(n.); belief in ghosts; etymology difficult to trace, but typically attributed to the Greek eidolon (“image, apparition, phantom, ghost”)
There was something else in the house, unmentioned and unlabelled. A sort of shadowy presence that hovered by the back door. No one referred to it, so I kept quiet, but without ever really actually seeing anything I knew it was a boy.
—Novelist Esther Freud, the Guardian
When the front door bursts open on the most stagnant day in the midst of summer, when Hamlet is haunted by the post-mortem presence of his vengeful father, or when Scrooge is terrified by the ghosts of Christmas Past—we are undeniably delighted and distressed by the possibility of the paranormal. Even those who staunchly renounce such nonsense have at least once lain awake at night, perturbed by an inexplicable scratching at the window or some other nighttime sound. In an essay published this week in the Guardian, novelist Esther Freud reflects on the inspiration for her 2011 novel, Mr Mac And Me, a ghost story unto itself.