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prominent ghosts


Prominent Ghosts 


He made the halls ring with profanity. Wild with excitement, people traveled for miles on horseback. His avaricious neighbors were careful not to lay hands on anything belonging to him. To be frank, she looked like someone who could haunt a home. 

They found to their horror several slain servants strewn about. Many investigators became reluctant to commit themselves. A noise in the aisle made her turn in time to see a box landing on the floor. It was almost a month of spine chilling and yet somehow enchanting days. Still, it could have done with a blanket of grass and some flowers. It sounded like a skeleton hand drumming on the window panes. 

She was a woman who declared herself too timid to drive a car. That night there was a terrible whining noise coming up through all the fireplaces. He was left hanging for forty-five minutes as a terrible example. He was too young to know he must hide. She stepped onto the balcony and said, “Shut up!” 

He saw the small garage sway precariously. She restlessly waited for the rising tide that would snuff out the lives of everyone in the house. All during this time the chain moved up and down. “It was a loud laughter,” she reports, “and it had a hollow sound, and it couldn’t have come from any other place.” She didn’t lack for scores of friends. Then why this trial? They didn’t know the old superstitions, didn’t know they must be afraid. 

The cat jumped up and whirled around a few times. He called for his breakfast. He knew the portent of these sounds. After the funeral he was either lonely or restless. He was described as “graceful in appearance and cultured in manners.” The two families lived nearby. The ship was subjected to a variety of hazards. All the facts that existed about his life vanished with him. Her voice flowed forth in mellow musical magic. They fastened thread with masking tape about three feet off the floor across the doorways. 

The stories all coincided. He was dressed from top to toe in black velvet. He obligingly sprawled on the hearth and went to sleep. “Somebody’s coming,” he said, taking it as a matter of course. Some dozen or so towers and cupolas toppled. They watched all the different utensils hanging on the wall start swinging in a line. She neglected to realize the importance of getting the name of the milkman. To her mind there was no other explanation. She was kept in seclusion during her later years. Dimly he saw vast armies devastate whole countries, pillaging and burning great cities. It was bad enough trying to keep the place neat. 

To corroborate the diary, he interviewed every witness. Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed at intervals, and he heard smothered groans and cries. Most of the light came from the fire, which had been well fed with pungent birch. They stepped over the boxes and bottles that had been maliciously broken on the floor. After watching him do this, Ruth left the room but returned ten minutes later. This had never happened before. There were muddy footprints leading to the gate. 

Because she was now able to get through to him, she showed herself. She was undoubtedly the illegitimate daughter of somebody. He was not sure it was wise to intrude. His old crew members were said to be constantly sneaking around. Rarely seen, it was heard and felt by hundreds of people. The first train carried a large band playing lugubrious music. He hung around the area. Buggies were out of style, but they still used them on the beach. They saw a wavering mist coming toward them. Anyone who gets lost in that careworn house may have difficulty finding his way out, he thought. She rushed to the internal communication system to summon help. He was told it was his civic duty to cooperate with the efforts to please the honored guest. She was walking along when suddenly she saw something ahead of her. Turning quickly to look back, he saw the flapping tips of her skirt as she retreated. For the last time, she sprinkled water from the oceans on all the countries of the world. 

The sound of hammer and saw never stopped during daylight hours. He realized that something dishonest must be afoot. On paper he was tedious and dull. It was useless for them to try to revive him. He and his uncle were riding on a horse one beautiful night when they'd heard the whispering sound. 

She had been made very unhappy by her father’s death. She was rich and socially prominent. She saw the old lady next door wearing a bonnet. He was cautiously curious. The glass wasn’t flying but it did fall at an angle. To complete the tragic cycle, the old lady’s husband ended his days as a fretful invalid. A man came and asked him to let him dig up the stone and get the money. He raised himself up to better hear the sounds of their derisive songs. 

