A family lives in an old farmhouse in a somewhat rural area of Massachusetts. They have three young daughters. The father is a poet and the mother is an artist who makes and sells pottery. In the old farmhouse, they are able to do both activities and still afford to support three daughters, which is why they moved there. A forest abuts the house. The daughters are convinced the house is haunted by the ghost of a ship captain who died at sea. They found love letters under a floorboard in the attic from the ship captain to a woman who lived in the house. He must be haunting the house looking for the woman, who died long ago, but ghosts don’t know such things. At night they hear whistling on the stairs. The parents insist it’s the wind. In the morning they smell fish in the hallway. The parents insist it’s the musk of an old house. During the day, the father locks himself in his office to write. The mother hikes out to her pottery wheel in the woods. The daughters are left alone. They tear up more floorboards in the attic to find any other evidence that the house must be haunted. They do find things like old trinkets from past owners, but nothing definitive. The parents are growing increasingly frustrated that the daughters won’t drop the search. They feel like the daughters are trying to get them to leave the house, but the parents need to live there. They forbid any more talk of the haunting. But the daughters won’t drop it. The next day they go to the library in town to find more clues that the house must be haunted. While they are away, the parents are in their respective places. The father starts to hear whistling in the house. He goes to explore. The mother smells fish in the forest. She ignores it. She has wet pottery she needs to take to her kiln. She puts the pottery in the kiln, lights it, and walks away. The father is walking through the house, following the sound of the whistling until he turns a corner and there is a ghost of the ship captain standing in front of him. The father is confused at first, not afraid, because the captain seems harmless. Then the captain lunges at him, strikes him with supernatural force. The force is so strong it causes a wind through the forest, where the kiln is ablaze. A spark from the kiln is blown into the forest. A fire begins. The last scene is the daughters walking up to the house with their definitive evidence of the haunting and they see the entire forest on fire, the brightness of the fire contrasted with the gray of the sky.