Informant: Isabella Milkes was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. before 6th grade. Her immediate family does not follow a religion but they do believe in spirits; however, her mother’s side is very devoted Christians. Her aunts on her mother’s side live in Colombian and are leaders of their Church. Her ghostly experience takes place in her own home, where she later found out that before her family had moved in, there were already negative energy inside the house.
IM: “So what happened was that before New Years my mom likes to clean the apartment like really well to like start the year “fresh and new”, and so my mom was doing that and then she read something that if you want to clean all the negative energy in your home, you should clean everything with saltwater. So my mom did that and every since that happened, like weird things were happening to our apartment. For example, my brother would wake up around like 3am and open his eyes, but his body wouldn’t be able to move, and he would see a black shadowy figure with the outline of a human, or sometimes his bed would shake randomly during the middle of the night. Another thing strange that happened was that there were burnt cigarette spots on our carpet and it was freaky ‘cause NONE of us smoke and the burnt spots smelled like flavored cigarette. I also had an experience, where I woke up in the middle of the night and saw like a shadowy hand coming near me. Also my mom started getting really sick. So over summer, my mom went back to Colombia to visit her family and in Colombia, she and her family went to a one of those spiritual mediums who can contact the ghostly world. She told her that there was a stable bad energy in our apartment before our family moved in, and once my mom did the cleaning with salt water, it kind of awakened that energy and that negative energy needed to be released. She did some rituals and prayers during the religious cleanse in order to safely release the energy. And when that was over, and my mom came back to America, all the haunted things that were happening went away. My mom told us that apparently when you do those sort of cleanses, you have to shield yourself with something, like a prayer, before you do the cleanse, so that the bad energy doesn’t affect the person who is performing the cleanse.”
How did this experience impact you?
“Well, it didn’t really impact me in anyway. I mean me and my family don’t believe in ghosts, because we think of these things as negative energy. We also don’t believe in Western medicine. So, for example, when I’m sick, I don’t eat Tylenol or Advil, instead I drink homemade remedies my mom makes. If something is bothering us, such as something worrying us, or we’re not happy or stressed, then we do medication or therapy through a holistic credited psychologist, because we need to release the energy that’s making our body energy unbalanced.”
This story scared me on multiple levels. Firstly, it makes me wonder what’s the difference between cleaning the house with bleach and salt water? Another thing I found scary about this story was the intensity of the presence of the ghost. The ghost affected her brother, mother’s health, her house, and herself. The ghost reminds me of the Japanese Gaki that are hurtful to or are seeking revenge on the living. Another aspect I found interesting was that usually one would see, hear, of feel ghosts, but in her story, the ghost gave off a smell from the cigarette spots. I also found it pretty amazing in that the rituals they performed in Colombia affected their home in America.
Informant: K S is a junior at UCSB who is majoring in Political Science. He was born and raised in Japan, and has recently moved to the U.S. in 2016. Him and his family do believe in ghosts. His story takes place near his apartment complex in Japan. His apartment complex is also situated near a temple.
KS: “Well when I used to live in Japan, like before coming here for college, I lived with my family in a complex with three other families. I lived with my mom, dad, and little sister. The three other families were an elderly couple, a young single man, and another married couple with no kids. So one day I was walking back home from school and I saw a little girl standing in front of my house and waving at me. I thought it was my sister so I waved back. I was going to catch up with the girl but she walked inside the complex before I could say another word. When I got into the house looking for whom I’d thought to be my sister, I couldn’t find her. I asked my mom, who was cooking, where my sister was and she said that she hasn’t come home yet. So the girl just came into my house and disappeared, because when I asked the other people who lived in the same complex, they said they had never seen or heard a girl walk in. I have no idea who the girl was, or where she went, or why she was there. ”
Impact on KS:
“I don’t know, I mean it was pretty whatever. I’d just assumed the ghost girl used to live in my complex before she died. Although this is my only ghostly experience, I didn’t find it scary or shocking or anything. I told my family about it and everyone was like really casual about it. It’s actually really interesting how my friends here think seeing a ghost is scary, I mean not all ghosts are harmful or scary ya know.”
