USC Digital Folklore Archives / November, 2011
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Red Keyhole

Ghost Story- United States

I asked another one of my friends for a ghost story, and although he did not have anything specific, he had read about an interesting ghost story from the Internet. He agreed to tell it to me.

The story begins with a young man checking into a motel at night. It was late, and he was very eager to jump into bed and recover from his day of travel. As he finished checking in, the woman behind the desk gave him a specific warning: do not bother the room with a blank number on the door. Although the man thought this to be strange, he shrugged it off and just thought maybe there was an important client staying there that did not want to be disturbed.

            He grabbed his room key and his luggage and headed up the stairs. As he got to his floor, the third floor, he looked for his room. 310… 311…312… He was there at his room, 313. He could not help but notice that the room with the blank number was only a few doors down from his. He thought nothing of it and put it out of his mind, as he was looking forward to his night of rest.

            That night, the man was awoke from his sleep by a chill. No matter what he did, he could not get rid of it. He tried turning on the heat or covering the vents but to no avail. He decided to head down to the front desk and ask for extra blankets. As he did, the room with the blank number seemed to draw him in. He was about to knock and see who was staying there, but decided against it. It was late and it would be rather rude of him. Still, he could not help but be curious. He decided to look through the keyhole and see if he could see anything. When he did, he could only make out the figure of a young woman sleeping on the bed. He did not want to disturb her, so he went down to retrieve his blankets.

            After he had gone down and gotten his blankets, he came back up to his floor and wanted to see if the woman was still sleeping. He peeped through the keyhole once more and was disappointed. All he could see was red. He guessed that the woman had somehow figured out that he was peeping at her and covered the keyhole with some sort of red cloth or paper. Because he was certain that the woman had discovered his rude behavior, he decided to go to his room and avoid her.

            The next day, as he went down to check out of his room and resume his travels, he asked about the lady at the front desk as to who was staying in the room with the blank number. The lady did not answer him at first, but he was insistent and demanded the answer. She responded, “A married couple was staying there a few years back. During the night, they got into a fight, and the husband stabbed the wife in cold blood and fled. When the wife was found, it was already too late. Now she haunts the place, dressed in white. She’s a ghost and all white except for one part. Her eyes. They became as red as the blood that drained out of her as she lay dying.” The man was terrified and fled the motel without any further explanation.

In my opinion, this story is quite frightening. It was interesting to hear that ghost stories could be spread so widely through the Internet. Although it could not be discerned whether this story is true or not, as the author is unknown, it still unnerves me and is quite a good ghost story. I would not be satisfying my curiosity with any strange rooms any time soon.

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Turnbull Canyon

Ghost Story- United States

One of the people that I asked for a ghost story was one of my friends who lived near the supposed haunted area of my hometown. He lived next to a wild area called Turnbull Canyon. Although the area looks like relatively normal, there are many freak stories that originate there. First off, he told me of the spooky stories he has heard about the place. He had heard these stories from some of his friends during middle school and was particularly interested as he lived right in the middle of Turnbull Canyon.

I’ve heard many creepy stories about this place, specifically having to do with cults or rituals. Along Turnbull Canyon, there’s this really windy road that people like to race on. Anyways, I heard that there was a murder that took place along this road. There aren’t very specific details, but I’ll tell you what I know. There was this young woman, probably in her teens, that liked to hang out alone. When she was wandering around Turnbull, she was captured by these cultists and was marked as a sacrifice. These cultists then did something terrible… they tied her to the back of a car, still alive and conscious, and drove down Turnbull Canyon. After they were done “sacrificing” her, they dumped her lifeless body in a public street and sped off. Now, I’ve heard of encounters along this road where the woman’s ghost would be seen standing in the middle of the street. At night while driving, the surroundings would suddenly get all cold, and as you went around one of the many twists and bends, the ghost would be standing there trying to stop people from going on that road. The murderers were never caught, and as long as they roam free, the ghost will continue to seek revenge.

