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The Tennis Club Ghost

  • Written by Marc Holt
  • November 7th, 2005
  • 6 min read


Dave was a devout atheist. In fact, if you had asked him what he believed in he would have told you he was an atheist existentialist. He surely didn't believe in ghosts.

Not long after he got married to Noi, a beautiful Thai girl, they moved into a brand new apartment at a tennis club in the northern Bangkok suburbs. Adam, a Chinese businessman owned the club. Adam was perversely proud of his farang name, derived from the nickname his Thai staff had given him; 'Ai Dum', meaning 'black man', or 'black hearted'.

Because Dave was doing such a god job for him, Adam generously gave Dave and Noi the choice of any apartment in the two-story block. They were the first tenants, so they chose a corner room on the second floor. They were very happy when they moved in. But three days later they weren't so sure any more.

Dave came home that evening about 6 pm after a hard day's work and settled down to read a book while he waited for Noi to arrive. He was resting on a sofa that backed onto the wall of the empty apartment next door. At least, Dave thought the apartment was still empty. He hadn't heard of anyone else moving in yet.

He was so absorbed in his book it took a little while before he realized he could hear a woman crying and moving something around next door. It sounded like she was dragging cardboard boxes across the floor.

The sobbing was quiet at first, but then it became so heart-wrenching that Dave became worried and went out onto the common veranda that ran in front of both rooms to see if he could help. It was dark outside by then, so he was a bit surprised to see that there were no lights on in the room. But he could still hear the woman crying, so he knocked on the door and called out to her.

"Is everything alright? Can I help?"

All sounds in the room suddenly stopped and there was dead silence.

Dave knocked on the door and called out again, but there was no response. The dark room and the closed windows puzzled him. But figuring the crying woman didn't need any help and that she wanted some privacy, he returned to the couch and resumed his reading.

Not two minutes later the sobbing and moving sounds started again. Shrugging, Dave kept on reading. Whatever was going on was obviously none of his business.

Ten minutes later, just before Noi came home, the sounds stopped. So, when Noi arrived Dave decided not to say anything about it. He didn't want his new bride to start worrying unnecessarily.

Noi cooked dinner and they both sat down to eat. Suddenly the sounds started up next door again. Dave didn't say a word, or even indicate that he heard them, in case it was just his imagination.

Noi looked up and asked Dave when someone had moved in next door. Dave was relieved. He had been worried he might have been losing his marbles. He said that he wasn't sure if there was actually anyone there at all. Then he told Noi what had happened earlier.

As soon as Noi heard this she picked up a torch and they both went out onto the veranda where she knocked on the door and called out to the crying woman. All sound in the room stopped again.

Mystified, Noi told Dave to knock on the door again. No response.

Then Noi asked Dave to open one of the windows and shine the torch in.

The room was totally empty. Absolutely nothing there at all!

Returning to their room Noi said she would try to find out from the Thai staff if they knew anything about the phantom noise maker. There were no more noises that evening so they went to bed and slept peacefully.

The next morning one of the security guards told Noi he thought the sobbing girl might be the ghost of one of the laborers who had built the apartment block, a young girl of eighteen. The guard said that the girl's boyfriend had got her pregnant and then run out on her when she was seven months pregnant. Unable to face the future with a child to bring up on her own, she hanged herself from the veranda.

That night, when Dave returned home Noi told him the story. It sent shivers up his spine. Even though he didn't believe in ghosts, this was a bit too real for him. It went against all his beliefs. But he was still not convinced he had met his first ghost.

As they were eating dinner that evening the sobbing and dragging sounds started again. They both raced next door and shone the torch into the room. Again, it was totally empty. They even checked the other rooms, and called a guard to help them. But they still found no sign of anyone.

Returning to their room, Dave told Noi that the ghost was not harming anyone so they should just ignore it.

But the next day Dave went to Adam and told him the tale. He asked if they could move downstairs to a room in the middle of the block instead. That night they moved all their belongings and cooked dinner.

While they were eating they heard the sobbing and dragging sounds again. This time, the girl was dragging something down the veranda to the room directly above theirs. By this time, they felt sorry for the poor ghost. As Dave told Noi, it was obvious that the poor girl craved company. They were happy to have a benign ghost who liked them and wanted to be close to them. They settled in and learned to live with their ghostly guest.

A week later, Chet, an American tennis pro from South Carolina, moved into the apartment next to theirs. They introduced themselves. Dave and Noi had trouble understanding his thick southern accent at first.

"Ah sho am glad to meet y'all." Chet greeted them.

Neither of them told him about the ghost, just in case he might think they were both crazy.

But the very next morning while they were eating breakfast, Chet came to their door and asked, "Did y'all heah someone narking last nart about 3 o'clark?" he asked.

Dave and Noi looked at each other and then shook their heads, "Narking?" they chorused, baffled. "What's that?"

"Y'all know, narking on ma doah."

"Oh! Knocking on your door."

"Yuh, did y'all hear it?"

"No." they both said.

"Waal, thet sho is strange, coz ah got up and opened the doah and there was no one there. Ah even looked down in case it wuz a dwarf narking. Anyways, I went back to bed and someone narked agin so I went back an opened the doah agin. Same thing. No one there agin. Ah looked all up an' down but ah'm sure there was no one theah. D'yall think someone's playin' a joke on me?"

Dave and Noi invited Chet in for a cup of coffee and told him about the resident ghost. Chet didn't believe them at first, but after he heard the ghost crying and moving boxes around the next night he became a believer too. After that he even got up in the middle of the night and invited her in whenever she knocked on the door. She obviously fancied the handsome young American. They all lived happily together until the humans moved out some months later.

They say the crying woman still haunts the tennis club apartments to this day.

Stickman's thoughts:

I'm surprised the Thai woman didn't do a runner right away. Thais are petrified of ghosts.