Why was Lord Canterville and his family not willing to stay in the mansion?
In Chapter One of "The Canterville Ghost," Lord Canterville reveals why he could no longer stay at Canterville Chase. For some time, he explains, many members of the Canterville family have lived in a state of perpetual fear because of the resident ghost. His wife, Lady Canterville, for example, could rarely sleep at night because of the "mysterious noises" which emanated from the library and the corridor. Many members of the family caught glimpses of the ghost and even the local rector, Reverend Augustus Dampier, claims to have seen him.
Even worse than these fleeting glimpses, Lord Canterville's grandaunt, the Dowager Duchess of Bolton, was "frightened into a fit" after the ghost appeared to her as she was dressing for dinner. As a result, many of the family's servants refused to stay at the house, prompting Lord Canterville to move out and to put Canterville Chase on the market.