A disembodied man is hovering in my brownstone’s second-floor hallway.
The hallway is narrow and long, with a grimy plaster ceiling and a hardwood floor covered by a lichenous carpet runner. Two wall sconces provide a modicum of light in the hall, but the man’s form floats in the gap between the sconces and is somewhat difficult to see.
I’m mostly certain he’s a man. He floats face-up against the ceiling, straight as a plank. From below I can see the back of his head, which is bald, but none of his distinguishing characteristics. He is nude, as many ghosts are—an essential, lingering self without ornament or clothes.
He’s motionless. He isn’t translucent but his form is an otherworldly pinkish gray, like neon light submerged in dirty slush.
I determined he isn’t a solid body by pushing a broom handle through his torso, and then by climbing onto a step-ladder and reaching my hand through his back. My palm met no resistance until it touched the ceiling. He felt neither warm nor cold. I perceived no electric charge.
He doesn’t make sound, and yet although I can’t directly see his face, I’m convinced (for reasons I can’t explain) that he’s constantly mouthing words. Since I have no way of turning his ethereal body, I’ve resorted to other approaches.
I slid a mirror between his head and the ceiling and tried to view his face obliquely, but all I could see was his right eye. The eye was open. I may have imagined it, but I think his pupil dilated when the mirror slid in front of it and he suddenly found himself staring at his own reflection for the first time since his death.
Viewed through the mirror, his jaw did appear to be moving, but his ghostly mouth was pressed an inch or two into the ceiling and was therefore completely hidden.
I’m going to saw around his head, through the ceiling, and open a viewing portal through which to see his face from the third-floor hallway above. I’ll report back once I find my Sawzall.