illustration of a ghost standing behid an iron fence with its arm raised against a large mansion

The Canterville Ghost

by Oscar Wilde
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How did the Canterville ghost plan to frighten the US family?

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The ghost's job is to haunt and frighten whoever resides in Canterville Hall and one of his charming qualities is how seriously and earnestly he takes his job. He works hard at it and tries his best to do it well. He truly is a professional. He has a full repertoire of "frights," and he pulls out all the stops for the Otis family. This includes repeatedly putting the bloodstain on the floor of the library that the family scrubs out. He also has a series of elaborate costumes, from his Headless Nick gear to a suit of armor he dons. He moans, he drags clanking chains, he appears suddenly at night at a bedside: he does all he can to fulfill his mission. Of course, he has never been up against a set of Americans, and they don't respond as expected to his tried and true methods. 

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