The Return of the Ruined Banker

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The Return of the Ruined Banker The setting for this ghost story was at Sturdivant Hall, in Selma, Alabama in the 1860’s. Sturdivant Hall had been constructed in 1852. This stately mansion had six tall white pillars in the front. There were many parlors downstairs and an abundance of spacious bedrooms upstairs. There were large fig trees, shrubs, and scuppernong vines on either side of the home. A group of visitors had gathered to take a to tour of this beautiful mansion; then, the guide revealed something quite remarkable. (Windham and Figh, 79) The guests were admiring the graceful proportions of the downstairs parlors and had made their way to an upstairs bedroom. The guide was describing the rope-laced trundle bed and other old furnishings to the tourists when she suddenly stopped in mid-sentence and became very pale. One of the men in the group tried to help her to a chair, but before he reached her, she took a deep breath and continued her interrupted story. (Windham and Figh, 79) After the tour was over and the visitors had gone, the guide hurried to her friend who was keeping the guest register. (Windham and Figh, 79) “He’s here again!” she exclaimed. “He brushed against me in the upstairs bedroom. I never felt anything quite like it – his touch was clamming and frightening.” (Windham and Figh, 79,80) She continued to explain to her friend about the ghost of John Parkman. She told her friend that his ghost usually appeared when there were tourists in the building. She wasn’t sure if his ghost disliked strangers in his home, or if his ghost was just a reminder for her to tell the people about his remarkable success story and what a fine person he was. John Parkman lived in the white-columned... ... middle of paper ... ...d of seeing him believed he was buried near the scuppernong harbor and that his restless spirit roamed from that grave. Even when they were told that Parkman was properly interred in the family lot in Live Oak Cemetery, they kept insisting, “Mr. Parkman is right there. He’s buried under the fig tree by the arbor. And he’s troubled and restless. Mighty restless.” (Windham and Figh, 85) It must indeed be the restless, troubled ghost of John Parkman that wanders through the spacious rooms and around the grounds of the home he loved, appearing only when crowds of people are present. Is he objecting to the intrusion of these strangers into his home? Is he trying to play again the role of gracious host to a gay gathering of guests? Or, is he seeking a defender, someone who will clear him of the stigma that has marred his good name? (Windham and Figh, 85)

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