The mysterious ghoul log on Shudder

It was 1966 and Frank Thrower, the head of WPIX, had a problem. He wanted to give the hardworking men and women at his TV station some much-deserved time off for the holidays. The only issue was, if he sent everyone home, there would be no one to run the station. Then inspiration hit.

Instead of showing their regularly scheduled programming, WPIX would give their audience a four-hour televised “Christmas card.” The contents of the card could have taken many shapes, but Thrower knew exactly what would warm the hearts of his fellow New Yorkers–a Yule log. 

The broadcast was a huge success, running for a consecutive 23 years before its cancellation, only to be revived in 1997 and 2001.

But enough about Christmas. We’re here to talk about Halloween.

In 2018, Shudder debuted the Ghoul Log, an unbroken feed of a candle-lit jack-o’-lantern amid muted fall leaves and accompanied by the gorgeous soundscape of an eerie fall night.

Shudder TV's original halloween jack-o-lantern, the ghoul log

Shudder’s answer to the Yule Log tradition was an immediate hit. Fans everywhere invited the little log into their homes as the finishing touch to their home’s Halloween transformation. 

Now, Halloween is here again, and Shudder has upped the ante with Return of the Ghoul Log. This year’s offering takes the log inside a cobwebbed room filled with creepy curiosities and a surprise or two.

When I was little, I was fairly obsessed with the book I Spy: Spooky Night, the darker installment in Scholastic’s popular series of picture riddle books. I would sit and look at the rich worlds created by photographer Walter Wick, scrutinizing every plastic skeleton, miniature tree, and mysterious shadow. They were a visual delight to my eight-year-old eyes, packed with spooky story potential. 

The cover to Scholastic's I Spy Spooky Night book

I get much the same feeling when I turn on Return of the Ghoul Log. Every corner of the frame is filled with the kind of Halloween magic that made me fall in love with the holiday long ago.

But I’m not the only one who fell in love with the log. Much like Frank Thrower’s televised fireside, the Ghoul Log has given the horror-loving community a way to keep Halloween with them no matter the time or the place.

Since the Ghoul Log and its return had such an impact on me, I asked Twitter users to share their feelings on this welcome new Halloween tradition. Here’s what the community had to say.

Have a spooky Samhain, you Halloween heads.

Return of Ghoul Log was created by indie horror legend Larry Fessenden (Depraved, Habit, Until Dawn).

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