This article demonstrates how two selected Victorian ghost stories address the problem of the unreliability and subjectivity of perception through the characters' experiences with the supernatural or the inexplicable. I focus on how Victorian ghost stories—particularly Margaret Oliphant's “The Open Door” and Sheridan Le Fanu's “The Account of Some Disturbances in Aungier Street”—induce hesitation both in characters and in the reader. This “moment of hesitation” is not only central to Todorov's definition of the fantastic but also highly relevant to the anxieties about vision and knowledge that existed in Victorian society. I argue that the stories use the theories and assumptions about vision that were current in the Victorian age to subvert the idea that sight is an objective conduit to the truth, and thus the stories both utilize a source of fear that was already present in Victorian society and offer a relevant social commentary.

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