The cold sick dread that wakes you in the middle of the night is not “just in your head.” No matter how many times he insists to the contrary you do not bolt upright, drenched in sweat because you “just consumed too much of the 1961 Bordeaux with the duck confit tonight, darling.” The terror-filled howls echoing through the hallways are not “just the wind blowing through again because Louisa keeps leaving the terrace doors open, that forgetful girl.”
Yup, there is definitely something sinister here. But fear not. This fun Niche quiz will tell you which malevolent spirit is causing all the fuss!
1. Roberta draws your curtains open, as she does every morning, and you blink your eyes awake as sunlight bathes the room.
a) You get dressed in a stiff blouse that buttons all the way up to your throat. You make your way downstairs and sit on the opposite side of the table from him, a full twelve seats away. He comments on the weather and pretends to read the newspaper. You take a spoon and tap at your hard-boiled egg so vigorously you can almost drown out the sound of his voice. Almost.
b) You reach for him, eyes still fuzzy with sleep, but the space beside you is cold and empty. Surely he’s just downstairs? Surely he wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye?
“Roberta…he hasn’t already left for Paris, has he?” you ask, trying to keep your voice carefree.
“I’m afraid so, m’am. Will you be taking your breakfast downstairs?”
Does he love you? Did he ever love you? You feel he is hiding a terrible secret and the more you reach for him the farther he slips.
“No. Send up a tray of tea and toast, please. Then tell Albert to saddle up his fastest stallion. I’d like to go for a ride,” you say (kind of snapping at Roberta even though she hasn’t done anything wrong just to show how upset you are).
c) He’s already dressed and standing beside the bed. He hands you a cup of coffee (three sugars, just as you like it) as you stretch and mumble that you need five more minutes.
“If you don’t get dressed now, my love, we might miss Fred’s engagement luncheon. Then we’ll never see the look on his face when he realizes he’s accidentally engaged to both of the Donoghue twins,” he says.
You’re dressed and ready in five minutes.
2. You’ve gone to the attic many times now. Compelled by a force greater than yourself, you don your satin slippers and your burgundy night-gown and you tip-toe out of the bedroom. You’re careful not to step on any of the creaky stairs as you ascend to the attic. You daren’t even breathe as you push open the door. You sense the creature lurking in the dark for you and you flip on the light switch with shaking hands, ready to face whatever awaits. Nothing there. Each time, nothing there.
This time on your little expedition, you’re inspecting the old armoire in the corner when someone taps you on the shoulder…
a) It’s Mr. Wilberforce, the old butler with the mismatched eyes. “Madam shouldn’t be wandering the house alone at such a late hour,” he whispers.
“Right,” you say, “just fancied a walk, Wilberforce. I’m to bed now.”
“Yes, that would be best,” Wilberforce murmurs. “It’s a very old house. All manners of accidents happen when one wanders about alone. We wouldn’t want that would we?”
You scoff at him but you run the rest of the way to your bedroom once you’re out of his sight.
b) It’s him and he’s grinning. “Oh no Jane! My secret’s up. You’ve found the wife I keep in the attic. If you must leave me to live with some missionaries in a hut…I, like, totally get that,” he exclaims, perfectly dry in his line-delivery. You want to scold him for scaring you but you’re laughing too hard. He’s laughing too. Yes, it’s so silly. Once you put it that way and you’re standing in a well-lit room it’s really so silly. And yet…
c) It’s your least favourite sister-in-law. She’s been overstaying her welcome as a house-guest for weeks now.
“I say,” she says, “did you know that every night you wear very fancy pajamas and walk around the place in your sleep howling like a wolf?”
“I hate you Augustina,” you tell Augustina.
Augustina shrugs. “Just thought you ought to know. I was just sneaking some of your strawberries and cream from the kitchen when I heard you at it again.”
