William Doreski

The Architecture of Hauntings

Upper floors are always haunted. The attic of my family home wheezes with spirits two hundred years past. Greasy apparitions smut the two small second-floor bedrooms in Tara’s house. The Breakers’ grand stairway of marble and gilt can’t tempt me to ascend to the creepy servants’ rooms high above the ground-floor library, dining room, and ballroom. The crooked wooden chimney-winding staircase in the House of Seven Gables forbids me from confronting the dead whispering to each other beneath a complex joinery of roof. Even the loft of your expensive condo sports the ghost of a long-departed lover, whose checked twill jacket flaps like a sail in the gloom. I’m safer living on one floor. Yes, I’m happy with bedroom, bath, and kitchen all at ground level so if the ghosts arrive I can escape through any window. Maybe the basement bears a spook or two, but I only do my laundry there. The grumble of the washer and whirr of dryer warn off the worst manifestations: those you in your grimmer spiritual moments persuade yourself to endorse.

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