Besides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages

A curious bit of sideline anthropology from Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

The neighborhood is rich in legendary treasures of the kind. Local tales and superstitions thrive best in these sheltered, long-settled retreats; but are trampled under foot by the shifting throng that forms the population of most of our country places. Besides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages, for they have scarcely had time to finish their first nap and turn themselves in their graves, before their surviving friends have travelled away from the neighborhood; so that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This is perhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except in our long-established Dutch communities.

I’d dispute a portion of this notion – since urban legends (localized nowhere and adoptable everywhere) and purely digital tales (like slenderman) have still managed to take hold among today’s highly mobile populations – but it does generally feel we all have impoverished local traditions thanks to such turnover.

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