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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

ART 673: Graduate Student Critique (Martin): Home

Spring 2021 Theme: Ghosts


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:

A fantastic, long-form reference article about ghosts from a variety of areas of life, history, culture, etc.

Reference Sources

Some specific sources that may be of interest:

Topic: Historiography

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.

Topic: Hauntology

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 Dance

Ghost Month

Ghost in the Machine - The mind ('ghost') as distinct from the body ('machine').

Ghost Train

Ghost Town

Ghost Photograph

Cyclic Ghosts

Magical Realism


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.

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.

Films in our collection

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