The Sunporch Ghost

So my dad was in the military and we moved around a lot, and we moved to Key West Florida when I was in…first grade. And we couldn’t find a place to live so we lived in a little island in a trailor called Stock Island. And then my parents finally found a house on Key West Island, and so we moved into this old house, and it had been converted into three apartments – one was the downstairs, and the two apartments on the upstairs. And back then, really old houses were called Conch Houses, like a conch shell. And so we moved into this really old conch house on Newton Avenue in Key West Florida. And it was only two bedrooms, we had the whole downstairs, and there was this, kind of an inclosed-in sun porch that had a built-in cupboard and some built-in high shelves, and it was barely enough room for a twin bed up against the wall. And it had, it was all screened in and it had windows all along the other two sides, and a door to the outside. And my older brother was too scared to sleep down there, he refused to sleep down there, we called it the dungeon. Cause the house was so old, to get down to it, you know the master bedroom was here sort of in the center of the house, and my brother’s bedroom was here and the kitchen was here, and you had to walk down this creaky hall to get to the dungeon, and it was really slanted down, cause it was such an old house, it wasn’t level. There were two steps down to it, it was way down at the end of the house. So I had to sleep there because my older brother was too scared. So I would sleep down there, and often, um, I would wake up and there would be a man standing at the door. To the outside, the screen door to the outside. And he was just wearing like an overcoat, with a, like one of those big felt hats, and would just stand there at the door. (What was he doing?) Just standing there, at the door. (Was he on the inside or the outside?) I don’t really remember, I guess just sort of in the doorway. So I guess inside. And I would tell my parents, and yeah yeah yeah, well and maybe that’s why my brother refused to sleep down there. And, um, I’m not sure anybody, you know took me seriously, and one day my mom was telling the old lady – she was, gosh, in her 90’s, she had lived there forever, in the conch house across the street – and for some reason this topic of conversation came up and that I would say I’d seen this man standing in the doorway. And the lady, who had lived there forever, says “oh, well that’s the guy that used to live there, he died, and that was his sun porch, and he would sit out on his sun porch all the time.” And I had described him exactly how he was. So maybe they believed me after that, I’m not sure. But it was a pretty cool house. Old, old house.



The informant had a firsthand experience, which she then related to her mother. Then an outside party who knew the history of the house and its past residents confirmed the appearance of the man that used to live there and who specifically loved and spent time in the part of the house where the informant reported seeing him. This confirmation reinforced and categorized the informant’s belief of what she had experienced, and also, as she reports, made her mother and her family believe her account (or, we could say, legend) because of the ‘evidence’ provided by the old lady that matched up with the informant’s story. It is worth noting that the informant experienced this in a new state, in a new house, in a liminal and impressionable stage in her growing up.