            My friend went further to explain that there supposedly has been many murders that take place in Turnbull Canyon, as it is a quiet, uninhabited place where people would not be noticed by others. I then asked him if he had ever experienced anything there himself, as he lived only a few houses down from the end of the aforementioned windy road. He agreed to tell me but kept on saying that he was unsure of what he saw.

One night, as I was in the car with some of my friends, we decided to head back to my house to hang out after dinner. Being on a different side of town, we decided to take the windy road of Turnbull Canyon, as it was faster than the normal route I took to get home. We all joked about how we might see a ghost or something, but we were just trying to scare each other. Anyways, as we started driving down the road, it got really dark. I reasoned that the moonlight was being blocked out by the trees overhead and there were no street lights on this road. As we passed Hell’s Gate, which is this large creepy black gate on the side of the road that leads to who knows where, I saw this eerie glow out of the corner of my eye. I looked out the window and I saw this glowing figure of a man that was hanging on a noose on a tree by the road. Of course I only caught a glimpse of it as we were driving pretty fast, but I freaked out. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I glanced at my friend sitting next to me and he looked scared too, confirming that I saw what I saw. My friend driving the car didn’t see it and wanted to turn back, but the rest of us refused. To this day, I’m pretty sure I saw the ghost of someone who was hanged there, and I try to avoid that road as much as possible.

            He also told me of animal carcasses and remains he saw one time in front of Hell’s Gate, but was too sickened to investigate thoroughly. He told himself that it was just an accident caused by a car running into the animal or some other reason. Turnbull Canyon is a scary and unnerving place and there are many different stories associated with the place, mostly linked to murder of some sort. I figured that most of the ghosts associated with Turnbull are the supposed victims of these murders, and their possible desire for revenge. Although I can’t be sure that there are actual ghosts at Turnbull Canyon, a murder or a discovery of a corpse in the canyon definitely seems to perpetuate these ghost stories among the locals. The atmosphere that the place gives off at night may also help explain why people see ghosts. Perhaps it might not be a bad idea to take the time and avoid Turnbull Canyon, even if it means the journey home is a few minutes longer.

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Mary the Hotel Ghost

Karishma Nagar
ARLT 100: Ghost Stories
11/10/11

This interview was with a very close friend of mine who used to live in Massachusetts. My friend will be referred to as “B” for the interview and I will be “K”. Her sister that is mentioned in the story will be referred to as “J”. Below is the transcript verbatim of my interview with her.

K: Hey B, thanks again for letting me interview you! Okay, so tell me first about this ghost story, you said it was from your hometown correct?

B: Yep. As you already know K, I’m from Framingham, Massachusetts, but I used to live in Ashland, Mass. Both these towns are very old, created around the colonial times. Anyways so um there was this ghost that people talk about in Ashland, and she was called the “Mary Ghost”.

K: Alright, can you tell me what exactly the premise or story is behind the “Mary Ghost”?

B: Yeah, like supposedly there was this little girl named Mary, who died along the train tracks near Main Street, which is like a large populated street in Ashland, sort of like a ‘main street’ if you will, haha. Well anyways, so Mary was a little girl, about ten years old I think, and she was playing near these train tracks off Main Street and got hit by train. People found her lying there, and they took her to this nearby hotel where she then died. Now Mary’s ghost roams around this hotel, haunting its grounds.

K: Do you know what this hotel was called?

B: Well actually this hotel was bought over, and over time it converted into a public house for people to visit. It is now called Stone’s Public House or something like that. And Stone was the original owner of the hotel when Mary had died. And so people go there to visit this public house and look around. I don’t know, I think I heard from someone say that back in the day, the hotel was actually really bad, as in like a lot of crime like murders and underground activity happened in the hotel, including acts from the owner Stone himself, so they say that there was a lot of other ghostly spirits that haunt the hotel including Mary’s. Some also say that Mary’s death could in fact not necessarily be an accident but was actually like done on purpose. It’s not really sure because a lot of people say different things.

K: Who did you hear this ghost story from?

