PseudoPod 522: The Christmas Spirits – A Tale of the White Street Society


by Grady Hendrix

The Christmas Spirits was first published in “Tales of the White Street Society” in December 2012.

Grady Hendrix writes fiction, also called “lies,” and he writes non-fiction, which people sometimes accidentally pay him for. This includes the Freaky Friday column at Tor.com, which is a must-read for horror fans looking for books to avoid. He is the author of Horrorstör, the only novel about a haunted Scandinavian furniture store you’ll ever need. It has been translated into 14 languages and is being turned into a television show by Gail Berman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl). They have never met Grady, but that is their loss. His new novel is called My Best Friend’s Exorcism, about demonic possession, friendship, exorcism, and the Eighties. Take some of those gift cards you’re bound to get and pop over to Quirk Books and pick both novels up. Horrorstör is especially worthwhile in hard copy, because as ephemera, it brilliantly skewers the ubiquitous IKEA catalog.

While you’re perusing their shop, go download the coloring book for My Best Friend’s Exorcism.

Your narrator this week is the Supreme Mugwump and Keeper of the Big Red Button. He was briefly employed as a circus geek until an unfortunate mix-up involving a prize-winning fighting cock. Its owner had ties not only to the carnival, but also to the Russian mob, so now he writes supplements for role playing games, where he exercises his superpower to make you appreciate the Sixth Doctor. He has played for the national rugby team after defeating the monstrous four-horned sheep across his home island. He is a regular contributor to Tor.com, and he owns a bunch of awesome podcasts.


Another true horror story of the season mentioned in the intro can be found here.


Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.


“You can have your Paris, your London, your Vienna, your Rome; for this good Christian there is no city more sublime than New York at Christmastime. As I walked to the White Street Society clubhouse I sucked in great gulps of cold Yuletide air until my lungs froze solid with Christmas cheer. My feet were numbed with holiday spirit as they tramped the icy streets. My face and whiskers were chapped with all the joy of the season. Six carolers raced past me in the opposite direction, screaming, their exposed skin red and blistered with burns, their wet clothes steaming, flesh hanging from one of their faces in sheets. I smiled to myself a secret Christmas smile, for this meant that my good friend Augustus Mortimer was home.

‘God rest you, merry gentleman!’ I shouted in gay spirits, as I pounded on his front door. ‘Augustus? It is William! Come a’wassailing this December eve! Augustus?’

I felt something poking me in the midsection and directed my gaze downwards to behold the blade of a saber protruding from the mail slot and halfheartedly prodding me. It was sharpened to a murderous gleam, but as I was wrapped in many cloaks, and carpets, and coats, and shawls to protect myself against the Christmas chill, I felt only a gentle massaging about my tummy.

‘Augustus!’ I smiled, squatting down and peering through the mail slot. ‘Is stabbing any way to greet a visitor on this fifth night of Advent?’ “