“The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Bill Monroe: “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” Mr Bill was asked once about the allegorical elements of this song, which appears to be about parents sending children off into the world to be tempted by the devil and lured to damnation by sin. His answer (and I’m paraphrasing from memory) [Read More...]

Great Documentary About M.R. James From “Sherlock” Star/Creator

Writer/actor Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock, League of Gentlemen) writes and hosts this fine documentary on the greatest ghost story writer of them all: medievalist and Biblical scholar Montague Rhodes James. Special treats include locations from James stories (such as St Bertrand de Comminges, stuffed crocodile and all), a passing shot of a tombstone for “Mrs [Read More...]

“Twenty Good Men” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. New Riders of the Purple Sage: “Twenty Good Men” My favorite NRPS song. I wore out Marin County Line replaying this one when I was about ten. Pirates, murder, and revenge: what’s not to love?   [Read more...]

St. Gregory the Great’s Bath-house Ghost

The Mass of St Gregory, by Robert Campin, 15th century

Okay, one more story from a Church Father before the weekend. This is one of the more famous tales, and it comes from Pope St. Gregory the Great’s marvelously entertaining grab bag of useful stuff, the Dialogues. This is an example of the way the Church used ghost stories to prove the benefit of the [Read More...]

Me, On the Radio

Yeah, I know: whoop-de-do. Anyway, I’m on Register Radio Talking about The Rule and St. Benedict’s Prep. Register Radio airs worldwide Fridays at 2:00 p.m. EDT and encores Saturday: 8:00 p.m. and EDT Sunday: 11:00 a.m. on 270+ EWTN AM & FM affiliates across the U.S., as well as on SiriusXM Satellite Radio (channel 130,) and [Read More...]

St. Martin and the Thief’s Ghost

Reliquary for the head of St. Martin

The main role of ghosts in the literature of the early church was to display the power of the saints. While Augustine was still alive, Sulpitius Severus wrote The Life of St. Martin, in which we find the following tale of Martin confronting and vanquishing the evil ghost of a thief who was being worshiped by [Read More...]

“Down From Dover” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Dolly Parton: “Down From Dover” The one and only Dolly, with one of her most poignant songs, about a woman left pregnant and abandoned by her lover. Controversial in its time, she later recut it for her bluegrass album Little Sparrow. The later version is superior and adds a verse, but I [Read More...]

St. Augustine’s Rejection of Ghosts

Pope Benedict with the bones of St. Augustine

Our final look at Augustine’s theology of the dead comes from On the Care to be Taken For the Dead (De cura pro mortuis gerenda), written in 421 to Paulinus, Bishop of Nola. The text was a response to a question from Paulinus, and is quite touching in places. A woman had asked for her [Read More...]


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