The official site of author Ed Lin.

A Ghost Story

Posted by on Jun 10, 2007 in Ed, Ghosts | 2 comments

After the sleazy hotel in Jersey, after moving to the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania the summer before my senior year in high school (thanks, mom and dad), after a senior year in a redneck high school in which I spent every other day in the principal’s office, there was the haunted farmhouse.

It was the summer before I was leaving for college (and in my mind, never fucking coming back). My parents found an old farmhouse on a large plot of land (including half a mountain). It was really cheap (this is when the warning light should have gone on), but it was about an hour away from the town proper.

[I still hate that town. In fact, I’ll save more discussion about it for a future entry on its own.]

Anyway, they sent me to live in it for the two months before school to keep an eye on the place.

It was a house that was built, I’m guessing, in the early 1800s. There was a ground floor, an upper floor and a dirt-floor basement with a coal furnace. The steps for all the stairs were steep and uneven — crudely hand-sawed. I had to shovel coal into the furnace to get hot water and clean out the ashes regularly and haul them to a disposal chute so the coal could get enough oxygen to burn properly.

[Years later, when a reviewer noted that the narrator in Waylaid “seems bent on more than hauling his ashes,” I knew exactly what he was talking about.]

Some days, when the water wasn’t coming through properly, I had to go up to the top of the mountain, clear the mud, stones and other debris from the lake drain so that water could again flow uninterrupted down to the house.

My first night in the house, I had just moved in what I planned to take to college: records, a stereo, a pillow (and later a blanket because although it was the summer, it got cold at night) and some clothes. I took one of the bedrooms on the second floor.

I turned off my bedroom ceiling light and was about to go to sleep when I heard some snoring sounds coming from the bedroom across the hall.

My first thought was that some homeless person had snuck in and was hiding out.

I got up, turned on my light, the hallway light and then I stepped into the other bedroom and snapped on the light.

What I didn’t find was scarier than anything I could have found.

The room was completely empty. There wasn’t even a bed, or any other furniture. But the snoring had stopped.

Then I thought, man, I’m just imagining it all. I turned off all the lights and went back to bed.

And the snoring started again.

Mind, you, I know what a settling foundation sounds like. It’s sharp and irregular. Not rhythmic and certainly not offset with sounds of exhaling.

I turned on all the lights again and went back to the room. Nothing there and no snoring.

Okay, I thought. I could choose to be afraid or not.

I went back to my bedroom and left the light on. I put on Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power album and flipped it over a few times.

After a while, I turned everything off and got back in bed. I heard the snoring again. I was now less scared, but I couldn’t sleep.

If I heard “Get out!” I would’ve been gone so fast, but the presence was nothing more than just some disembodied snoring.

In the early morning a rooster crowed in the distance and the snoring stopped. It was truly amazing to hear that relationship.

No more sounds came forth, such as trudging to the wash basin and then downstairs to breakfast and then work in the fields.

I called my parents and told them there was a ghost in the house. They told me to shut up. Typically superstitious Asians.

The snoring didn’t happen every night, but at least a few times a week. When I left that house and went to college, I started asking other people if they had ghost stories.

Even now, it’s still an icebreaker with me. If we ever meet, please tell me one.

Or write one into the comments!


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  1. chez

    I want to read this. But I don’t like scary stories.

  2. brrrned


    tried to scare away the ghost with stooges. nice.


  1. Ed Lin for President » Blog Archive » To Hell With Williamsport, Pennsylvania! - [...] spent the summer in the haunted house and then it was off to New York where wearing a hammer…

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