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Famous Modern Ghost Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Famous Modern Ghost Stories.
Almost immediately after the news of his decease reached this country and was verified, the report spread in Twenty-sixth Street that No. ——­ was haunted.  Legal measures had dispossessed the widow of its former owner, and it was inhabited merely by a caretaker and his wife, placed there by the house agent into whose hands it had passed for the purposes of renting or sale.  These people declared that they were troubled with unnatural noises.  Doors were opened without any visible agency.  The remnants of furniture scattered through the various rooms were, during the night, piled one upon the other by unknown hands.  Invisible feet passed up and down the stairs in broad daylight, accompanied by the rustle of unseen silk dresses, and the gliding of viewless hands along the massive balusters.  The caretaker and his wife declared they would live there no longer.  The house agent laughed, dismissed them, and put others in their place.  The noises and supernatural manifestations continued.  The neighborhood caught up the story, and the house remained untenanted for three years.  Several persons negotiated for it; but, somehow, always before the bargain was closed they heard the unpleasant rumors and declined to treat any further.

It was in this state of things that my landlady, who at that time kept a boarding-house in Bleecker Street, and who wished to move further up town, conceived the bold idea of renting No. ——­ Twenty-sixth Street.  Happening to have in her house rather a plucky and philosophical set of boarders, she laid her scheme before us, stating candidly everything she had heard respecting the ghostly qualities of the establishment to which she wished to remove us.  With the exception of two timid persons,—­a sea-captain and a returned Californian, who immediately gave notice that they would leave,—­all of Mrs. Moffat’s guests declared that they would accompany her in her chivalric incursion into the abode of spirits.

Our removal was effected in the month of May, and we were charmed with our new residence.  The portion of Twenty-sixth Street where our house is situated, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, is one of the pleasantest localities in New York.  The gardens back of the houses, running down nearly to the Hudson, form, in the summer time, a perfect avenue of verdure.  The air is pure and invigorating, sweeping, as it does, straight across the river from the Weehawken heights, and even the ragged garden which surrounded the house, although displaying on washing days rather too much clothesline, still gave us a piece of greensward to look at, and a cool retreat in the summer evenings, where we smoked our cigars in the dusk, and watched the fireflies flashing their dark lanterns in the long grass.

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