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Antigonish—Or The Man Who Wasn’t There

It began with stories about the ghost of a man haunting the stairs of a haunted house in the Canadian town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Inspired by the stories, in 1899 American poet Hughes Mearns wrote a song about the ghost that he incorporated into his amateur play, The Psyco-Ed. In 1922, the song, now entitled Antigonish, was published as a poem in a New York newspaper. It became popular almost immediately, and in the late 1930s it was re-adapted into a hit song called The Little Man Who Wasn’t There.

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

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