A Nation Hits the Pause Button to Find (Gasp!) the Ghost Haunting the Video Version of Three Men and a Baby

updated 12/24/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/24/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

You're home. All alone. At night. For company you've rented the video of the hit 1987 film Three Men and a Baby. You're up to the scene in which Ted Dan-son is walking through the trio's bachelor pad with mom Celeste Holm and little Mary, and—ohmagosh, there! (REWIND. PLAY. PAUSE.) In back of Ted—behind the curtain, by the Bogart poster! It's a—boy? It looks likes a g-g-g-ghost!

Beyond fear...beyond terror...and several leagues into the realm of the dippy is the rumor that a ghostly boy can be glimpsed in the Baby cassette. Touchstone Home Video spokesman Steve Feldstein says he has heard from hundreds of people since August, when the ghost-boy legend began making appearances in newspapers. Now, with the release of the movie's sequel, Three Men and a Little Lady, rentals of the first film are up—and the spectral talc has been given a new life.

The boy, legend has it, killed himself in the house where Baby was shot. His mother, watching the video, spotted him—even went on talk shows. (Some viewers say they've also spotted the stock of a gun.)

Sorry. For starters there is no house; The film was shot on a soundstage in Toronto. No kid, no ghost. "It's a cutout of Ted Danson," says co-producer Robert Cort. "I think someone just left it there."

"It's a prop," Feldstein elaborates, "created to support Danson's character [an actor in commercials]. An odd camera angle makes it look like a kid in suspenders." And, in a possible preemptive strike, Feldstein adds that there's a new cutout of Danson, in a medieval court costume, in the opening of Little Lady. "When I first saw that scene," he says, "I thought, 'Oh, no—another ghost!' "

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