6: Unconventional Spirits
Sometimes Misty went for ghost stories that were offbeat, even wacky. You have to wonder if Misty was going for a bit of self-parody here.
Artist: Jose Ariza
While on holiday Samantha keeps having dreams of ghosts everywhere, including ghosts of her parents. This has the parents decide to cut the holiday short and go home, but their train crashes. Samantha still has dreams of seeing ghosts everywhere, but when she sees her own body she realises she is the one who is the ghost.
The Ghost Writer
Artist: John Armstrong
Writer: Wilf Prigmore
Where does the writer in the story get the ideas for his ghost stories? He gets them from the other side, which is an easy thing for him to do because he is a ghost himself.
Artist: Ken Houghton
Katrine is travelling on train with a kindly man in the carriage. An annoying man enters the carriage and tells stories of ghosts and vampires to scare her. The train enters a tunnel, and the annoying man is a vampire who takes advantage of the darkness to kill the kind one. He says that he needs one more victim before dawn comes and destroys him, and Katrine will do nicely. But he is in for a shock: Katrine is really the train’s ghost and vanishes, leaving him without his much-needed victim.
The Dream House
Artist: Carlos Guirado
For years Angie has been having the same dream of running down the corridor of a house, crying. They need to shift to a house in the country because Dad is becoming increasingly ill from air pollution. They are shown three houses, which don’t work out. The agent shows them a fourth, which he was reluctant to show before because it has a reputation for being haunted. They fall in love with it and Angie recognises it as the house from her dreams. When the agent describes the ghost, she realises the ghost was herself; it was a form of astral projection. Her unwitting haunting brought the house within their price range to buy and her father to recuperate.
7: Christmas Spirit
As Misty approached her first Christmas she celebrated with a three-part ghost series that was inspired by “A Christmas Carol” and in some ways is a take on it. The series was set in the same house and each story presented a ghost-themed Christmas story from the house from past, present (at the time of publishing) and future.
Ghost of Christmas Past
Artist: Mario Capaldi
In 1928 Sarah and her family move into a new house. They discover a filthy, disused study that gives a sense of sadness and despair. When Christmas approaches Sarah falls seriously ill and they send for Dr Butterworth. A Dr Marriot appears, saying the blizzards were too severe for Butterworth, and saves Sarah in the nick of time. Then Butterworth arrives, and after hearing their story he tells them they saw the ghost of the previous owner, who had failed to save his daughter due to drunkenness. Next day they find the study sparkling clean and the negativity has gone. They also discover Marriot’s daughter bears a striking resemblance to Sarah. They say this will be one exceptionally Merry Christmas, thanks to a miracle.
Ghost of Christmas Present
Artist: Mario Capaldi
Set in 1978, and this time we have a Scrooge character. Although this is a Christmas Present story, the ghost in the story acts more like the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come. The house is the same as last issue, but now it is a small hotel. New owner Diana Prince (no, not Wonder Woman) refuses to throw the orphanage Christmas party as her gran did every year, despite it being her gran’s request. Diana refuses all attempts to change her mind. She’s got a mean heart, can’t be bothered with Christmas now she’s got all the money she wants, and doesn’t want screaming kids around. Then Diana sees the figure of a sad, bitter old woman hanging around, and thinks it is her gran. But when the apparition speaks to Diana, she says she is Diana’s future self; because she refused to share with anyone, everyone refused to share with her, and she ended up all alone and miserable. At this, Diana drops her mean ways, throws the party, and in so doing, discovers the happiness of sharing.
Ghost of Christmas Future
Artist: Mario Capaldi
Set in 1998. There is a bus crash and the passengers seek refuge in the same house as the last two stories; a sign says it is now a museum. They find it warm and cosy. As they are all soaked they put on period clothes they find in the museum and have a Christmas party with presents they salvaged from the crash and food they found in the larder. In the morning a rescue party finds the bus, and everyone dead. They refer to another Christmas tragedy where the museum burned down the year before and think it’s so sad those people on the bus never got to celebrate their final Christmas. But they did – thanks to the ghost of the house that was celebrating its final Christmas too.
Ghosts were a very popular means for Misty to inflict comeuppances or teach a moral lesson. In many cases it was to punish for causing the death of a person or inflict a downfall that is full of irony and black humour. For this reason truly malignant/evil ghosts were downplayed in favour of nemesis-type ghosts, though there were ghosts that could be described as more dangerous than others to the living. However, Misty also used other types of ghosts. Ghosts were also often used for more lightweight stories, supernatural help, and even self-parody. They could also lend themselves to period settings, whether because of the period in which they died in, or because they could serve as a form of time/astral travel vehicle.