Author Archive
Folk Beliefs
general

Motherly Spirit


Informant: 
A B was born in Sacramento, California and then raised in Seattle, Washington from ages 3 until 18. A B is a freshman undergraduate student at University of Southern California majoring in Business Administration. A was baptized christian and is also a confirmed christian.

Original Script: “When we moved from Sacramento to Mercer island, the mother of the family that lived in the home before we did, died from cancer. The family had 3 kids and a husband who lived in the house 6 months after the mom died until deciding they needed change and moved to Seattle. About a month after moving in, creepy things began happening at night. The first thing that happened, we have a sink in the kitchen and in the laundry room and both faucets turned on and began running all night. At first my parents thought it was a plumbing issue because the house was new, my parents weren’t scared but rather just confused since the house was built so recently. A couple nights later, our big panasonic speakers (like as big as a door) began playing ‘Its A Small World’ (yes, the disneyland song) super loud and these speakers are so loud they will blow your eardrums out. My mom went to the neighbors the next day to ask if they heard the loud music last night and the neighbors said they hadn’t heard anything. This is odd because the speakers are so loud, there’s no way the next door neighbors wouldn’t have heard this music. Nothing happened for about a week until there was a huge bang noise onto the window, and when my mom went downstairs to see what it was it looked like the someone threw a ball at the window from the inside. The window wasn’t shattered but clearly damaged. My mom went to the neighbors again and the neighbors then informed her that the mom of the family before was dead and that maybe all the activity in their home was because the spirit wanted to find her family. So they then decided to write the address of the new place that the spirit’s family had moved to in order to help the ghost find her family. My mom left the note out and nothing ever happened again.”

Background Information about the piece by the Informant: The story takes place right after the family moved from Sacramento, CA to Mercer Island, Washington which is directly between Seattle and Bellevue. The informants new home in Washington was located in a living community in a sort of figure 8, so two loops, and three lakes in each loop, so basically a very closed and private community. At first they thought the activity was someone breaking in but realized it couldn’t be because there is only one entrance and exit from the island meaning that it is nearly impossible for someone to get in or out without being caught.

 

Thoughts about the piece: This piece is interesting in that the informant made it clear that the ghost wasn’t particularly scary, just noisy in a sense to get the family’s attention. In many ghost stories, the ghost is often that of a recently deceased loved one trying to say goodbye one last time. This major theme can be seen in this story when the spirit came back to say goodbye to her family and her family was gone, she began to get loud and make disruptions to get the new family’s attention to hopefully redirect her to her real family’s home.

Narrative

Pele, Hawaiian Lava Queen

Informant:

Jordan was born and raised in Seattle until she was 10, then her family decided to move to Hawaii where she still resides when not attending school at University of Southern California.

Original Script: “Pele is the Hawaiian goddess (ghost?) of Lava, and I am from the big island which is one of the few with a current active volcano. Pele is well known on the Big Island (Kona) because it is said that she resides on the active volcano sites of Kona. Pele is known for her divine powers regarding lava and comes in three varying forms: an old woman, a really beautiful woman, or a white dog. The stories regarding Pele tend to involve a family driving through the mountains and seeing an old woman asking for help/hitchhiking and when the family ignores her plea for help the car then crashes. Additionally there is a specific form of lava rocks that are shaped very similarly to tears and the natives call them Pele’s tears or the Tears of Pele. One day my boyfriend’s mom found one and took it to a nearby pool and then her car broke down. The car wouldn’t start, even after being jumped. Then my boyfriend’s mom decided to put the tears of Pele back and the car began to work completely fine again, almost as if Pele didn’t want her tears to be taken by us. Pele is very respected because she is the goddess of lava and her powers are said to have formed all the Islands of Hawaii, but Pele is also feared due to the known ideology that if you cross Pele she is quick to avenge.”

Background information about the Piece by the informant: In Hawaii, Pele is well known, feared, and also loved by all. Jordan herself doesn’t necessarily believe in the evil powers of Pele, but she said that she also “doesn’t not believe” and that she herself would never do anything to make Pele angry.

 

Thoughts about the piece: This story reminds me a lot of the Irish and Celtic ghost stories that we studied in class due to similar spectrum of beliefs in both places. Jordan mentioned that across the state people tell stories of these different taboos and ghosts/gods/goddesses and while not everyone says they do full-heartedly believe in them, no one will admit that they don’t believe in them. This legend also resembles the stories told by Native Americans in that the main ghostly figure can appear in many different figures and even can appear as animals and if you treat the form it comes in wrong or take advantage of the gifts the figure gives, you will then be cursed.

[geolocation]