I have been trying to remember a story I read from my childhood; I believe this one was a short story, but I honestly can not remember.

The story is about a boy who likes to play around an old army fort. I am pretty sure he is told not to, but his curiosity got the better of him, and he continued to go back to it, and eventually discovered that it was haunted.

The ghost haunting the fort led the boy to a mysterious room that was filled with books, but when the boy entered, the door closed on him. The ultimate twist was that this room would only open once every decade or so, and required that someone always be inside. The books were there to keep the prisoner entertained, and the ghost was that of the last boy who found himself trapped. The ghost promised to return, when the door reopened, to trade places with the boy once more.

I would have read this story during the mid to late 90s, and it was in English. I am sure I read it in a book of stories, but my school use to subscribe to a young-adult reading magazine, so I may have read it from that. I am also sure the story was set in my country, Australia, but again, I could have been mistaken. I initially thought I was remembering a Paul Jennings story, but having looked through all of his stories on Wikipedia, I can not find the story I am thinking of.

1 Answer 1


The Naked Ghost by Paul Jennings

After further digging, it turns out I was remembering a Paul Jennings short; however, I was remembering one that is not nearly as short as many of his shorts, and thus, it was not included in the original "8-10+ stories" books that he so commonly had published. Instead, it was published alongside two additional stories, as part of "The Naked Ghost, Burp! and Blue Jam", in 1991.

enter image description here

The Naked Ghost tells the story of a boy who goes down a well, after a legend of another boy who disappears down the same well. He finds the boy, as a naked ghost, and through events, they trade clothes. When they trade clothes, the boy becomes "The Naked Ghost", and is left trapped in the room at the bottom of the well for 50 years.

Another boy happens to find the room at the bottom of the well, after another 50 years, and the protagonist is able to trade places with him, much in the same way that he traded places with the original ghost. The story ends on comments that suggest that the boy has come out of his 50 year wait, into the present day.

  • Is the well in the fort? Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 19:52
  • @DCopTimDowd, perhaps. I am nit overly sure, I have only managed to find the Wikipedia entry, thus far.
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 19:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.