Interviewing: Holly Schmidt
Sitting together in my apartment.
Holly: “I was about twelve, which means my sister was nine or ten. We thought it was kind of funny at first; the way the window opened itself. A constant breeze came through that same window, and a scratching noise, even though there was no tree or bush outside to create such a noise. We both thought the other was pulling a prank, until we noticed more weird shit.
We loved Guitar Hero; so did Stanley. That’s what we named him. We would set our guitar controllers down with the game on pause and walk away. When we returned, a song of Stanley’s choice would be scrolling across the TV screen; he wasn’t very good: missed most notes, but occasionally scored petty points.
As we got a bit older we stopped believing Stanley was a real presence, but continued to reference and joke about him. In an eerie sort of way, he was an old friend. He must’ve realized he was missed and returned.
We heard a humming in the empty bedroom. How the hell is the air conditioner on? It was off, unplugged and behind a locked door.
Our dad looked to us but we knew… STANLEY.”
The house itself was ghostly: curtains, walls, carpet, tile, shutters- all white. It was a blank slate because the family before us absolutely destroyed this house. We don’t know why, but it was fixed up before we moved in. The audacity of the ghost implies it was there long before we were.
I think my sister and I noticed him because he was all we really had. We were rather young and the divorce started right when we got this house. I may be taking the easy way out by “blaming the divorce” but it really makes sense. Madison and I both felt sort of estranged in the middle of a tense environment; Stanley became our escape. We never feared him; he was like a secret we had that kept us together as our family ripped apart. He kept our spirits young and playful when they so easily could’ve become cynical and corrupted by the destruction of our family.
Stanley was off the radar during the three years my sister and I lived apart, but came back once we were together again.
That house is no longer ours, but I hope whatever family inhabits it now, or in the future, will have the pleasure of meeting our ghost.