He was very popular with his constituents. If the tunnels existed, they were securely sealed up. They wished to give public notice to that effect. They learned not to fear any harm from this pastime. Perhaps a similar situation existed on the cold March day when she died. They insisted they had not been breaking things. So he decided to take a look and see what was amiss. The rest of her shenanigans were rather innocuous. Seeing some movements which excited his suspicion, he made for the door and attempted to escape. 

He was aware that they were suppressing evidence of ghostly activity. He went capering around the room like a frightened deer, running over everyone in his way. The next day, they found a hole the same exact size as the rock, which fit it neatly. The day before the activity had gotten much worse. Her need for heat was ever present. He gave her what she had always wanted from him. She cowered in her bed, frightened almost to annihilation. They were still repeating activities that were meaningful while they were alive. He kept lying on his bed wondering what the purpose of their visit was. They sent for the gardener, who lived in one of the gatehouses. There she sat nightly, wearing long robes embossed with esoteric designs. The thud of a tambour and the piping of flutes were heard as graceful houris danced. 

It has been claimed she was born at sea of mysterious parentage. She looked at them out of the corners of her eyes and pursed her mouth. She refused more than once to stay overnight in the house. She kept careful records supplemented by signed statements. She said there was no flower or water in the green vase. Week after week, an invisible rat seemed to be gnawing on the bedposts. “Never mind,” said the woman with a faraway look in her eyes. She eventually heard things that surprised her. It took on the look of a crazy house in an amusement park. Her daughter was then in her early teens. She was covered with soot, but her eyes were blazing. Her efforts to assuage her loneliness were not successful. 

She awoke to hear dreadful noises coming from his room. He had a difficult time convincing himself the racket was not caused by ghosts. All at once, the cigarette lighter came flying from somewhere and landed on the floor at her feet. She took a candle and stood in the midst of the room. They heard a violin playing in the empty house. Nothing ever seemed to touch him. What dark, depraved twist in her brain made this lovely woman beat and mutilate her slaves? He spent years improving his native capabilities. “The whole coastline is alive with spiritual life,” he said. Here he related a delicious incident that shows something surprising. He found “a smoky looking vial, about one-third full of a dark brown liquid.” His hospitality was equal to the strain. 

Clouds from all these countries blended into one and soon enveloped America. That seemed to put everything into perspective. Back in their bedroom again, he and his wife were treated to a reprise. He was not then completely unconscious, but his mind was “withdrawn.” She said she was an artist for a firm that sold novelties and souvenirs. She saw a tall woman working hard beside him. He spent the rest of that night on a sofa. There were times when he was frightened of her. There was no noise involved in these incidents. 

He preferred to be known as a professional fighter — which he was. The wraith tore the rings off her fingers. This was the warm hearth for which she had been searching. As she drove through the vast desolate areas on the island, she couldn’t help wondering about such myths. This was answered by three knocks, which is the knock-language for “yes.” Many people claimed to see lights and other manifestations. They discovered that the agency behind the manifestations was intelligent. It had been bricked into the floor. Over the top, a willow tree was etched. People followed every clue, exercised all of their wits, applied all manner of tests. All their investigations ended in confusion. 

They left the affair shrouded in a still deeper mystery. They heaved justifiable sighs of relief. They all sat there so calmly while she was being attacked. He approached her menacingly. It was a nice day, but it began to get cold and they were eager to go inside. He no doubt left a memory image there of one kind or another, wrapped in the somber garment of hate, fear, and misery. 

His curiosity was quickly satisfied. Their friendship nearly broke up over the poltergeist. The whistling voice was changed to a weak, faltering whisper. He ultimately came to a most untidy, but well-deserved end, with a knife in his back. She had an unusually reassuring religious belief. He began to absorb the lore of the remarkable old house. What exorcism could not do, time and modern living did. 

