Literary hauntings

At Halloween, ghost stories proliferate. Across the country, newspapers trot out the Edgar Allan Poe references. Salem, Massachusetts, where accused witches were drowned, hosts “haunted happenings” weekends. And news stations and crackpot websites dredge up stories of local hauntings.

In honor of the holiday, here are a few literary ghost stories I’ve stumbled upon in recent weeks:

  • At Rowan Oak, in Oxford, Mississippi, the “ghost of William Faulkner has been seen writing on the wall in one of the rooms and has been spotted walking the grounds of his home.”
  • Hemingway’s ghost really gets around. At his Key West home, the author has “reportedly been seen waving from windows in the home, and turning lights on throughout the place. Late-night visitors have recounted tales of hearing a typewriter pounding away and smelling the distinct odors of rum and whiskey in the air.” But at the full moon, an employee of his Cuba estate claims, “the author’s ghost used to emerge [there] and . . . pursue him down a track.”
  • Emily Bronte’s ghost allegedly appears at the Bronte sisters’ home every December 19 or thereabouts. She “haunts the grounds, her head bowed as in deep thought and meditation,” but disappears if anyone approaches.
  • Some nutcase purports to have photographed Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ghost at the House of the Seven Gables. Here’s the “evidence.”
  • Although obsessed with death in life, Emily Dickinson evidently tolerates without reprisal the drunken ramblings of UMass students who “bring beer in the dark of night to the cemetery and sit by Emily’s grave and talk to her.”

(If you know of more writer ghost stories, send ’em in.)


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