Sheet-wearing ghosts were an innovation of the Victorian era. Until then ghosts had manifested themselves in their everyday clothing. But that became a problem over time. Notice that many ghosts have been floating around for several centuries and in that time their clothing has gone out of fashion. The same goes for their hairstyles. (Ancient ghosts cannot go to the hairdresser’s or to shops in general because they don’t have legal tender.) It’s a misconception that, just because of being dead, one stops liking to get primped -or covered in soy sauce if it comes to that. So how could ghosts hide the fact that their wardrobe had become outdated? This is were Julius A. Moscklow comes in.
Son of a manufacturer of linen sheets, it seemed to Julius that advertising based on sandwich board men was kind of trite. And he came up with an original way to promote his father’s sheets. He punched a couple of eye holes in a white sheet and covered himself with it. In this rig-out he would go out every morning to roam the streets of London shouting “Moscklow sheets! Wide variety of stock! Special lengths upon request!”, which earned him enormous popularity. One day, however, he got the wrong sheet, and since it lacked eye holes, he fell into the Thames and drowned. As word spread, the mischievous London apprentices saw an occasion to have fun and, covered with a sheet, began to chase their fellow citizens posing as the ghost of the deceased. From here and through the mysterious ways of the unconscious, the assimilation of the concept of ‘ghost’ and that of ‘white sheet’ and that of ‘foolishness’ happened. And the ghosts, who had long been searching for a simple piece of clothing that would not go out of fashion, quickly adopted the new uniform.