He said breathlessly, “I’m here.” The shipping clerks were unnerved and unsettled in their ways. People who had never approved of her as a mistress could not tolerate her as a wife. Her account was sometimes sketchy in surprising places. To her it was personal vengeance being inflicted on her. It took him a year to finish building his house. The people generally concluded that the whole affair was a deception. Although they were simple folk, they were of a higher intellectual level than to take such stories seriously. 

There was nothing about the legs to conceal anything. As fads do, the sensation spread hundreds of miles. The old lady looked around her beautiful lifeless rooms. She told them with no hesitation of her husband’s personal experience. “I thought the boys in the back room were playing games,” she said. He continued to produce phenomena almost under her nose. She believed as long as she continued to build she would continue to live. 

Without a word she accepted the weapon, understanding the significance of her act. She took notes on the impressions each sensitive expressed. He asked for a drink of water, and sat holding his head. What exactly could have been back of it all? A vast amount of useless milling about seemed to be going on. Many curious things happened while he was living there. It was long thought that bad luck would come to anyone who sat on the steps leading to the front door. There was just enough in a nebulous sort of way to convince her. She relaxed again, and so did he. Obviously they had made a mistake. He examined the queer old brick oven which had been used to cure meat. There were sounds of heavy raps on the floor underneath his chair, from which he leaped as if he’d been shot. He was discovered in a deep stupor and couldn’t be aroused. The house had been remodeled by then and was in beautiful condition. 

The wagon stopped suddenly, stuck fast in its tracks. She had come to her to say goodbye. At that moment a sudden whimpering was heard — the cry of a newborn infant. Perhaps there was some kind of a trigger she didn’t know about. It was acquired in a very intriguing manner. Then one of the girls saw the bedspread moving. She was a realistic person, but there were some things she couldn’t ignore. She had so much unhappiness that she never got over it. They got the “feel” of the generous islands. Inside, things were even sillier. He was wearing a bright red shirt, which seemed to be a bad tactic right off. She felt a force that didn’t seem to want her. They earned every cent they made running up and down the stairways and dark passages of that creepy rabbit-warren. It was her purpose to kill him before leaving the place. 

She lost her breath for nearly a minute between gasps. Just then a voice came from the bushes beside the road. He sat on the edge of his bed and got his gun out of the drawer. It is difficult for anyone to guarantee that he might have been hoodwinked. He watched to see what would happen next. Even today artists sketch its mullioned windows. Instead of freezing them into alertness, it kept them spellbound. 

He worked fast in the drenching torrent. He was very “antique minded,” writing occasionally for magazines. There was not much wind blowing all that night. They put out the light of the candle and sat in the dank dark. He formed a foundation in order to preserve the estate as a museum. Eventually they gave up trying to fool everybody. In the moonlight he saw a latch rise and a door open. Practically every item was a century old. 

She was a woman who taught piano and coached singers. His story starts as he arrived at the house for the first time. In the dooryard he planted three trees. The marks returned again and again every time the bed was smoothed. She began to keep a weekly journal. The atmosphere seemed filled with sensations and grew luminous. He often used to pray in secret for aid and comfort. A clipping was found of a particular girl who hung herself in the basement. “She looked real to me,” he said. “Her face was smooth and round.” Through the bitter winters and unadventurous summers, she kept house ably and grimly for her husband. No one, now, ever feels alone there. A nice-looking, slender young man greeted them at the door. Things got so bad that people used to walk on the other side of the street when passing the house. Yet, she did not fear to leave her daughter. She expected to prove to them that their fears were groundless. She stepped to the door and looked in. She demanded that her poor withered face should be powdered and rouged every day. They preyed upon the people like ravenous vultures. “Don’t take her too lightly just because people tease about her,” he said. He crouched down by a big stone along the side of the road. The path was blocked by a fallen tree. Her horse neighed, stopped, and reared up. He was blamed for consciously producing the phenomena in a spirit of mischief, which caused the ruckus in her house and so much pain. 

