where the writers are

My favorite ghost story from Japan is Houichi the Earless (Miminashi Houichi) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoichi_the_Earless told to me while still a child by my parents' housekeeper at the time, extemporaneously, in Japanese, during her lunch break; a lifelong theater enthusiast who had grown up participating in a community youth theater, she was an excellent story teller who could bring tears to my eyes as well as fear and fascination. It had been adapted to film in 1964 along with other stories to comprise an anthology of four Japanese ghost stories http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwaidan_%28film%29 which I had the pleasure of discovering about six years ago at a movie palace on a big screen.

A favorite ghost story from America is the Headless Horseman (or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, most likely read aloud in English to my fourth-grade class by the wonderful school librarian.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headless_Horseman_%28Legend_of_Sleepy_Hollo...

A cinematic Hollywood ghost story I like would probably be The Ghost and Mrs. Muir starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison directed by Joseph L. Makiewicz. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost_and_Mrs._Muir

What then...would be my favorite European ghost story? Ovid's Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice,  Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet, the nautical folklore of the ghost ship Flying Dutchman, and Dickens's Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future come to mind, but I also hear the voice of Jacques Derrida  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Derrida in  Ghost Dance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Dance_%28film%29  saying, "Le fantôme, c'est moi."  "I am after all a mere ghost." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nmu3uwqzbI 

Vivent les fantômes!


P.S. Here's what I wrote for Halloween last year. http://redroom.com/member/kim-packard/blog/halloween

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By the way,

Vincent van Gogh was one of my favorite painters when I was a teenager. I think his works tend to resonate with adolescents, maybe because he is unconventional and uses bright colors. It just occurred to me that he cut off his ear one day, so he suffered the same fate as Houichi the Earless. Houichi was blind, but a musician, so they were both artists; furthermore, van Gogh may have been color blind. http://asada0.tumblr.com/post/11517603099/the-day-i-saw-van-goghs-genius... Houichi's rescuer was a Buddhist priest while the person to whom Vincent could have turned was a doctor. Priests and doctors have some traits in common; they both listen to the heart, although using different means. Houichi became the canvas for the priest who wrote out the sutra all over the exposed areas of his body so that the ghost would not be able to see him. The priest was able to help because Houichi was able to articulate his experience with the ghost. Van Gogh was not so lucky and ended up taking his own life after the loss of his ear.

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This is a wonderful list, Kim. I'm unfamiliar with Houichi the Earles, but thanks to your link, I can now read it!

Looking forward.

Many thanks for a great post!