B: Well originally I heard it from my older sis J. She told me about it, and at first I thought she made it up, but then a lot of my friends in Ashland high talked about the same ghost of Mary story too. That’s why there’s varying belief as to whether Mary’s death was an accident or on purpose as well as whether it was in fact of the hotel’s past of crime, etc. But that’s essentially everything about the actual I guess premise is what you called it haha

K: Okay cool, and what was your reaction to this ghost story?

B: Well K, you know that I am like a total skeptic. I personally never believe in ghost stories, so when I heard it from my friends and sis I thought instantly like okay this is obviously something that you totally would say to someone to spread gossip haha. But then I actually decided to check out the place for myself with some of my friends and no joke K I was horrified. I could literally feel as if someone was constantly stroking my shoulder as I walked through. But obviously when I looked no one was there. But then it was weird, because I felt this warm sensation in my ear, as if someone was right near me sort of I guess breathing on me. And it was the creepiest thing ever. Like I don’t know I think it might’ve been a ghost, because it was weird how I could literally feel this presence around me but not necessarily see anything. I don’t know. But every since then I’ve honestly been scared to go back. What’s even scarier is that I know a lot of other people from Ashland high that also went to this public house and felt a similar sensation as me, with someone stroking them and caressing their skin. They never mentioned the warm sensation though, but I felt it. Ughhhh its so weird. So I guess I do believe in this Mary Ghost. And now I’m kinda freaked out. Like it’s such a hard thing to describe only because its one of those unexplainable things. But yeah that’s essentially what I know about the Mary ghost and my experience and others peoples experiences that I know of. I hope this helps your class K, sorry that’s all the info I know.

K: No, this is great, thanks B!

My reaction to “Mary’s ghost”: I found this ghost story to be quite plausible and believable. The very idea of a little girl who died before her time touches on the theme of spirits who did not get the proper rites of life. This little girl was unable to live the rest of her life and all the milestones that come with it because she was merely 10 years old. I personally thought it was interesting that this girl could have potentially been murdered rather than an accident as well as the murderous activity that went on in the hotel, which in a way could touch upon a more moral or social justice in relation to this ghost, that could in fact be a potential reason Mary is haunting the hotel itself. It was interesting to see how B at first was completely skeptical, but I think context also played a role that it is a rather old building and she did in fact go to visit it at nighttime, and it was surprising that she is now a believer. The very idea that the ghost interaction was based primarily on touch with this ghost was also extremely fascinating, and it’s makes it very personal and realistic in a way. When B said “Like it’s such a hard thing to describe only because its one of those unexplainable things” it clearly showed the liminality that ghost really are as a subject, unexplainable. All in all, I think it was an excellent ghost story that was told and I would be interested in visiting this place.

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Downey Middle School Ghost

Karishma Nagar
ARLT 100: Ghost Stories
11/10/11

This interview was with a current USC student who is a local from Downey, California. She will be referred to as “A” in this interview, and I will be “K”. One of her friends will be referred to as “R”. Below is the transcript verbatim of my interview with her:

K: Hey A!

A: Hey K!

K: Okay so tell me about the ghost story from your hometown.

A: Okay, well this is in Downey, California in West Middle School. There always been rumors that the boys’ locker room was haunted all the time. So on the campus, the boys’ locker room and the girls’ locker room are in big separate buildings, and they are detached from everything else in the school. And the campus is in California so it’s an entire outdoor campus. Uh so there’s like the boys’ locker room and the girls’ locker room. And I’ve only been in the boys’ locker room a few times for like weight measurements and stuff, but once you go right in there’s a big caged area where they keep like all the balls and equipment in, and it’s like this old building, the school was actually built in the 60’s, and it hasn’t really been upgraded. And so all the lockers are very old beaten down. And there’s always, well everyone always said it was haunted. And I haven’t been in there long enough to see anything mysterious happen, but I do know some people who say the lockers constantly squeak even when no one is opening them. And the lights also will randomly turn on. Some of the rumors told me the ghost was the guy. I mean the fact that it’s the boys locker room I guess it makes sense that it would be a guy. But yeah it was just always haunted. And these were all these rumors just like always throughout.

K: Wow, okay, so is there a type of premise or backstory behind how this ghost came about?

