Name That Trauma :: Reader Cynthia M. on a Ghostbusting Brothers Book

Dear Partners in Childhood Traumas,

I am trying to identify a short story I read several decades ago that scared the crap out of me. It definitely dates from before 1970 and I believe I encountered it as part of an anthology. In the story, there are two brothers who run a ghost-hunting business. One is the sensible, scientific type and the other is the reckless one, and neither actually believes in ghosts. They have debunked every case they’ve taken until they are hired to investigate THE house (dum dum DUM.) Spooky stuff happens and the sensible brother is convinced they have found a real haunted house. The other brother is still skeptical and decides to spend a night alone in the haunted bedroom (because that always ends well.) Sensible brother stands watch, hears a scream and runs in to find his brother diving out the window to his death. The authorities decide he committed suicide but WE know better.

In my young mind, I envisioned this whole tale happening in my own bedroom, to the extent that I obsessed about whether a jump from my second story window would actually be fatal. I decided it would if you landed on your head; I did not consider investigating any further. In retrospect, I think I was set up for the final sucker punch because the early parts of the story described various cases the brothers had debunked rather cleverly and by the time they got to the haunted house, I was ready to sign up for a glamorous career as a ghost hunter. Needless to say I changed my mind by the end.

I just know some of you knowledgeable folks out there will recognize this story (hopefully I remember the details correctly.) Thanks in advance for any info you can provide!

Love the website!

Cynthia M.

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12 years ago

Unfortunately, I cannot help identify the trauma, but that the woman’s face up top freaks me right the hell out! Maybe it’s her weirdly small face, maybe it’s her creepy piranha-mouth, maybe it’s the whole deal. Eurgh!

10 years ago

Sounds a lot like one of the better stories from one of the two “Rod Serling’s the Twilight Zone” anthology books my father would read us ghost stories from before we went to sleep back in the 1980’s.

I’m 90% sure it’s the short story “The House on the Square” from “Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone” By Walter B. Gibson
ISBN-13: 978-0517413180

“The House on the Square – a pair of ghostbusters finally get more than they bargained for….”