Back in the 1800s there was a Christmas tradition. As the days grew cold and the nights grew dark people would gather round the fire and tell festive stories. Long before the Christmas story became nothing but a pile of sentimental codswallop, people would have enjoyed something that brought a little fear into their Yuletide cheer: the Christmas Chiller. Magazines like All the Year Round devoted their pages to stories of spooks and ghouls and haunted houses and writers usually known for socially conscious realism (Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens) or lovable children's stories (Edith Nesbit) conspired to bring their readers the Christmas gift of something spookily chilling. While this may not have remained a core part of everybody's Christmas, there have been various attempts to revive the tradition onscreen, most notably with the BBC's annual 1970s series A Ghost Story for Christmas. The series ended after 1978's silly The Ice House, but has been revisited periodically in the 00s. This year will see a new Ghost Story for Christmas, adapted, like many of the classic 70s series, from a story by M.R. James. Written by Mark Gatiss (who, with a repeat of his early Doctor Who drama An Adventure in Space and Time and a new series of Sherlock, occupies a privileged position in the festive schedule), The Tractate Middoth will air on Christmas Day itself. If that gets you in the mood for more festive hauntings, here are eight of the best.