A woman who turned to eBay to auction off her father's ghost asked buyers to show some restraint as bidding reached the US$14,000-mark over the weekend in a media-driven frenzy.
"I can't believe this went so far. Please keep the bidding at a minimum," said Mary Anderson in a posting on the online auction site Sunday.
Anderson, who hails from Hobart, Indiana, said the unexpected attention generated by her whimsical eBay sale had "left her a nervous wreck," and that she had cancelled some of the more "outrageous bids."
She reiterated that the purpose of the exercise was simply to reassure her five year-old-son who was uneasy about living in a house that he felt was haunted by his "mean" grandfather.
By way of explanation, Anderson said that her father had died of cancer at home, and towards the end had occasionally become irritated with his young grandson and had tapped him with his walking cane.
"It didn't hurt my son, but it hurt his feelings," Anderson wrote.
"I promise you he's not a meanie like my son thinks, but it's hard to tell that to a five-year-old when all he remembers is the bad things. My dad was the sweetest most caring man you'd ever meet."
To convince her son that the ghost had indeed gone, Anderson decided to offer her father's walking cane along with his ghost for sale on eBay -- with free shipping.
And she requested that the winning bidder write her son a letter after getting delivery of the cane to let the youngster know that both buyer and ghost were "getting along great."
The quirky auction entry, which ran under the headline "This isn't a joke," was picked up by the US media, spawning copycat eBay auctions, and driving the bidding up rapidly.
With just three hours left to run on the clock Monday, the highest bid was just shy of US$15,000 dollars, according to the eBay website.
Last month, a woman from Florida sold a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich that she claimed bore the image of the Virgin Mary for US$28,000.