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The Creaking Stair

Categories: Haunted Houses
Scary Books: The Book Of Dreams And Ghosts
: Andrew Lang

A lady very well known to myself, and in literary society, lived as a

girl with an antiquarian father in an old house dear to an antiquary.

It was haunted, among other things, by footsteps. The old oak

staircase had two creaking steps, numbers seventeen and eighteen from

the top. The girl would sit on the stair, stretching out her arms,

and count the steps as they passed her, one, two, three, and so on to

seventeen a
d eighteen, _which always creaked_. {190} In this case

rats and similar causes were excluded, though we may allow for

"expectant attention". But this does not generally work. When people

sit up on purpose to look out for the ghost, he rarely comes; in the

case of the "Lady in Black," which we give later, when purposely

waited for, she was never seen at all.

Discounting imposture, which is sometimes found, and sometimes merely

fabled (as in the Tedworth story), there remains one curious

circumstance. Specially ghostly noises are attributed to the living

but absent.