He was confronted by an animal he had never seen before. He heard the blows distinctly like the open palm of a heavy hand. He did not neglect to pull his hair and make him squeal each time. It was as though some portion of his mind had split off and become active independently of his body. She was no less likely to have suppressed hatred, or tension, or unresolved problems, which rankled her mind. His attentions to her were not displeasing to the old folks. He saw a very large fowl perched on a fence. It was an eerie bird of enormous size. It was free from spatial limitations. 

He should be cherished rather than scorned. He grew dissatisfied with his job and other conditions of life. They checked for the possibility of fraud or accident. He had some peculiar force in his mind which bore watching. He held up his hand for them to stop. He was visited by an apparition of a young gentleman in tennis clothes. He was visited by a great array of famous people. The gossip suggested they had been “overly intimate.” The youth was very reluctant to go. They achieved a climax of activity and then tapered off. He was asked to construct a story from which a doctor could make certain inferences. 

The service was performed as quickly as arrangements could be made. He had been forced to flee because of an insurrection. One day she suddenly showed evidence of great pain. She had an elaborate house in which to entertain. They were trying to find something that would help her. She began a custom that continued for the rest of her life. This concept presupposed that the spirit was still living somewhere, in some form. The scene of a great crime is like a picture, somehow left indelibly in the atmosphere. 

They were tuned in to the proper wavelength. They had all been so angry to be fussed at by the cranky stranger. It was an unhappy soul that had never found peace in life. Then she conducted them through the house. They were all highly impressed by the versatility and vigor of their haunt. The solitary life of this woman in her great house is almost unbelievable. She eventually acquired in her own name everything he owned. All this she certainly wouldn’t have done by choice, but he never knew it. A little ghost dog was frequently seen on the terrace. The clanking of chains and ghoulish groans were almost entirely fictional. 

His dream of his own death had been told a thousand times. She placed her hand on the big grand piano and it rose into the air. He thought he heard great crying and moaning. She glanced around and saw that everybody else had gone to lunch. “Now’s the time for something to happen,” she said. Eight or ten people watched incredulously. He knew that something was happening in which humans were not involved. They take it upon themselves to cause something to happen when affairs get dull. He woke up early every morning and lay in bed trying to figure out what was going on. 

The shade of a maid peered through the attic windows. She woke up one night to discover something spectral and white. A pirate of old was buried beneath the hearthstone. The splendor of a Turkish harem was captured forever in time by a tragic mass slaying. He is sometimes seen and heard in the quiet of the night. They made a shambles of the warehouse where he worked as a shipping clerk. 

The universal practice of “bleeding” probably hastened his end. With this move, she suddenly tossed off her widow’s weeds. There was not an atom of evidence to support any such suspicion, yet the story persists. 

They were told to keep to themselves the story of the strange voice from out of nowhere. It was written up and substantiated with testimonies. Wondering, ridiculing, and grumbling at the foolishness, the old man made the trip. 

The spread was a little too long. He had his quota of unaccountable experiences. Many papers carried the stories of these prophetic dreams. That is no doubt the main reason that so many individuals claim to have seen him. She would often be aware of him standing behind her. The tiny monkey disappeared and presumably died. She now had an abundant supply, which would never disappear for her afterward. At any moment she might snap her whip. 

The voice was shrill but mild and pleasant. She was enjoying her revival in more ways than one. She moved rapidly toward him. She never touched the ground but seemed to float just above it. They quite naturally suspected their sanity. If there had been a substance, she would have certainly felt it. 

Her last years were sunny and happy. He grew soft and sentimental at the scene and wept exquisite tears. They cheered at his leaving. There seemed to be a concerted effort going on to suppress her. She was quite tall, resolute, and determined. He brought a bracelet glittering with jewels. But what was a home without a woman? He tantalized rather than reported. Crossing the open field in front of the house, he noticed a slight knoll or rise in the ground. 

