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In this lecture, we will explore the conception and portrayal of the ghost in literature, with reference to the work of MR James, WW Jacobs and Stephen King. Beginning with an overview of  masterpieces such as Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad, The Monkey's Paw and The Shining, we will then consider the psychology and psychiatry of the ghost story. We will think about what is real, the neuroscience of being scared and what happens in the brain when we experience an apparition. The lecture concludes with a contemplation of why we like to be scared and how the ghost story reflects societal constructs of death and the afterlife.

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