His story reminds me of the stories discussed in class about the ghostly visitations seen by middle-aged New England women, because his encounter was harmless. Also when he was telling the story, he told it very casually as if seeing ghosts wasn’t something that occurred once of twice. What I found interesting was that, as discussed in class, cultural backgrounds could impact one’s ghost belief. KS and his family members are examples of how Eastern cultures have a higher belief in ghosts than Western cultures. In relation to his story, I think that maybe the ghost girl had something to do with the temple because the temple represents a spiritual place where people would pray to their dead ancestors.
Informant: Michael Davis is a sophomore at Cal Poly SLO and is currently majoring Business. He does not really believe in ghosts and thinks that going on ghost hunts with his friends is exciting. His story takes place in an abandoned home that may have been an asylum in San Jose.
MD: “Back at home, my friends and I went to check out this abandoned home, or maybe it used to be an asylum. There were four of us, and we pulled up in the driveway of the abandoned house. When we got out of the car, we saw in the distance that there was another car with its headlights on. We also saw a toad in the middle of the driveway and it started croaking. We walked up to the house and saw that it was blocked off by a “Do Not Enter” sign. We went inside anyways and saw that there were chains on the floor of the house. As we went into one of the rooms, we found another toad that started croaking. We just hung out in there, because it was kinds like a competition of who could stay in the longest. We went on exploring the place but suddenly heard chains rattling, but the chains we saw were still on the floor and there were none hanging anywhere. After a few more minutes inside the house, one of my friend’s phone starting buzzing and going crazy and then he started to get these text messages on his phone. It said something like “Why are you here”. We freaked out all walked out of the house. Right after we got out, my friend was like “I swear I heard some quiet, old, scary voice telling us to get out.” Then right outside, before getting into our car again, we saw another croaking toad. On the drive back to out house, my friend’s phone kept getting text messages saying stuff like “why were you in the house”, “I know what you did in there”, “I know what happened in the house”. We tried calling the number, but every time there would be the automated voice saying that “this number does not exist”, but it was clearly texting my friend! And what was even more freaky was that after a couple of months of visiting that house, the same number texted again and asked “why they were in that house”.
Impact: “This is not the first time I’d gone into a haunted place looking for ghosts. I like ghost hunting because of the adrenaline and thrill of it. But this experience was one of my more extreme ones, because usually there are some creaking doors or maybe shadows. It was scary ‘cause my friend got the same text even after the whole incident. I also went home that day and researched about the toads we kept on seeing in and around the house. Turns out, according to some websites, seeing a toad three times or something is representative of a ghost presence.”
My thoughts: I got goosebumps while hearing MD’s story because personally, everything I hear my phone buzz from getting a text messages, I would wonder which one of my friends would contact me. But I would be really scared if I got a text message from “nobody” because texting involves physically typing, so I don’t know how the ghost’s message got translated electronically.
Informant: Leah Suh’s cyber ghost story takes place in the old theater of Greystone Mansion and involves the use of an app called Snapchat on her iPhone. Greystone Mansion is a beautiful estate in the hills of Beverly Hills; however, the place is haunted and there have been many recounts from people hearing and seeing ghosts.
