The Night the Ghost Got In

by James Thurber
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Why does the narrator suspect that there is a ghost in the house in "The Night the Ghost Got In"?

The narrator suspects there is a ghost in the house when he hears footsteps walking around the dining room table at about 1:15 in the morning.

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The narrator first thinks there is a ghost in the house when he hears quick, "rhythmic" walking around the dining room table at about 1:15 in the morning. He also hears a board creak. At first, he thinks it is his father or brother or a burglar. He rouses his...

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The narrator first thinks there is a ghost in the house when he hears quick, "rhythmic" walking around the dining room table at about 1:15 in the morning. He also hears a board creak. At first, he thinks it is his father or brother or a burglar. He rouses his brother Herman, who listens with him. At first, they hear nothing, then footsteps. Herman, scared, rushes into his bedroom and slams the door. This is the last they hear of the "ghost."

However, Herman's door slamming awakens their mother, who, thinking there is a burglar in the house, throws her shoe through the neighbor's window to wake him so he can call the police. He does so, the police come, and they hear the noises of the grandfather in the attic, who thinks deserters of General Meade's army are coming to hide out. He treats the police as if they are the deserters, the police think the family is crazy, and after quite a bit of hullabaloo, everything dies down.

This is a typical Thurber comedy, with one event leading to a domino or chain effect of events that adds up to chaos. There surely never was a ghost, but there was a lot of excitement and mayhem.

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