“I shall not hurt you now,” she said. What should he do about it? All mundane things seemed dull and commonplace and of no real value. Rays of light were shining from her head like a halo. Gone now was his amused contempt. His appearance came as no surprise. He wrote down every word with painstaking care. He wasn’t sure where it had started from. He was killed in a strange manner. From that moment she learned that he had respect for age and beauty. 

So that’s where the saga of the spurious spook stood that summer. The youths not only damaged property but littered as well. They wanted the house to be known for its beauty and exciting history. He was not at first too insistent. They had been subjected to cruel and wicked gossip. She tried to sail off in a vessel that had come into port. She gave birth to a child and died the next day. They marched in a procession at her command, two by two. He stubbornly refused to allow anybody to mess things up for him. 

Something seemed to disturb him. He often saw tears coursing down his careworn cheeks. They presently set themselves in battle array with each other. “Look and learn,” the voice said. “What kid of gullible fool are you?" he asked. He was greeted with a kind of ghoulish moan. They arrived there immediately afterward. He intimidated her and therefore she changed her story. He came to see if the unpleasant tales were true. For four years it tortured them with unrelenting fury. Her voice was hoarse and thick. She enjoyed her role and the notoriety she was receiving. 

She didn’t know but that she might be deceived. In her arms there appeared to be a very small child. She ordered to have certain unaccountable acts performed. It had all melted into one lump. He assumed it would fall into the basement. The search eventually was given up. 

Events which cannot possibly be accomplished physically are explained as being inspired. When he came within shooting distance, the bird flapped its wings and flew away. The coverings were pulled off the beds. She was usually a misfit with neurotic tendencies. There seemed no overt reason to blame her. It was the worse torture she could bestow. She was a light-hearted lass whose mischievous glances made the hearts of neighborhood boys go pittypat. What possibly could have been her purpose? She came out last and was careful and watched. She was trying “to prove the truth of immortality.” 

Several persons spoke but received no answer. His contemporaries accepted it as an honest tale. The whole affair was a scheme contrived by his daughters. He wished to see all his family sitting in one part of the room. Then it was that she received her “change.” “If you think anybody’s there, search the cellar through with a candle,” he said. After a while they started to dicker, and finally made a deal. His neighbors’ reaction was one of repugnance. He had to get hold of some money. He needed cash, wealth, riches, money to burn. 

The next day, back at her self-appointed job, she was as befuddled as all the rest. He convinced himself that this was really something spectacular. They were gathered around the daggers, examining them. Something unusual was definitely afoot. Yet she argued with herself constantly. Perhaps there was some kind of trigger she didn’t know about. He telephoned his superior. There were a few major exceptions that he would relate later. He was “hooked” on the idea that there was no explanation for what he had observed. No one was in any position to instigate action. 

The laughter was at about the level of their knees. Every member of the family independently heard the sounds. They attempted to learn where the little one could be placed. Its crumbling stone steps revealed its great age. They were suddenly all having some kind of mental aberration. Happy laughter rang out sometimes two or three times a day. He assured them that he had been nowhere near the upper hallway. She is happy that she stood her ground. They did not know they had used their house. They had briefly seen one of the dog occupants of the house. Her bravery beyond the call of duty had accomplished what she had intended. 

There were no voices, only this incredible din. She was glad she also saw his curious act. He stoically refrained from excitement over any of their activities. His heart pounded wildly. All the girls were wasting time gabbing instead of working. In his diary he recalled the strange appearances and uncommon sounds. The persecutions were increased to an extant that excited apprehensions. He preyed upon the fears of people. He chose her as a shining mark. He must have done something so horrible that she consciously refused to accept it. They never discussed the matter in the presence of the children. 

He was twice put into jail. “Where’s Bill?” was probably the first thing that popped into their minds. He had a need to watch over his mother. He developed a mania for wild speculation. She had learned to hurry too. They had no logical way to know the house’s secret. He was startled to look out of the dining room window and see him wandering around. He was nursing women almost continuously. 

