all here, but I have a fewinteresting titles to mention below. You can search the catalog by keyword or by subject to explore the collection.
Ghosts of the Carolinas by Nancy Roberts's Southern Ghost Lore Revival--Exhumed and Improved for Fearless Readers
Contents: The talking corpse -- The ring -- The phantom rider of Bush River -- The witch cat -- The gray man -- Tsali, the Cherokee brave -- The ghost of Litchfield -- City of death -- House of the opening door -- The ghosts of Hagley -- Return from the dead -- Whistle while you haunt -- The brown mountain lights -- Alice of The Hermitage -- The night the spirits called -- Swamp girl
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2019-10-11
Cherokee Myths and Legends by Retelling 30 myths and legends of the Eastern Cherokee, this book presents the stories with important details providing a culturally authentic and historically accurate context. Background information is given within each story so the reader may avoid reliance on glossaries, endnotes, or other explanatory aids. The reader may thus experience the stories more as their original audiences would have. This approach to adapting traditional literature derives from ideas found in reader-response and translation theory and from research in cognitive psychology and sociolinguistics.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2014-10-31
Fiction in our collection
Like our non-fiction collection, we have a really great selection of fiction in our collection. I just wanted to highlight a couple of titles to plant the idea that fiction may be a great option for exploring this topic.
Affinity by An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women's ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London's grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank's murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina's gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina's freedom, and her own.
Call Number: (Copies at UNCA & ASU)
Publication Date: 2002-01-08
Lincoln in the Bardo by On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son's body. Willie finds himself in a strange purgatory-- the bardo-- where ghosts commisserate quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance... and where a struggle erupts over his soul. Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel - in its form and voice - completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace
Call Number: PS3569.A7897 L56 2017
Publication Date: 2017-02-14
Even As We Breathe by Nineteen-year-old Cowney Sequoyah yearns to escape his hometown of Cherokee, North Carolina, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. When a summer job at Asheville's luxurious Grove Park Inn and Resort brings him one step closer to escaping the hills that both cradle and suffocate him, he sees it as an opportunity. With World War II raging in Europe, the inn is the temporary home of Axis diplomats and their families, who are being held as prisoners of war. Soon, Cowney's refuge becomes a cage when the daughter of one of the residents goes missing and he finds himself accused of abduction and murder. Even As We Breathe invokes the elements of bone, blood, and flesh as Cowney navigates difficult social, cultural, and ethnic divides.
Call Number: eBook & Print copies
Publication Date: 2020-09-08
Films in our collection
To Sleep with Anger by A slow-burning masterwork of the early 1990s, this third feature by Charles Burnett is a singular piece of American mythmaking. In a towering performance, Danny Glover plays the enigmatic southern drifter Harry, a devilish charmer who turns up out of the blue on the South Central Los Angeles doorstep of his old friends. In short order, Harry’s presence seems to cast a chaotic spell on what appeared to be a peaceful household, exposing smoldering tensions between parents and children, tradition and change, virtue and temptation. Interweaving evocative strains of gospel and blues with rich, poetic-realist images, To Sleep with Anger is a sublimely stirring film from an autonomous artistic sensibility, a portrait of family resilience steeped in the traditions of African American mysticism and folklore.
Call Number: PVH.T618
The Devil's Backbone by Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones.
Call Number: PVH.D495 DISC 1-2
Publication Date: 2001
The Uninvited by A pair of siblings from London (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price—and soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. Rich in atmosphere, The Uninvited, directed by Lewis Allen, was groundbreaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience, featuring a classic score by Victor Young. A tragic family past, a mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night—this gothic Hollywood classic has it all.
Call Number: PVH.U553
Publication Date: 1944
Other film suggestions
For all of the suggested films, I'm linking to the film via JustWatch which will show where you can stream the film if you are interested. If you are relying on streaming services, I recommend using JustWatch to look up titles.
BBC Radio 4 - A History of Ghosts
Kirsty Logan explores the evolution of Ghost Lore across 12 episodes for BBC Radio 4