When painter Monty Crandall, who works for a trashy magazine
published by Max Atterbury, meets Susan Beecher, his fiancée,
Phyllis Beecher's aunt, he asks Susan if she will pose for him. She
agrees and when the painting, a grotesque caricature of Susan and
her French poodle, François, is published on the front page of the
magazine, Susan complains to her lawyer, T. O'Connor Scott. Scott
then tries to contact Monty and learns that he has gone to stay at
his home in Connecticut, Haunted Hill Farm.
Monty, who is intrigued
by parapsychology, recently purchased the house, which is supposed
to be haunted by the ghost of Benedict Arnold. As Monty and Phyllis
conduct a séance under the supervision of parapsychologist Prof.
Jacques Dubonnet, Irene Winters, who wants to be Monty's sweetheart,
arrives and asks Monty's butler Eric to interrupt the séance. When
Irene sees the lipstick that Phyllis has left on Monty's cheek, she
jealously raises Phyllis' ire by saying that her husband Bill has
found out about her affair with Monty. Just then, Bill breaks into
the house brandishing a gun and threatening Monty, who quickly
escapes into a raging storm.
A week later, Monty is still missing
and Phyllis can barely be consoled by Eric. A short time later, the
police call Eric and inform him that they have found a dead body in
Monty's burned out cabin, and believe that it is Monty. Actually, it
is the body of a man who had broken into the cabin, and, unknown to
anyone, Monty has just returned to his house and decided to lay down
for a nap. Upon hearing the news of Monty's death, Atterbury decides
to conduct a séance to contact his spirit, and does so in the room
in which Monty is sleeping.
When the séance participants hear
Monty's yawning and see him struggling with a white sheet, they
think he is a ghost and quickly leave the house. Monty explains to
Eric, who has fainted, that he is not a ghost. Monty feels terrible
that Phyllis also believes he is dead, but Eric insists that they
must continue pretending that he is dead to avoid his recent
travails with Bill, Susan and even Atterbury, who is not happy about
Later, when Eric superstitiously raps three times
on the wall, a real ghost suddenly appears and introduces himself as
Timothy Beecher, Susan's late husband. After proving that he really
is a ghost, the gentle Timothy says he has been waiting for years
for a chance to get his revenge on Susan, who never let him enjoy
life. He reveals that he knows where all of the "skeletons" are and
promises to help Monty get out of the lawsuit and prevent Bill from
hurting him. Just as Timothy is about to reveal everything, though,
he suddenly dematerializes and Eric and Monty are forced to fend for
That night, they don white sheets and at midnight sneak
into Susan's room, where they waken her and, using their best
"ghostly" voices, pretend to be Monty and Timothy, advising her to
drop her lawsuit. Later, when Monty goes to Phyllis' room, she also
thinks he is a ghost at first, but is happy to find that he is
alive. After the men leave, Susan, who now realizes that "Timothy's"
voice was actually Eric, tells Phyllis that Monty really is alive
and says that she is going to call the police. Phyllis then goes to
Monty's house to warn him, but finds Irene there and runs off when
Bill arrives with his gun.
When Susan's lawsuit comes to trial, the
case looks bad for Monty until he invites Timothy's ghost to appear.
Although he cannot materialize, Timothy can speak, in a very low
whisper, and tells Monty's lawyer, Murgatroyd ( ! ), then the judge, the
nature of Susan's most embarrassing secret. Timothy also whispers to
Monty a secret that he can use against Bill. Susan quickly withdraws
her suit to prevent her secret from being made public and Bill
leaves immediately with Irene when Monty reveals his secret. With
his work done, Timothy's spirit leaves with Eric, while Monty and
Phyllis happily embrace.