A: Honestly it is very unclear. Most of the rumors mainly talk about the encounters they have faced in the locker room. It talked about mostly an instance when one guy was running late to soccer practice and he was the only one in the locker room and the lights would go off randomly while he was there. Another boy pointed out that he heard water running as if someone left a shower or a sink on, but there are no showers in there. My friend R also went to the boys locker room and he said that one time he went to go get sports balls and he kept hearing a clanking noise. As if someone was like clanking pots together, but no one was there and he was all alone, so he doesn’t know where the sound was coming from. But I do know that the ghost it is in fact a student that went to West Middle. But from what I heard they say this ghost either died in the locker room or possibly just trapped there. I guess that is unclear and can even be left to interpretation. But this ghost has always just been there and so I think because of the rumors it sort of branched out with like lots of different interpretations.

K: So where did you hear this ghost story from?

A: When I was, actually, when I was in 5th grade, um they bring all the fifth graders over for a tour of the campus and you just kind of walk over around. We visited the girls locker room and the girls locker room, and I think that was the first time I heard of the ghost. Someone in my group started to talk about it. And then when I came to the campus in the sixth grade that’s when I heard it from so many people there.

K: Okay, now what’s your reaction to this ghost? How do you feel about this ghost?

A: Well since I have never really been in the boys locker room too much, I haven’t had a chance to really deal with ghosts. But I have been scared at night because I used to stay back for PTA meetings and events. And it is very scary to walk around the halls it’s like very creepy. Especially when you walk alone. But I never dared ventured into the boys locker room, at all, and I mean the doors are locked too, not that I have ever attempted to go in there or anything hehe. So yeah it is a very spooky to visit at night. I definitely think this ghost exists, and the fact that so many people are talking about definitely seems to confirm it even more. But yeah that’s about it.

K: Anything else you would like to add?

A: Yeah that’s pretty much all the details. I wished I experienced the ghost myself first hand though.

K: I know that would’ve been awesome. But great, thanks A!

My reaction to this ghost story: The fact that this story takes place in a middle school makes this ghost story interesting. Is it really a ghost or a rumor made up by a bunch of middle schoolers? I guess we will not know for sure. But it is interesting that it takes place in middle school because Middle school is a liminal period itself, it is the middle of your schooling years, where you are neither a child or an adult, but a preteen, a very small period where identity is really started to develop but still more likely unknown. So a ghost appearing at such a liminal age can also make sense too. I thought the context played a perfect role for this ghost story, the fact that it is in an old middle school building that has not been upgraded and the fact that boys locker room itself is isolated from the rest of the school makes it an excellent place for a ghost to haunt. All in all, I enjoyed hearing this story, and I think it was great to be able to apply our class leanings to such a story.

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Legends

Haunted House in Glendale

Stephen Oh, 18

Korean American

La Canada, CA

11/8/2011

            One of my good friends at the University of Southern California swears to me that his old house was haunted. So one night, I sat my friend Stephen Oh, who appeared to be calm at first, and he began to tell me about his haunted house:

