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Home > Features > Haunted Holidays > Charles Dickens - A Ghost Writer

CHARLES DICKENS - A GHOST WRITER?
by Davy Russell
ORIGINALLY POSTED: 19 December 2000


Charles Dickens, author of the classic novel, A Christmas Carol, died before completing his final novel in 1870. The Mystery of Edwin Drood was being published in installments. Some speculate that Dickens maintained his loyalty to his readers post mortem by finishing his novel through a medium in Brattleborro, Vermont.

In his book, Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls, and Unsolved Mysteries, Joseph Citro relates a peculiar partnership between Thomas Power James, and the spirit of Charles Dickens. As the story goes, James met Dickens while attending a seance one night in 1872. Through automatic writing, Dickens requested a private meeting with James on the 15th of November. The deceased author requested James help to complete his unfinished work. James agreed, and the writing began on Christmas Eve. Their otherworldly collaboration continued until The Mystery of Edwin Drood was finally released in its entirety in October 1873.

Many criticized the work suggesting it was from the imagination of a questionable medium and not from the spirit of the great author. And while the style seemed like it was from Dickens, experts found it to fall short of his previous standards. Conan Doyle wrote, "It reads...like Dickens gone flat."

For a detailed account of this and many other strange events in Vermont history, read Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls, and Unsolved Mysteries by Joseph Citro.

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