He was curious as to why they had come. After they faded away he nonetheless remained there. He had to have on operation for removal of an eye. They could have been most anybody. Soon he was married and settled down. She was a tiny woman, attractive and pleasantly plump. The cluttered room was full of work tables. They examined the area of action carefully. Meanwhile, she died without divulging the secret. The grave had been disturbed, her bones disinterred and scattered. However she was very much alive and outlived him for many years. She was the wife of a hopeless cripple who had assumed control of the family business. A long and tiring hunt began. She couldn’t move or speak, but she could hear. 

They never dared to mention what they saw. Once, it came out into the open and everyone gabbled at once. They circled round and round the chair on which she’d been sitting. They feared that their guest had brought some strange anomaly. Suddenly she looked as if she was in the midst of a snowstorm. They climbed on chairs and examined the ceiling. “Perhaps it’s some kind of dust in the air.” She ran out instantly. 

The meal turned out to be very filling. They were caught in a thick, syrupy mood. His brown eyes rolled in his head in fright and confusion. She thought she would choke. At last they were at the bottom. She saw the famous chair rocking, the curious music boxes and mechanical instruments. Outside she heard the yellow elm branches lashing in the gale. They were sitting in the hedge-enclosed garden back of the house. Tragedy struck them all in turn. 

He was doing a lot of thinking — negatively. His eyes were getting that glassy, glittery look again. He would be in danger from them if he got the least bit rough. He discussed the possibility of getting a photo of the large room. He began to speak once more in deep tones. He made a sound like the licking of lips and gulping. It made his theory seem a bit unsophisticated. There seemed to be many misrepresentations rife. He had a long, hairy tail which was always wagging. They paid no more attention to him than to each other. He continued to hang around. She would not leave the house he loved so much. 

While the events were going on, it was necessary to take them at face value. He lunged and waved his arms in their direction just once too often. The knife dripped blood! Glib writers tried to calm obstreperous entities with a few well-chosen words. Once again it began to move around so fast they kept up with it with difficulty. It showed its great force by banging itself senselessly against the wall. She began wracking her brain for suitable phrases. She started a new tack. Fortunately, she did not have time to flash the bulb. In retrospect, the whole evening seemed a trivial travesty of a bad movie or a television turkey. 

A large sum of money was buried for safekeeping. They became alarmed for her safety. All their wits were stifled. Her sister was severely punished. But when the committee was put into operation, the trouble followed, disturbing the family where she went. She was reluctant to declare firmly the possibility of trap doors and secret compartments that were said to have been dematerialized from somewhere else. Checks with the police revealed no record of a killing. He still hangs around and wants to dance and play basketball and have fun. She did not print an accusation at anybody. They could dimly see those closest to them. He spoke quite freely. They peeped out and watched the most unusual sight of their lives. They felt an unusual wind blowing. It went whizzing through the air with fatal precision. 

She was impressed by her unusual experience. All the doors and windows were securely locked from the inside. It was an awfully inept crime that was considered a heinous outrage. She considered him to be most detestable and loathsome. He brought perplexity and confusion into every social circle. They always reported correctly the news and events in the vicinity. He, she, or it — the witch’s sex was never divined. She was a fire-eating Methodist and knew about all the sordid, avaricious meanness that transpired. She would laugh at their folly. He came home very drunk, cussing and fussing. No human voice was so charming. She still behaved badly. One night they heard a moan behind the door. They had to grope their way across to find it. He looked more like a beatnik guitar player than the pastor of a church. None of this was usable when things got interesting. 

Sometimes she caused strange lights and other phenomena. He looked around and no one was there. A powerful force shook the truck back and forth. A flaming mass poured down the mountain, heading directly for them. A woman of unearthly beauty asked for help in finding a room number at the hotel. She knew it wasn’t the morn that made the shining. In that spot she had walked into what seemed to be a cobweb. 

