Author Archive
Folk Beliefs
general

Haunted Princeton House

Background:

This story is from a friend who lives in a very old house in New Jersey. Instead of being a traditional story that has been passed down, it is a personal experience of a ghostly presence.

Collection:

“So, my house in Princeton is super old basically from when Princeton started, historical, and creepy as shit. It was just me and my sister and I needed to go in the basement to restart breakers because the lights went out. It wasn’t working so I walk back up the stairs and the temperature drops like 20 degrees on stairs. The lights turn off and on and so then I go back down, and the breaker was off, so the lights shouldn’t have flickered.

The same night, I go upstairs, and I have this plush Nemo in my sisters’ room. So, I’m looking for my sister, like shouting her name and looking around for her. I go into her room and sees Nemo on the bed, and I turns to mirror, and in the mirror, I see Nemo on the floor which freaks me out. I leave her room and see my sister in the kitchen, when I ask her says she couldn’t hear me yelling her name and I basically freaked out again.”

Analysis:

This story is not really a story about a ghost being explicitly seen but more of a ghostly presence in a house. These are very common in American culture and especially in horror movies. Stories like these are generally what start off horror movies, ones where unexplained things happen that scare the people living in the haunted houses. The fact that the house is from the founding of the town also lends itself to be a house that people think is haunted. Most of the houses which are haunted are from the founding of towns or where there is an unknown history of the house. The uncertainty of the history of the house leads to the feeling that something bad could’ve happened in the house and therefore the house has the possibility of being haunted.

general
Legends
Narrative

Zimbabwean Ghost Story

Background:

This is a story a friend from Zimbabwe told me, apparently it is a widely told story in Zimbabwe and a lot of people know it. She has lived in London and Zimbabwe, so she has been exposed to many different cultures throughout her life.

Collection:

“This is a story I’ve been told, I don’t know who it happened too, but it is quite a popular story.

So, a woman met this guy and he was foreign, from Nigeria, and they started dating. Later, he wanted to get married and there’s like a long process for marriage. She went with him to his village and his village is like far away. They drove there, they took a taxi, and they got to a point where they had to walk. Since they had luggage the man said he’d go to the house and get people to help bring the luggage back, so he went and left and didn’t come back for a while.

(Interrupted by a conversation about statistics)

Okay so he doesn’t come back (bless you) after her and the taxi driver waited for a long time. So, when the time had been long enough, so she goes and tries to find him and kind of just went to the village places. She goes and asks for the family name and goes to the house to find him. Once she found the house and is like well guys I’ve been waiting. The family is look who are you and then she explains she is engaged to be married to their son. They’re like that’s not possible because he’s been dead for years. She doesn’t believe them and then they take her to the grave and everything and then it turns out she was lowkey dating a ghost.”

Analysis:

This story seems very similar to Japanese beliefs about ghosts where people are unable to tell whether or not someone is a ghost and not figuring out the person is actually dead until someone points it out. Since this is a story that is very popular in Zimbabwe it shows that the ghost beliefs in Zimbabwe are similar, in at least this one aspect, to the ghost beliefs of Japan. This story seems to be similar to a lot of stories in other cultures which shows a common theme of people believing that ghosts can be present in our lives without us actually knowing.

Personally, I find stories like these very hard to believe for two reasons. One, I personally don’t believe in ghosts, so I find it very hard to believe that a person would be able to come back from the dead and no one would notice, and they would be able to disappear without any warning. Two, this story is so widely told that the chance that this situation actually happened.

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