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Ghosts I have Met and Some Others

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« on: November 03, 2009, 01:23:10 am »

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ghosts I have Met and Some Others
by John Kendrick Bangs
(#8 in our series by John Kendrick Bangs)

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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2009, 01:25:17 am »

Title: Ghosts I have Met and Some Others

Author: John Kendrick Bangs

Release Date: November, 2004  [EBook #6995]
[This file was first posted on February 20, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO Latin-1

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, GHOSTS I HAVE MET AND SOME OTHERS ***




Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.



[Illustration: 'Such grotesque attitudes as his figure assumed I
never saw.']

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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2009, 01:26:11 am »

Ghost I Have Met And Some Others

By John Kendrick Bangs


With Illustrations by

Newell, Frost, and Richards



TO
CHOICE SPIRITS
EVERYWHERE



CONTENTS

GHOSTS THAT HAVE HAUNTED ME

THE MYSTERY OF MY GRANDMOTHER'S HAIR SOFA

THE MYSTERY OF BARNEY O'ROURKE

THE EXORCISM THAT FAILED

THURLOW'S CHRISTMAS STORY

THE DAMPMERE MYSTERY

CARLETON BARKER, FIRST AND SECOND
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2009, 01:26:40 am »

ILLUSTRATIONS

"SUCH GROTESQUE ATTITUDES AS HIS FIGURE ASSUMED I NEVER SAW"

"I TURNED ABOUT, AND THERE, FEARFUL TO SEE, SAT THIS THING GRINNING
AT ME"

"THE FRIENDLY SPECTRE STOOD BY ME"

"HE FLED MADLY THROUGH THE WAINSCOTING OF THE ROOM"

"THEN HE SET ABOUT TELLING ME OF THE BEAUTIFUL GOLD AND SILVER WARE
THEY USE IN THE ELYSIAN FIELDS"

"THERE WAS NO ONE THERE"

"I DRAINED A GLASS OF COOKING-SHERRY TO THE DREGS"

"IT HAD TURNED WHITE"

"IT IS NOT OFTEN THAT ONE'S LITERARY CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST"

"'SIX IMPTY CHAIRS, SORR'"

"'L--LUL--LET ME OUT!' HE GASPED".

"'I SHALL KEEP SHOVING YOU FOR EXACTLY ONE YEAR'"

"I WAS FORCIBLY UNCLAD"
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2009, 01:26:51 am »

"HE WAS AMPLY PROTECTED"

"PINNED HIM TO THE WALL LIKE A BUTTERFLY ON A CORK"

"FACE TO FACE"

"HE RATTLED ON FOR HALF AN HOUR"

"THE DEMON VANISHED"

"'DOESN'T DARE LOOK ME IN THE EYE!'"

"'LOOK AT YOUR SO-CALLED STORY AND SEE'"

"IT WAS TO BE THE EFFORT OF HIS LIFE"

"WHEN HE ROSE UP IN THE MORNING HE WOULD FIND EVERY SINGLE HAIR ON
HIS HEAD STANDING ERECT"

"'WEARS HIS QUEUE POMPADOUR, I SEE'"



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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2009, 01:27:14 am »

GHOSTS I HAVE MET, AND SOME OTHERS




GHOSTS THAT HAVE HAUNTED ME

A FEW SPIRIT REMINISCENCES


If we could only get used to the idea that ghosts are perfectly
harmless creatures, who are powerless to affect our well-being
unless we assist them by giving way to our fears, we should enjoy
the supernatural exceedingly, it seems to me. Coleridge, I think it
was, was once asked by a lady if he believed in ghosts, and he
replied, "No, madame; I have seen too many of them." Which is my
case exactly. I have seen so many horrid visitants from other worlds
that they hardly affect me at all, so far as the mere inspiration of
terror is concerned. On the other hand, they interest me hugely; and
while I must admit that I do experience all the purely physical
sensations that come from horrific encounters of this nature, I can
truly add in my own behalf that mentally I can rise above the
physical impulse to run away, and, invariably standing my ground, I
have gained much useful information concerning them. I am prepared
to assert that if a thing with flashing green eyes, and clammy
hands, and long, dripping strips of sea-weed in place of hair,
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2009, 01:27:32 am »

should rise up out of the floor before me at this moment, 2 A.M.,
and nobody in the house but myself, with a fearful, nerve-destroying
storm raging outside, I should without hesitation ask it to sit down
and light a cigar and state its business--or, if it were of the
female persuasion, to join me in a bottle of sarsaparilla--although
every physical manifestation of fear of which my poor body is
capable would be present. I have had experiences in this line which,
if I could get you to believe them, would convince you that I speak
the truth. Knowing weak, suspicious human nature as I do, however, I
do not hope ever to convince you--though it is none the less true--
that on one occasion, in the spring of 1895, there was a spiritual
manifestation in my library which nearly prostrated me physically,
but which mentally I hugely enjoyed, because I was mentally strong
enough to subdue my physical repugnance for the thing which suddenly
and without any apparent reason materialized in my arm-chair.
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2009, 01:27:43 am »