“So before I moved to La Canada, I lived in Glendale, California until I was about four years old. And, so like, the reason why I moved was because La Canada is ranked number three in California among other public high schools. However, I was too young to understand why we moved. As I was growing older, my parents and my sisters would talk about our old house and my sisters, who are six and seven years older than me, so that means around the time I lived in my Glendale house they were pretty much in junior high, and talking to them, especially my older sister Stacy, she said some weird things happened in the house. For instance, we had a pool, and there was just one spot in the pool that everyone seems to drown, it was really weird because it really wasn’t that deep, it was about four or five feet deep, and my sisters really good swimmers, but they told me everyone would drown at that exact same spot in the pool. They had friends and family come over and swim, and every single person would start drowning in that exact spot, so my dad had to come in and save the people every single time. So I guess my dad found it weird, so he did some research and tried to find and faults with swimming pool under previous owners, but interestingly enough, he found out that the previous owner’s daughter had drowned in the pool and died. And so, um, basically my dad put a pool cover over the pool, and we never swam again. And my older sister, Stacy, also ran into some weird experiences also. And this didn’t come out until after we moved, when she finally decided to tell our family about the experience. So around second grade, after school she would go to an after study program, so she wouldn’t come back until about seven o clock in the evening. And when she went upstairs to her room, she would always see this figure sitting in her desk, a man in his mid forties just silently sitting there, and she told me when she first saw she freaked out and she would turn on the lights, and as soon as the lights would turn on the figure would disappear. So, at first she told us she thought she was just seeing things. But, she said that it happened every single day for the next two days, everyday coming back from after study. Right after she opened her door to her room, she would see this man, silent, not moving, very serious face, and then she would flick on the lights and he would disappear every single time. What was interesting though, uh she can’t find the words to describe this man, as in like my parents would ask her what color suit he was wearing, describe his facial features, and she literally would choke up and couldn’t find the words to describe him, which was really weird. And when she finally told us about this, she said it was so normal towards the end of the two years that everyday she would expect to see the man and as a second and third grader she kind of pictured him as her imaginary friend or acquaintance. But she did say often times at night, she would get that weird feeling that someone was looking at her. And also, we had a television downstairs and a radio, and my dad would told me also that once a week at 2:30 in the morning that the television would turn on by itself, and so would the radio. And no matter what channel it was on, it would always turn onto the black and white fuzz. So my dad told me that he would go downstairs when it happened and unplug both the television and the radio. Once though when he went downstairs in the morning, both the television and the radio were plugged back in. Secondly, my uncle also lived with us in the hose at the time and we had a shack out back by the swimming pool. My uncle was pretty young back then so then he would come back late night, like you know drunk or whatever. And he said sometimes when he came back, our guard dog would stop whimpering for apparently no reason, which struck us odd because our guard dog would never shut up. And he said, after he eventually moved out, was because one night he was sleeping and he randomly woke up in the middle of the night, and he woke up in scissor lock, where he couldn’t move his body, but he could see. And then he said, it got really cold, and then something started choking, vigorously chocking him, like he couldn’t breathe at all. And he would hear these sounds, illegible sounds of a girl’s voice, but he couldn’t understand what she was saying. And then it stopped all of the sudden, so that night they called the preacher, like a minister. And he came, put up a cross and said prayers and spread holy water and left. And the uncle moved out of there, as soon as the next day. So eventually when I was about four years old, we moved out. But when I was 13, my family and I ate dinner near my old house and we decided to just stop by it. And so we went to the house, parked outside, kind of just admired the new renovations made by the current owners of the house and stuff. And he actually came out and asked us what we were doing, because we were just awkwardly just parked outside of his house. And he told us, and he asked us why we were there. And my dad told him that we used to live there. The guy was actually welcoming and invited us in. And showed us good hospitality and brought us stuff to drink and you know. And my dad was talking to him about all the renovations that he had done, and how nice everything had looked. And my dad asked him about the pool, and the guy said he drained it. And my dad asked him why. And he would say at night, even if it was really a still night and stuff, no wind, there would be ripples across the surface of the water, as if someone was walking on it. And my dad knew that the house was haunted and stuff, so he stopped asking questions and stuff to refrain from scaring the owner. But suddenly, the owner asked my dad, was the house haunted when you lived here? And my dad skeptically said, I don’t think so. And the guy said I want you to be completely honest with me. My dad asked why. And he said cause his little daughter claims to see a man in her bedroom upstairs, which turns out to be the same room my older sister had, and his daughter claimed that, Henry or Harold, I’m not sure, and that he would actually talk to her. Then at night, she would always claim that a monster or some little thing in her closet. And so almost every night he would come and comfort her. And when he would open the closet, he wouldn’t see anything. But the little girl would always run behind him and close her eyes as if she had seen something. And to that day she would never tell him what she saw, no one knows, but that guy was freaking out. And then we left.”

