A Humorous Sketch by One Who b Not Afraid of Spirits.
I am not afraid of ghosts. The time was when I could not meet a ghost in a lonely spot and the pale moonlight, or have a ghost come to me in the dead waste and middle of the night and lay one of Its cold, clammy bands upon my brow and beckon with the other for me to get up and follow it, without being scared; but now I would not mind a little thing like that.
I have been a close reader of ghost stories, and I have noticed that no person has been hurt by a ghost up to the hour of going to press. It would seem, therefore, that a ghost is about the only harmless sort of a thing that is in the habit of running about loose in the night time.
If you have ever met a ghost, you know, of course, that it does not come out of its hole and go fooling around in the damp night air to do you bodily harm. It conies out and steals softly to you merely because it cannot rest until it has gotten something off its mind, and it wants you to help it. Sometimes it has a lot of money buried down in the cellar or underneath the kitchen hearth, and it wants you to dig it up and have it for your own. Now, it seems to me hard, indeed, that any person should turn away from a ghost when it is in that sort of distress. If there is a ghost about my premises, and it has money buried in the cellar or under the hearth, or elsewhere, and it cannot lie as comfortably as I can until I have that money, and the ghost will come to me any night when I am not too tired to dig for a ghost's hard-earned savings, and will awake me and beckon with one long ghostly arm, and then—if it is a female ghost—will step outside a moment while I put on enough clothes to keep me from feeling embarrassed in the presence of a female ghost, I will gladly follow where it leads, and dig in any spot It may select.
I am an obliging sort of a man in many ways, and I will get out of bed almost any night and dig up money and put it in my pocket, if in that way I can give a ghost eternal peace. Ghosts that have money buried will please make a note of the fact that I am at home to ghosts from I2o'clock midnight to 2 A. M., and that a cold, clammy hand on my brow will generally awake me. If not, a gentle tug at my left ear will bring the answer.
There is another class of restless ghosts who go about in the night wanting folks to avenge their wrongs. They are usually the ghosts of murdered people, and they can't enjoy their rest until their murderer is punished. Then they can turn over on the other side and be comfortable. That sort of ghost will oblige me by going to some other shop. I am not in the avenging business this season. I am perfectly willing to oblige a ghost by getting up in the middle of the night to dig up its money if I can thus give it rest and contentment. But if it has any wrongs it wants to have avenged, I must respectfully ask it to call up some other man who is a better avenger than I am. My health is not robust enough to for a good reliable avenger ; and when I have any avenging of my own to do, I always hire a practical avenger, rather than attempt to do my own avenging. Ghosts who intend to call on me for assistance will please bear this fact in mind and govern themselves accordingly.
Owing to the popular impression, a very erroneous one, however, that ghosts are troublesome in the family, a thoroughly well haunted house is about the worst piece of investment property a person can own. It is hard to keep a prompt-paying tenant in a haunted house and I have heard of a beautiful $20,000 home being sold for a mere song because it contained just one frolicsome ghost. If any reader of these lines has a $20,000 haunted house, and he will sell it for a song, I will take it and hire some sweet singer to sing the song. Nobody would want to give even a haunted house to hear me sing. Those who hear me sing are willing to pay almost any price I [and] ask to have me quit. Some of my warble would break up a congregation quicker than the announcement of a collection to put a new roof on the church.
When I was a boy I thought I would be somewhat shy in the presence of a ghost. I did not think I could feel perfectly at ease at a lonely haunted spot or in my chamber with a pale, unhappy ghost that wanted a favor done, and I didn't want money bad enough then to dig for a ghost's savings. There was one spot commonly reported to be haunted, which I was required to often pass in the night time, and I usually held my hat on at such times and passed the haunted spot in a sort of hurry. And, besides, I went armed. I carried on those occasions in my trousers pocket one of those old-time self-cocking revolvers, commonly called a "pepper box." One of them was no fool of a burden for a small boy to carry, and every person who has carried a revolving "pepper-box" knows how hard it is to hit a barn with one of them at twenty paces.
How I ever expected to hit a ghost and hurt it with my "pepper-box" while I was at a dead run is a mystery to me now; but many difficulties that are so apparent to age escape the budding mind of a small boy. Of course I might had sense enough to know that I could not hurt a ghost anyway; that a ghost might be shot as full of holes as a colander without adding to its customary load of unhappiness. But that fact never entered my then young mind.
After I had carried that heavy "pepper-box" past that haunted spot fifty or sixty nights without seeing a ghost, or waiting to learn if there was a ghost there which wanted to see me, I tried to shoot it off one day at a stray dog, and then I discovered that it hadn't been able to explode a cap in five years. That is why I was allowed to have it.
When I realized how basely I had been deceived by that old revolver, which had worn out my pockets and stunted me, and which wouldn't have shot a ghost if I had met a field full of them, I was mad. I have not since carried a revolver of any sort, and when I walk by night a ghost may come into my presence with perfect freedom and without fear. —Philadelphia Press.
Created 10/15/2015, Last updated on 10/15/2015