I'm going to tell you about it briefly, though I warn you in advance
that you will find it a great strain upon your confidence in my
veracity. It may even shatter that confidence beyond repair; but I
cannot help that. I hold that it is a man's duty in this life to
give to the world the benefit of his experience. All that he sees he
should set down exactly as he sees it, and so simply, withal, that
to the dullest comprehension the moral involved shall be perfectly
obvious. If he is a painter, and an auburn-haired maiden appears to
him to have blue hair, he should paint her hair blue, and just so
long as he sticks by his principles and is true to himself, he need
not bother about what you may think of him. So it is with me. My
scheme of living is based upon being true to myself. You may class
me with Baron Munchausen if you choose; I shall not mind so long as
I have the consolation of feeling, deep down in my heart, that I am
a true realist, and diverge not from the paths of truth as truth
manifests itself to me.
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2009, 01:28:05 am »

This intruder of whom I was just speaking, the one that took
possession of my arm-chair in the spring of 1895, was about as
horrible a spectre as I have ever had the pleasure to have haunt me.
It was worse than grotesque. It grated on every nerve. Alongside of
it the ordinary poster of the present day would seem to be as
accurate in drawing as a bicycle map, and in its coloring it simply
shrieked with discord.
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2009, 01:28:36 am »

If color had tones which struck the ear, instead of appealing to the
eye, the thing would have deafened me. It was about midnight when
the manifestation first took shape. My family had long before
retired, and I had just finished smoking a cigar--which was one of a
thousand which my wife had bought for me at a Monday sale at one of
the big department stores in New York. I don't remember the brand,
but that is just as well--it was not a cigar to be advertised in a
civilized piece of literature--but I do remember that they came in
bundles of fifty, tied about with blue ribbon. The one I had been
smoking tasted and burned as if it had been rolled by a Cuban
insurrectionist while fleeing from a Spanish regiment through a
morass, gathering its component parts as he ran. It had two distinct
merits, however. No man could possibly smoke too many of them, and
they were economical, which is how the ever-helpful little madame
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2009, 01:28:56 am »

came to get them for me, and I have no doubt they will some day
prove very useful in removing insects from the rose-bushes. They
cost $3.99 a thousand on five days a week, but at the Monday sale
they were marked down to $1.75, which is why my wife, to whom I had
recently read a little lecture on economy, purchased them for me.
Upon the evening in question I had been at work on this cigar for
about two hours, and had smoked one side of it three-quarters of the
way down to the end, when I concluded that I had smoked enough--for
one day--so I rose up to cast the other side into the fire, which
was flickering fitfully in my spacious fireplace. This done, I
turned about, and there, fearful to see, sat this thing grinning at
me from the depths of my chair. My hair not only stood on end, but
tugged madly in an effort to get away. Four hairs--I can prove the
statement if it be desired--did pull themselves loose from my scalp
in their insane desire to rise above the terrors of the situation,
and, flying upward, stuck like nails into the oak ceiling directly
over my head, whence they had to be pulled the next morning with
nippers by our hired man, who would no doubt testify to the truth of
the occurrence as I have asserted it if he were still living, which,
unfortunately, he is not. Like most hired men, he was subject to
attacks of lethargy, from one of which he died last summer. He sank
into a rest about weed-time, last June, and lingered quietly along
for two months, and after several futile efforts to wake him up, we
finally disposed of him to our town crematory for experimental
purposes. I am told he burned very actively, and I believe it, for
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2009, 01:29:09 am »

to my certain knowledge he was very dry, and not so green as some
persons who had previously employed him affected to think. A cold
chill came over me as my eye rested upon the horrid visitor and
noted the greenish depths of his eyes and the claw-like formation of
his fingers, and my flesh began to creep like an inch-worm. At one
time I was conscious of eight separate corrugations on my back, and
my arms goose-fleshed until they looked like one of those miniature
plaster casts of the Alps which are so popular in Swiss summer
resorts; but mentally I was not disturbed at all. My repugnance was
entirely physical, and, to come to the point at once, I calmly
offered the spectre a cigar, which it accepted, and demanded a
light. I gave it, nonchalantly lighting the match upon the goose
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2009, 01:29:22 am »

-fleshing of my wrist.

[Illustration: I TURNED ABOUT, AND THERE, FEARFUL TO SEE, SAT THIS
THING GRINNING AT ME.]
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« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2009, 01:29:45 am »

Now I admit that this was extraordinary and hardly credible, yet it
happened exactly as I have set it down, and, furthermore, I enjoyed
the experience. For three hours the thing and I conversed, and not
once during that time did my hair stop pulling away at my scalp, or
the repugnance cease to run in great rolling waves up and down my
back. If I wished to deceive you, I might add that pin-feathers
began to grow from the goose-flesh, but that would be a lie, and
lying and I are not friends, and, furthermore, this paper is not
written to amaze, but to instruct.
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2009, 01:29:59 am »

Except for its personal appearance, this particular ghost was not
very remarkable, and I do not at this time recall any of the details
of our conversation beyond the point that my share of it was not
particularly coherent, because of the discomfort attendant upon the
fearful hair-pulling process I was going through. I merely cite its
coming to prove that, with all the outward visible signs of fear
manifesting themselves in no uncertain manner, mentally I was cool
enough to cope with the visitant, and sufficiently calm and at ease
to light the match upon my wrist, perceiving for the first time,
with an Edison-like ingenuity, one of the uses to which goose-flesh
might be put, and knowing full well that if I tried to light it on
the sole of my shoe I should have fallen to the ground, my knees
being too shaky to admit of my standing on one leg even for an
instant. Had I been mentally overcome, I should have tried to light
the match on my foot, and fallen ignominiously to the floor then and
there.
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