Many, many years ago, while attending a Hallowe'en party pretending to be Karr from Theophile Gautier's classic short story "The Opium Smoker" - an unwisely obscure choice of outfit requiring much tedious explanation - I witnessed a young woman in a sexy witch costume trip over her own broomstick and tumble headfirst into a metal beer keg. "Ding dong! The witch is dead!" some callous soul sang out loud.
But the sexy witch, now considerably less sexy, was merely stunned. Rising slowly from the beer stained floor, she managed to seize the keg's tap at the third attempt and unsteadily began pouring herself a foamy drink. "Can you pump this thing for me?" she said to a blank space on the wall.
She was either addressing a phantom Hallowe'en party-goer, invisible to the rest of us, or was suffering from double vision and was actually talking to me. I had to make a decision. "You've had a nasty fall," I told her. "You should probably go to the emergency room as soon as possible."
The witch stopped pouring, shook the overflow from the top of her cup and drank a long draught of foam. "Your friend is kind of a wuss," she said to the blank wall, before stalking off into another room.
I never saw her again but found myself staring nervously at the wall for the rest of the night. What if the keg was indeed haunted by the restless Hallowe'en spirit of some unlucky drinker whose ghostly appearance heralded the end of the beer?
It's a mystery I will never solve since I only drink wine these days and don't get invited to parties anymore. At least not Hallowe'en parties anyway.