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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Mention the plans made by the ghost to frighten the Otis family.

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The plans made by Sir Simon the ghost are fairly standard ghost practices.  Sir Simon starts out his haunting of the house by manipulating a blood stain in the carpet.  Sir Simon himself doesn't show up, but he causes a blood stain to reappear on the carpet despite the Otis family's best efforts to get rid of the stain.  

'That is all nonsense,' cried Washington Otis; 'Pinkerton's Champion Stain Remover and Paragon Detergent will clean it up in no time,' and before the terrified housekeeper could interfere he had fallen upon his knees, and was rapidly scouring the floor with a small stick of what looked like a black cosmetic. In a few moments no trace of the blood-stain could be seen.

Because the reoccurring blood stain failed to get rid of the Otis family, Sir Simon decided that he needed to show up in person.  In a scene reminiscent of Jacob Marley's appearance to Scrooge, Sir Simon appears before Mr. Otis with red eyes and rattling chains.  

Right in front of him he saw, in the wan moonlight, an old man of terrible aspect. His eyes were as red burning coals; long grey hair fell over his shoulders in matted coils; his garments, which were of antique cut, were soiled and ragged, and from his wrists and ankles hung heavy manacles and rusty gyves.

Unfortunately, Mr. Otis tells Sir Simon to use some oil on the chains and promptly goes back to bed.  

From here forward, Sir Simon tries to be scarier and scarier.  He finally decides that he has to break out one of his two scariest appearances.  

This last insult so enraged him, that he resolved to make one final effort to assert his dignity and social position, and determined to visit the insolent young Etonians the next night in his celebrated character of 'Reckless Rupert, or the Headless Earl.'

It doesn't work either, and Sir Simon is completely distraught.  The only thing that is able to help him is Virginia Otis.  She talks with him, and she helps him find peace and move on in the afterlife.  

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