LS: “Okay so I don’t really call this a “ghost story” because I don’t believe in ghosts, but I this experience definitely felt supernatural to me, and is was hella scary. So in high school, for an extra credit assignment for my APUSH class, we went on a field trip to Greystone Mansion. During the tour, the tour guide was talking about all the haunted experiences he has had, and how other people have also seen or heard things such as gunshots or been pushed by something in the hallways. I didn’t feel like the place was haunted or anything until we walked into the old theater, and as soon as I walked in. I took a picture on my phone, using flash ‘cause it was real dark in there, and uploaded that image to SnapChat. A few minutes into the tour guide’s lecture, the lights in the theater went out and there was complete darkness. It was super quiet because no one expected it, like they weren’t purposely tryna scare us. Then I felt my phone in my jacket pocket buzz, and then my phone died. The lights came on again after some seconds, and the tour guide said “okay, let’s go to the bowling ally and get out of here.” As we began to head for the door, my phone buzzed again and turned itself back on, and it was weird because this whole my phone was basically fully charged. Because when it died in my pocket, I’d just assume it ran out of batteries, but when it turned back on, it was full ‘cause I’d charged it that morning. Anyways, after leaving the theater, I checked my SnapChat and the image of the theater I had uploaded was gone. This was the moment when I was like “maybe this place is really haunted and that ghosts are real?” After the tour, I kept thinking about the events of the day, and I got this feeling or urge to delete most of the pictures I had taken of Greystone Mansion from SnapChat. I do remembering leaving a picture of the beautiful courtyard.”
Impact on LS: “I’m Christian so I’m not supposed to believe in ghosts. As you can imagine, this experience impacted me because I used to be a firm non-believer in ghosts because of the Bible and my religion. But now, it’s like, I don’t know if I actually believe in ghosts, but I am more open to the idea of a person’s soul staying on Earth, rather than going to either Heaven or Hell.”
My thoughts: I was actually with LS when this event happened, but it was interesting to hear it from her perspective. For example, I did not know that she eventually deleted the rest of the pictures from that day. I find it scary in that these supernatural powers are powerful enough to erase things from the web and social media. One lesson from this story is to not disrespect ghosts, haunted places, or even allegedly haunted places.
Informant: During Brittany Pedrosa’s senior year of high school, she was ASB president and had to pick a location for her school’s prom night. One of her choses was the Queen Mary ship, and in order to get a better look at the layout, her and her fellow student representatives went on a tour with a tour guide on the Queen Mary. Before going to the ship, she and her friends had heard that the ship was haunted and decided to download a ghost-hunting app on their iPhones. She does not remember the exact name of the app because she deleted it right after the tour.
BP “It’s not that scary, but it scared me. I went with my friends to check out the Queen Mary for our possible prom night location, and before I went I downloaded this thing called Ghost Tracker. It would show dots if there was an entity and words would also pop up. The words would be related to the ghost, like if someone drowned, it would say something like “pool” or “cold” or “breathe”. We went with a tour guide around the Queen Mary and I just kept my phone tracker on, not really looking at it. But when we went up to one of the rooms, my phone turned super bright and I could see it illuminating from my pocket. So I picked up my phone and saw that it had a dot and said “fire” and “smoke”. When the tour guide came up to that room, he told us that sometimes people would smell smoke because there was a guy who died in there from a fire, and he used to smoke a lot. That scared me because the app was accurate in detecting the ghost and some things about it.”
Impact on BP: “Honestly, this experience freaked me out ‘cause, it’s like even if there aren’t any actual solid evidence that ghosts exist, there certainly are signs that indicate there is some kind of invisible ghostly energy still lingering in this world. Like for me now, I just kinda avoid topics related ghosts and the supernatural, because I don’t really want to know if they exists or not, so I would say I don’t believe in ghosts, but I also believe that there are things out there that are supernatural.”
My thoughts: I found it interesting in that BP’s ghostly experience actually made her not want to believe in ghosts; whereas, I would usually guess seeing or getting signs of ghosts would make one believe in ghosts more. BP’s belief in ghosts reminds me of the discussions in class about what is means to believe in a “ghost”, because the definition varies among people. For example, some people would consider unsettling ghostly energy or an unsettling feeling as signifying the presence of a ghost; however, BP would not say that there is a ghost, just some supernatural energy that is undefined and unexplainable. BP’s story also makes me wonder how the app, or any ghost hunting apps/electronics, actually measure and detect ghost presence.