A Ghost’s Guide to Haunting Humans

Short Stories

A Ghost’s Guide to Haunting Humans is cute and quirky list of guidelines every ghost in the afterlife should practice.

This flash fiction story (under 1000 words) won the Whidbey Student Choice Award in 2011.


A Ghost’s Guide to Haunting Humans
By Sarina Dorie


1. Make the first impression a lasting one. Do you really want to be the ghost known for tripping on ectoplasm as you make your big entrance? Take  care in planning your first meet with your mortal ‘hauntees’.

2. Avoid clichés. Creaking stairs have been done. Moaning, wailing, shaking chains, leaving stains on carpets and saying, “Waaaaaah!” or “Ooooooh!” isn’t scary, it’s just pathetic. It reeks of amateur.

3. Brown is the new white. Appearing as pale, glowing beings in white gowns is OUT. We don’t need another Casper or Lady in White. Think of creative ways to use mud, root beer or chocolate.

4. Be original. Be unpredictable. No one has ever haunted a sock drawer, possessed a juicer or made a Yorkshire Terrier vomit pea soup.

5. Don’t lose your head. Literally. It’s been done so often humans are starting to notice and wonder just how many ghosts have been decapitated.

6. Be yourself. There are enough ghosts of Abraham Lincoln that these impersonators have to take shifts so they can each get a turn at the Lincoln Memorial. The worst part of portraying yourself as a historical ghost is some historian is sure to see through the guise and say in a calm and certainly not frightened manner, “How curious. Zippers weren’t yet invented in the eighteenth century.”

7. Remember, they are more scared of you than you are of them. Do not let your fear show. You are in control. No one can exorcise you if you don’t want them to.

When all else fails, remember, death becomes you. If you are having a bad day, no one can ever take your immortality away.

The End


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