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Shell Shocked: The ghost of Sanibel

By Staff | Dec 9, 2015

“There he is again,” I exclaimed, “our unwanted house guest.” Our house guest is a ghost a house ghost.

I’ve owned my house in Sanibel for 15 years and the house ghost visits us regularly. He appears in the form of a translucent figure decked out in American revolutionary attire. The first time he appeared I was eating breakfast. He walked into the kitchen and I said to my wife “I think I’m seeing a ghost.”

The ghost said: “You’re darned right you’re seeing a ghost. I’m looking for Ben and John. Have you seen them?”

Studying the oatmeal I had let drop to the floor when he appeared I stammered: “Ben and John who?”

The ghost looked around the room and appeared to be agitated. “Ben Franklin and John Adams, of course. Have you seen them?”

How do you talk to a ghost? Are you matter of fact as though you talk to ghosts every day? Do you act frightened? And if so, what is a ghost apt to do under those circumstances? Not knowing ghost talk protocol I merely whispered. “Why would Ben Franklin and John Adams be here in this house?”

The ghost sighed. “Because we’re supposed to sign the Declaration of Independence here today, that’s why.”

I whispered again “But this isn’t..”

“Stop whispering,” said the ghost. “I can hardly hear you. Please speak up.”

I said: “But this isn’t where the Declaration of Independence is supposed to be signed. This is Sanibel Island.”

The ghost froze. “You mean this house isn’t in Lexington, Massachusetts?”

“No,” I said. “This is Sanibel, Florida.”

“But they told me to meet them here. Could Ben and John have gotten the address wrong?”

I said, “But this is the year 2015. The Declaration of Independence was signed many years ago. And I believe the signing took place in Massachusetts.”

“Impossible,” said the ghost. “They told me to meet them here. They said they had the ink and the quill and that I would be one of the signers.”

I felt I was walking on shells. I didn’t want to appear argumentative and also didn’t want to hurt the ghost’s feelings. “Are you sure? I don’t even think Sanibel existed in the 18th century.”

The ghost began to walk through walls. That’s when I dropped my coffee cup on top of the oatmeal. The ghost returned right through the kitchen wall. “Well I plan on waiting for Ben and John right here. They told me to meet them here and I will not disappoint them.”

So this poor misguided ghost stayed in the house and appears regularly to ask me if I’d heard from Ben and John. I try not to rattle him, or put him on edge. I merely respond by saying that I received an email from Ben saying that they’re on their way and that the republic will stand.

I forgot to forewarn the lawn guy about the ghost. He showed up one day and saw a translucent image sitting on the pool lounge chair. The image asked the lawn guy if he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I thought the lawn guy was shot out of a cannon by the way he disappeared so quickly. I now forewarn all my guests.

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.