3. It feels like it was a lifetime ago. It feels like it was just yesterday. You’ll never forget how you met.
a) At the race tracks. His charcoal suit had all the right angles and stood out among the ill-fitted burlap sacks all the other men were wearing. From the moment you saw him, you knew he was your ticket out of that small town, filled with small people.
b) You were hiding behind some bushes from an unwanted suitor at a party. He almost tripped over you as he went to get another martini at the bar. He started to make some fuss as he noticed he had stepped on a living human being so you yanked him down to the ground with you and clamped one hand over his mouth to shut him up.
“Oh be quiet would you, old thing?” you whispered. “It’s just that I’m too young to be married off to a bore like Jackson and he’s on a warpath to propose to me tonight, you see.”
When you removed your digits from his lips, he stared at you silently for what seemed like hours. “Well we can’t have that,” he said, clearing his throat a bit as though he had a nasty fly stuck down there. “Allow me to fetch you a drink and keep you company as you thwart this brute’s advances by, er, lying down in the dirt. As one does.”
c) You were at the cake-tasting for your wedding and he owned the cake shop. “We want hazelnut,” your fiancée said. “I think you’ll find the buttercream more to your liking,” he said, staring at you and only you. Yes, you wanted buttercream. You wanted buttercream for the rest of your life.
4. Your favorite dressing gown is…
a) Red. It looks fantastic on you as you smoke and look out the window, moodily.
b) Pale blue.
c) Possessed of a most charming pattern of hearts and cupid’s arrows.
5. “Darling, are you coming to bed?” he asks. “Just a minute,” you say, “I need a nightcap.” Every night before bed you drink…
a) Bourbon. Neat. You like to drink it alone, outside on the terrace. Something is not right.
b) Chamomile tea. Marie, the kindly old cook, makes it for you every night and you sit at her table feeling like a child, seeking comfort in the warmth of your drink. “Where does he go so early in the morning? What is he keeping from me? Does he love another?” you dare to ask aloud. “Very nice dear,” Marie hums at the stove. “Would you like a biscuit?”
c) Warm milk and honey. He has to make it. No one else makes it just right.
6. For reasons unclear to you, you’re hosting loads of guests for the week. You arrange the menus, assign the bedrooms, organize the outings but you’re not prepared for this.
a) You struggle not to react as she walks through the door. Later, as you pile too many deviled eggs on your plate just to have an excuse to stand near her, you’re still too scared to look at her directly. “I thought you were dead,” you say, “please, tell me I’m not dreaming. Tell me I haven’t totally lost it. If I have and this is in my head, tell me it’s real anyway.” She grabs your wrist and, while you manage to not drop the plate itself, all the damn deviled eggs go toppling onto the table. “I told you I’d come for you,” she says.
b) He’s in love with Lady Margaret you’re sure of it. Why else would he go red in the face and excuse himself every time she tries to speak to him? It must be that he’s in love with her and not some other convoluted reason involving family secrets, Lady Margaret being a blackmailer, and him being rather noble.
c) Somebody is murdered in their bed the very first night everyone is staying over. You and he spend the next week trying to get to the bottom of it. You do, of course, but you nearly get pushed off the roof. He saves you and the police arrive just as he’s pulling you up to safety.
7. Your fondest wish is to…
a) Run away with her, change your name, wear a mud-colored dress, and raise geese in a French village.
b) See him happy. Since he loves Lady Margaret now, you may as well take the night coach to Amelia’s house in the city and leave him to his happiness. You’re definitely not misinterpreting anything in this situation for you are very perceptive and always right.
c) See your older sister Clementina walk straight into a deep puddle and shriek as you stand there pointing and laughing. He stands there with you and shakes his head at your antics but he is smiling a bit, secretly amused.
Find your polter-guest results below:
Mostly (a): Forever is composed of nows! You have Emily Dickinson up in that armoire. Do NOT try to exorcise. She will exorcise you before you even get a chance.
Mostly (b): Maybe you were the ghost all along? Maybe not. Either way, Nicole Kidman’s performance from the movie The Others lingers in the foundations of your old mansion.
Mostly (c): He was smiling through his own personal hell, Dropped his last dime in a wishing well. You’re haunted by Casper the friendly ghost! Looks friendly, kind of creepy if you actually look into it.
A mix of letters: Bazinga! You got Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory in your attic.