Strange Tales #79: "The Ghost of Grismore Castle"

Strange Tales #79
"The Ghost of Grismore Castle"
December, 1960

Creators: Script: Stan Lee.  Art: Steve Ditko.

Victor was getting tired of Otis Norton's penchant for practical jokes.
Things would never be the same when the practical joker set his sights on
Grismore Castle.  When Otis scoffed at his friend being afraid of
spending a night in the castle, a fifty dollar wager was made.  In the
hours before Victor was to enter the old castle, Otis set up shop, with
several strings attached.  When his friend arrived for his appointment,
the practical joker kept his poker face, and told Victor that he was to
wave from the tower window at dawn, or lose the wager.

Once inside Grismore Castle, Victor fell victim to Otis' booby traps.  A
witch on a diving broomstick was a thing of rags and wire.  A ghastly
ghost above him was a luminous sheet.  The hideous head which flew across
the room was an artful piece of paper mache.  Outside, the practical
joker waited for his friend's swift exit, and he was not disappointed.

Now it was Otis' turn to spend a night in Grismore Castle.  He would go
to the tower and show Victor the "ghosts" which had haunted him.  The
practical joker doesn't get far before he starts seeing some ghosts of
his own.  The disembodied head is the first to welcome him and amuse him
in a way that only he could enjoy.  The sheet beneath his quivering feet
complains that Otis is standing on him.  The ghost lifts him up with
invisible fingers, while the phantom in top hat and tails assures him
that no one will harm him.

The luminous ghost tells Otis that it's time for them to visit the tower,
and when he starts to protest, the top-hatted phantom points out that he
should decline their invitation.  The practical joker finds himself
passing through a solid wall, only to become stuck halfway, and turned
invisible, as well.

After a time, Otis Norton is freed from his confined space, and leaps
away from Grismore Castle.  He does not pause, as Victor shouts to him in
vain.  Days pass, and a changed Otis has vowed never to pull another
practical joke ever again.  When his former victims ask why the sudden
change of heart, the former practical joker stammers that he can't
explain, but he has learned his lesson.  Looking up from his newspaper,
Victor smiles, and knows that his friend had to learn that a practical
joke could be played on the wrong victim.

A six page tale by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, two of the founders for the
Marvel Comics of the Silver Age.

Mr. Ditko was the designer of the Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, The
Creeper, The Question, Hawk and Dove, and Mr. A.

Otis Norton has a hairstyle similar to Norman Osborn, while Victor looks
like an older version of Peter Parker, complete with hairstyle and blue

The paper mache head bears a slight resemblance to the future Spider-Man
villain of the Green Goblin.

The top hat and tails worn by the invisible phantom is a trademark of the
Gentleman Ghost.

Passing through solid walls is a feat performed by the X-Man known as

Although he sought to collect on a fifty-dollar wager, Otis Norton never
had a ghost of a chance against Victor.

"The Ghost of Grismore Castle" was reprinted in Curse of The Weird #2
(January, 1994).