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Scrooge, the invention of one of Portsmouth’s most famous sons, has to be the festive season’s spookiest character. But Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ is just one of many ghost stories that get told at this time of year.

For centuries, as the nights draw in, people have enjoyed entertaining each other by telling scary tales on dark nights. It’s a tradition that can be traced back to as early as the eighth century and the ancient story of Beowulf.

Dr Karl Bell, reader in cultural and social history at the University of Portsmouth, and director of the Supernatural Cities project, has a special interest in the supernatural.  In this podcast he discusses why people love ghost stories at Christmas time and shares a few spooky tales from the historic maritime city.