During my Senior year at Binghamton University, I shared an apartment on the second floor of a three-story wooden apartment building at 1408 1/2 E. Main Street, in Endicott, part of the “Triple Cities” that included Binghamton and Johnson City. The “1/2” because it was in the back of a driveway fronted by 1408. When we moved into the second-floor apartment, the retired guy on the first floor invited us in to say hello.

Amidst his almost floor to ceiling tower of Old Milwaukee beer cans he told us a story about the building. About 30 years before, a family lived in our apartment, a married couple with a troubled son. The son was a student at the university and seemed to talk and read only about the history of England. He would spend much of his time alone and walking around the neighborhood, whistling old Renaissance and Medieval songs, with “Greensleeves” being a favorite.

Sometime in the Fall of his Junior year he got into an argument with a professor, physically attacked him, and was expelled. He seemed to unravel living at home in a small apartment with his parents who didn’t know what to do, and arguments could often be heard. One night, something snapped neighbors heard a loud argument and screams. He stabbed and killed both parents. The police were called and found him sitting in a chair whistling “Greensleeves” and turning a bloody knife in his hands. He had stabbed and killed both parents. He would not say anything, just kept whistling as they arrested him and took him away. According to our neighbor, he was found criminally insane and set to a state facility not far from Binghamton. He apparently never spoke again, but just kept whistling “Greensleeves”.

Then, one morning in late Fall, he was found dead in his room. The cause was not known or our neighbor didn’t know. What he did know was that, beginning a year later, each Fall, late at night, people who lived in the building swore they heard footsteps on the stairs and heard someone whistling “Greensleeves”. One family supposedly told the police that one night the footsteps and whistling stopped at their second-floor door and that someone turned the doorknob. When someone had the courage to look, no one was there, but later they heard footsteps heading down into the street.

My friend and I looked at our new neighbor after this story and figured he was just some guy who sat home, drank his beer and wanted to spook us for the hell of it. Of course he swore he had heard the footsteps and whistling once or twice go by his door but he never opened it and just waited for the ghost to leave. A nice story for us, we thanked him and proceeded to move in.

The semester began, and life followed the usual paths of college Seniors. Except for one night in early November. A cold, raw night with wind, the building’s old wooden frames rattling and my friend away for the weekend. About 12:30, I was reading in the living room when I heard the door to the building creak and open. Then silence for a moment. I put my book down and listened.

And I heard footsteps on the stairs, slowly heading up. And yes…I then heard soft whistling….of “Greensleeves”. I laughed nervously, figuring my roommate was coming back early or maybe our beer loving neighbor was playing a joke. I sat on the sofa as the steps came closer to the landing and the whistling grew louder.

As the sounds stopped I front my door, I said out loud, “Very funny” and that’s when the doorknob began to turn. I stared, began to breathe a little more quickly and shouted, “Hey, enough…”. The doorknob kept turning and the whistling stopped. I did hesitate but started toward the door…just then I heard footsteps going down the stairs. It did take a few seconds, but only a few, and I managed to unlock and open the door. And saw no one, just the front door to the building slightly open. I think I said, “Fuck this” and went downstairs, opened the door and…saw nothing. I stood there looked, swallowed hard, and went back upstairs.

My roommate didn’t return till the next day and our downstairs neighbor was at a bar down the street. To this day, I still don’t know….but if I ever hear “Greensleeves”, I shudder a bit.