It’s funny how ghosts always appear at windows. They’re always trying to get in, peering out, or seen from outside wandering back and forth floating in and out of the window’s frame. Think Catherine in Wuthering Heights, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw, the charming maiden in The Deserted House, Poe’s The Haunted Palace…the list is long. Nothing represents longing and loss like a window, especially a haunted one.
It’s no wonder that the word “haunt” has its roots in the word “home.” Ghosts are always trying to find their way home, or find themselves lost in a home where they are unwanted. Even when they are in a home, they never feel “at home.” Ghosts are permanently homeless. They live in the space between inside and outside, between home and not home, like a window. Lurking about a window, the ghost hopes to see and be seen, aching to be free. But ghosts are by definition in limbo, and therefore never free. Anne Frank probably spent many hours at the window of Merwedeplein 37, caught in the limbo between being a 12-year-old girl who must stay at home, and a dreamer, a natural flâneur forced to wander the streets of Amsterdam in her imagination.