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Before continuing this ghost story, I’m compelled to point out that everything I’ve related up to now has been just facts.
There were strange happenings in my apartment. If you don’t believe me talk with Doug and Lori Lindner, the couple who bought the Solon Economist from me and moved into the loft apartment after I moved out. They also experienced strange happenings, including a footstool sliding across the floor, candles tipping over and pots crashing off a shelf. They witnessed the phenomenon independent of me; I never told them about the strange events in the apartment– I didn’t want to jinx the deal.
And there were unexplained footsteps on our roof at night, as well as a sense that someone was watching us, a plate of cookies that slid off the counter, fantastic pieces of art drawn in the window with frost and more.
Also, there really was a grocer named Joe Holland who lived in my apartment before me and, at least in the years that I knew him, had become miserly and a recluse. It was common knowledge about town that he’d walk up to the bank every morning to check the interest rates, and he did come to my office many times to use the restroom, once asking for an envelope to tidy up a stack of official looking certificates with $10,000 printed in a corner. There really was an antique pistol found in the piles of garbage tossed from his apartment, and I really did use the money from its sale to build a deck on the roof.
I also feel compelled to say that I don’t think Joe was a bad man. I do think he was like a lot of people of his generation that saw the incredibly hard times of the Great Depression and developed the extremely frugal habits needed to deal with a wolf just outside the door. Or perhaps there was an organic root– a chemical imbalance or genetic predisposition­ to his compulsive hoarding, either way I never saw his behavior as evil, just a little sad.
So what did I see on the roof on that dark and stormy night after lightning hit the rod on the Literary Society Building across the street?
At first I thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me after being half blinded by the lightning. It was just a glow, really, but as it slowly moved across the near-flat roof towards me I could see footsteps being formed in the sheen of water on the surface. Like the incidents in the apartment, the apparition didn’t really scare me, I never felt in danger, but it caused the hair on my neck to tingle hard just the same. The glow and the steps moved towards me, and I felt a sense of sadness that became more profound as it approached. Before it reached me it veered to the side and headed to the west edge of the building. There it stood for a few minutes before retracing its path by me and to the back of the building where it disappeared.
The next morning I took my coffee up on the roof. The air was fresh and clean. The storm was well gone. I walked over to the side of the roof where the ghost paused, and I sat down on the wall. To my surprise the capstone shifted slightly under my weight, and I quickly stood and examined it. Although heavy it was loose. Sliding it aside I uncovered a cavity with many official looking papers including one old envelope addressed to the newspaper, the envelope I had given Joe years before. There were also piles of cash and coin, some of it pure gold.
What did I do?
I’m not saying, but I’ll offer a few clues.
Shortly after, I remarried, sold the newspaper and began a life of little work and lots of luxury. We live in a nice house and travel a lot. People speculate that I live off of some inheritance or my spouse, and I do nothing to dissuade them. During this time, a grocer’s museum was built in the town of Egeskov, Denmark, thanks to a large, anonymous donation that came from America (check it out on Google). While Doug and Lori experienced mysterious events in the apartment, they never heard footsteps on the roof again.