These men were deported criminals and they were rough and tough. He was soon brought to the ground by a blow on the head. Why did he end up swinging for a small crime? Nothing was visible there. They spoke very quietly and delicately. Since it was mental projection, it didn’t even cost them plane fare. They are the most amalgamated people in the world. They have done prodigious and helpful tasks. Before the first fingers of light searched through the green mountains, they saw a fire on the peak. She began to dig, day and night. One girl shared some fruit with her. She had an insurance investigator check out the building carefully. He had learned not to work there alone at night. They went into strange nooks and crannies, opening up unused rooms. 

He went down and clopped up the stairs. She was concentrating hard on her sketches when she heard a bang. She let her hair down and combed it as she walked. He went into the house and got his gun. He spoke in a harsh, feminine voice. A lamp flitted across the yard and through the fields. He intended to throw the luggage into the fire. It was weighty and smelled awful. She appeared, feeling slighted, and retaliated quickly. The sense of the unseen seemed too much and too near. The iron latch had the tradition of opening by itself. They handled beautiful young girls as if they were china dolls. 

He made her throw up pins and needles enough to supply the whole community. The mysterious voice commenced talking, but never uttered a word during the time of prostration. His father suffered from peculiar spells, of a different nature. He returned to the room, and gathered up the roll of bed clothing, and shook them out. The condition was characterized by shortness of breath and smothering sensations. He complained of a curious sensational feeling in his mouth. “I have a surprise for you; come and see it,” she called out. When she fell ill, she was disconsolate. That was the conclusion from the fact that no other cause was apparent. 

One of the girls saw the bedspread moving. It was as if it was simulating the movement of waves. She said her skin started to crawl. The children were grouped in front of her and their teachers and the bus driver behind them. Nothing happened for about forty minutes and then they began to hear the table creaking. It seemed to be moving all evening. They were not to be afraid, no matter what happened. It was natural laws they behaved, which were not understood by science. A chain was fastened across the opening between the railing and the wall. She went into a long and involved story about his adventures on the ship. A shadow became visible on the wall, changing its shape while they watched. The placed their hands on it and concentrated. 

She was not convinced and walked to the front door and looked out. Because the responses were so negative, two slight experiences might be worth some mention. It was like a flick of mist, hardly enough to speak of. She got a bright, expectant look on her face She was heading toward a narrow door which opened onto a steep flight of steps. She wished aloud that she could have seen the dents. 

She reported that he was at home, sitting at a table reading by the light of a candle. An elegant young lady was on her way. She felt a soft and velvety hand slipping into hers. Those who had aroused her ire felt a hand with blows falling fast and heavy. Recounting numerous instances, he bored the company to death. He had not heard of the unexplained activity. It was now a luxurious penthouse belonging to a physician. Many new people came into the area. He was one of the Pacific Northwest’s best-known watercolorists. The man was obviously unhappy. He kept brooding on something. They returned to their homes, knowing more than when they started about the strange world in which they lived. 

She would not tell her name but said it started with a “V.” The house was charming, it was full of wonderful antiques. An old coffin was kept in the dark and grisly basement, although it has rotted away in recent years. A lady kept walking around the table. The other ladies’ faces were softly shadowed by the candlelight. A young woman was wearing a white dress with a soft white fichu around her neck. She suddenly became engrossed in preparations for her wedding. Despite this willful behavior, he was a courtly old fellow with polished manners. They waked at night to find a figure bending over the bed. Her picture hangs on the wall of what was known as “The Long Room.” 

Her good Quaker soul probably retreated in horror. What the modern world is coming to may be the reason for her withdrawal from society. “I hear to my own satisfaction,” she said. He examined the floor carefully, and the area all around under the window outside. It was now bare except for a few stacks of old newspapers. The next morning, in safe daylight, he went up to investigate. First, she had this peculiar but wonderful feeling. She was smiling and seemed perfectly happy. She is only a mournful memory now. 

