The Canterville ghost tries to salvage his reputation by adopting increasingly fantastic ghostly personas aimed at scaring the living daylights out of the Otis family. He decides that he will make it his mission to frighten the Otis family; after all, the 'horrid, rude, vulgar, dishonest' American family has humiliated him by refusing to behave like typical, past inhabitants who were terrified by his ghostly apparitions. So, the Canterville ghost decides that he will :
1)Laugh his most 'celebrated peal of demoniac laughter.'
This laugh had reportedly turned Lord Raker's wig gray in a single night and made Lady Canterville's three French governesses tender their resignations before their month was up. However, his famous laughter only succeeds in inspiring Mrs.Otis to recommend a bottle of Dobell's Tincture for his possible indigestion.
2)Scare them with a mix of his tried and true ghostly personas from the past.
The Canterville ghost decides to first scare Washington, the son, by engaging in some ghostly rhetoric at the foot of his bed and stabbing himself in the throat three times. All this is to be set against some equally disturbing music.
//He will then proceed to the parents' room, put his clammy hands on Mrs. Otis' forehead and whisper ghostly truths about dead man's bones ('secrets of the charnel-house') into Mr. Otis' ears. He thinks Virginia will be easily scared by some nondescript, hollow groans and failing that, some ghostly scratching on the counterpane should suffice. He decides to leave the twins for last because he wants to use one of his most fearsome personas, the Dumb Daniel, or the Suicide's Skeleton, to scare the living daylights out of them.
3)Use his famous Reckless Rupert, the Headless Earl persona.
The Canterville ghost has not used this disguise in more than seventy years, but it effectively caused Lady Barbara Modish such fright that she broke off her engagement to Lord Canterville's grandfather and married another man, Jack Castletown. However, when the Canterville ghost attempts to use this disguise to scare the twins, he unwittingly becomes the victim of the children's mischievous trickery. Drenched with a jug of cold water while attempting to make a memorable entrance, the Canterville ghost finds himself laid up with a cold the next day.
Alas, everything the Canterville ghost does to re-establish his 'dignity and social position' as a fearsome ghost fails. However, the story ends happily for him; with Virginia's help, he manages to secure a final peace long sought after for three hundred years.