The Best Ghost Stories HTML version
The Haunted and the Haunters Or, The House and the
By Edward Bulwer-Lytton
A friend of mine, who is a man of letters and a philosopher, said to me one day, as if
between jest and earnest,—"Fancy! since we last met, I have discovered a haunted house
in the midst of London."
"Really haunted?—and by what? ghosts?"
"Well, I can't answer that question: all I know is this—six weeks ago my wife and I were
in search of a furnished apartment. Passing a quiet street, we saw on the window of one
of the houses a bill, 'Apartments Furnished.' The situation suited us; we entered the
house—liked the rooms—engaged them by the week—and left them the third day. No
power on earth could have reconciled my wife to stay longer; and I don't wonder at it."
"What did you see?"
"Excuse me—I have no desire to be ridiculed as a superstitious dreamer—nor, on the
other hand, could I ask you to accept on my affirmation what you would hold to be
incredible without the evidence of your own senses. Let me only say this, it was not so
much what we saw or heard (in which you might fairly suppose that we were the dupes of
our own excited fancy, or the victims of imposture in others) that drove us away, as it
was an undefinable terror which seized both of us whenever we passed by the door of a
certain unfurnished room, in which we neither saw nor heard anything. And the strangest
marvel of all was, that for once in my life I agreed with my wife, silly woman though she
be—and allowed, after the third night, that it was impossible to stay a fourth in that
house. Accordingly, on the fourth morning I summoned the woman who kept the house
and attended on us, and told her that the rooms did not quite suit us, and we would not
stay out our week. She said, dryly, 'I know why: you have stayed longer than any other
lodger. Few ever stayed a second night; none before you a third. But I take it they have
been very kind to you.'
"'They—who?' I asked, affecting to smile.
"'Why, they who haunt the house, whoever they are. I don't mind them; I remember them
many years ago, when I lived in this house, not as a servant; but I know they will be the
death of me some day. I don't care—I'm old, and must die soon anyhow; and then I shall
be with them, and in this house still.' The woman spoke with so dreary a calmness, that
really it was a sort of awe that prevented my conversing with her further. I paid for my
week, and too happy were my wife and I to get off so cheaply."