Another area of the house produced odd feelings and grotesque happenings. It was a terrible thing that was killing him. Suddenly, as if by its own accord, the door flew open. There was a noise like dainty footsteps prancing on the bare floor. The situation was trying and made him shudder. Everybody rushed out under the excitement. He dropped to the ground and rolled over laughing. He felt a blow on his face like an open hand that almost stunned him. Instantly, a blue haze shot up the chimney like a flash of powder. They were lathered with honey and fine aromatic herbs. They were happy there, basking in the admiration and attention of their master. Complete privacy was maintained at all times. Because of his position, he was carefully buried in the garden. For many years it almost became a slum dwelling. They sat on the steps whenever they wished. One day she fell over the grilled ironwork to the pavement far below, and was killed. A tall and stately date tree grew up on that spot. Then it was that she realized it was useless to hope. 

The soft, melancholy voice came again. She was teased and mauled less by her invisible enemy. She deeply sympathized with her in her disappointments and afflictions. No, she could not wish such a life on her beloved. He was somewhat relieved to be let out of the uncomfortable situation. She fulfilled the promise of her baby fat, and became a very stout woman. She was often accused by strangers of perpetrating the hoax. The shock of the experience caused her always to grieve for her father. 

The bed showed the imprint of a stretched-out figure. The shutters were slid across the windows at night. She began to keep a weekly journal. He was looking for something he couldn’t find. She was distressed about the soldier who wandered in the house. Might not wild dancing and pagan practices still continue, frantic as ever? Who can be sure? 

His curiosity was quickly satisfied. He possessed knowledge of men and things. The house itself was torn down and moved away. There was an immense physical force behind the manifestations. He calmly waited a nobler life. A certain chill seemed to be in the atmosphere. He reverted to his original intent. He was left there after dark. No frightening adventure occurred on his trip. It was necessary to build a stockade immediately. To be alone would not be so bad during the day. When tragedy struck her, it pulled no punches. She saw no reason to live and no hope for the future. 

Every night a melancholy summons bell rang out. She personally served them on solid gold plates. They finally turned on her and were tearing her home apart. The tattered remnants of her reason were completely gone. Sometimes, inebriated men stood about the grave and laughingly saluted her. They were not deterred by what they heard. They were delighted in the evidence of its antiquity. A winding staircase with its graceful curves climbed to a room where someone was hidden against his will. They were startled by the screams of the little girl who jumped to her death in the courtyard below. She was once feared for the occult powers she possessed. Rattling chains bound moaning creatures to their prison walls. Whatever was going on there did not seem to pacify anyone. “Tell him I miss him terribly,” she said. Actually, she had no need to worry about money. She sold all her property in the east and headed toward the setting sun. She felt she had to make amends. They constantly strove to keep out the peeping public. She had an abiding faith she would be guided by her husband for the rest of her life. She devoted every remaining hour of her life to a labor of love and sacrifice. She began to sense that her trial was ending. They strove to make hedges higher and thicker. 

He very definitely had the feeling of waking up. Everything was quiet after that. They always had the theory that there was a secret tunnel under the house. She watched out for them at all times. His efforts were not all farcical. What the significance of these messages was has never been revealed. She turned and flitted away. A small room at the top of the building contained weird secrets. At last word came that the new owners were about to appear. The sound of doors closing ahead of them was frequently heard. He was maneuvered into a tight spot, which apparently depressed him a bit. He was a gay and carefree bachelor who delighted in wine, women, and song. There were few men who were sharper than he. The man’s name is forgotten who is remembered only for torn remnants relating tragic moments, dried and yellowing pieces of paper rotting away on the walls of his room. 

She disappeared in the tortuous twists of the circular stairway. She stared down at him with an intense gaze. He was not one to be afraid of the unknown. She never was there when he reached the place she should have been. It seemed genuine good sense for him to disappear. 

from Prominent American Ghosts by Susy Smith; The World Publishing Co., 1967 

— January 20 – 31, 2010 

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