The second book I’ve pulled off my shelves is Christina Hole’s ‘Survey of English Ghost-lore’, ‘Haunted England’. My copy is the 1941 edition from Batsford with the striking John Farleigh cover. ‘Haunted England’ remains the perfect introduction to anyone just getting interested in ghosts. Hole was an accomplished folklorist who wrote a series of accessible works on the various aspects of English folklore. ‘Haunted England’ explores the tropes and themes present in traditional ghost stories, in chapters such as ‘Purposeful Ghosts’, ‘Ghosts of the Great’, ‘Traces of Past Events’ and ‘Animal Ghosts’. Condensed versions of most of the best-known ghost stories from England can be found within.
But the other attraction of ‘Haunted England’ are its numerous weird illustrations. The illustrator, John Farleigh, was well-known in his day both as a fine artists and as a commercial artists, for example for London Transport. He was best-known as a wood engraver. The images he created for ‘Haunted England’ are like no other gracing a work of this kind: often abstract, with distorted perspectives, they are nightmarish yet oddly child-like – and certainly memorable.