Although Stephen does not remember living at the house, Stephen actually looked scared and relieved he didn’t have to stay in that house anymore. He immediately called his mother and tried to receive the address of the old house from her, but she only gave us the street name, due to privacy issues. However, Stephen said that he still remembers what the house looked at, so we looked up the street on Google maps. Soon, we found the pool, guest house, and the dark house itself. Upon switching upon street view, we were able to see the front of the house, which presented an eerie feeling to me. This story was particularly chilling, because the events that had happened in the house were disturbing to the witnesses. One thing I noticed about this ghost story is that Stephen had claimed that the man sitting at the desk in his sister Stacy’s room was there everyday, and also that everyone who passes a certain spot in the pool would almost drown without aid. It is obvious that the reason why people would drown in this certain spot is because of the little girl who had previously drowned in the pool before Stephen’s family had moved in. Also the event of Stephen’s uncle being caught in a scissor lock proves that the spirits in the house were obviously hostile to the tenants that are living in the house. Oddly enough, the family that moved in after Stephen’s family was experiencing similar occurrences, which adds credibility to the story. I believe these ghosts were hostile to the current tenants of the house, attempting to drown people who swim the pool and scaring little girls. A common theme I find in this story is tragedy, which would be the little girl who had drowned in the pool years ago. I attempted to research for any information on this specific house to try to find explanations for the other events, but unfortunately I was not able to find anything on this house. So from this story, I find that these ghosts are upset that there are people living in their quarters and the violent incidents explain that the current tenants are not welcome. In other words, perform in depth research before buying your next home.

 

Yen Hoang

Student

University of Southern California

11/9/2011

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The Red Room

With the advent of the internet, spirits and ghosts have found their way onto the computer screen, haunting those who perhaps typed in the wrong internet URL. Although perhaps not that surprising, seeing as supernatural ghost activity, according to legend, may affect electricity, televisions, and other modern innovations, a difference with ghosts on the internet is that they are linked to specific sites, not a specific location or area. With this in mind, my friend sent me a link which I did not click, especially after he told me a ghost story of the internet.

Being into Japanese culture and taking interest in horror (“It’s just so interesting!”), he told me the legend of the ‘Red Room’.

“…After classes had ended for that day, two young boys, around their early teens, decided to just hang out and talk. After chatting about school, their classes, their grades, the girls they like, and the latest computer games, the topic finally landed on what they did on the internet. To this question, one boy pipes up and asks if the other had ever heard of the internet pop-up ad that annoyed the user with the question “Do you like – ?” The other boy answered with a shake of his head. The first boy then continues with the story, promptly saying that supposedly, if people closed the pop-up ad, a ghost would cause the person to die. A little spooked out, the other boy changes the topic and the chatting continues until one boy gets called by his mother and is asked to go home for dinner. Later online, the two friends talk online through a messaging program and the boy who had told the story typed in “Dude, I’m going to try searching about the pop-up ad.” The other friend asked if he had found anything but the boy didn’t answer. Assuming he was busy reading up about the story, this friend decided to do some searching of his own. However, despite all his search efforts using every phrase and reading several forums, he could not find anything about pop-up ad. He decided to believe that his friend just made the whole thing up and just wanted to scare him. As he was giving up his search, an extra window pops up with one of those annoying voices. Only this one played a sort of garbled childlike voice asking “Do you like -?” Thinking that it was just his friend messing with him, the boy clicked the ‘x’ which closed the ad. After a few seconds or so, the pop up reappears, asking the same question, “Do you like – ?” Again closing the ad did no good. It kept popping up to his dismay. The childish voice kept changing bit by bit each time until finally the question lengthened by one word. “Do you like red?” The boy continued to close the pop-up until the final message is spit out by a normal childlike girl’s voice, “Do you like the red room?” After this final message appeared, another pop-up window displays a website with a list of names. Not knowing what this was for, the boy scanned the list and found the name of his friend at the bottom. He then feels another presence in the room behind him and turns around, but it is too late.

The next morning at school, there’s a rumor that the pair of friends had suicide, both of them covering the walls and floors in their rooms with their own dark red blood. Upon examination, all they found was a website with a list of names where both their names are displayed at the end of a long list.”

The ghost story ended here, but the friend had told me that this story was also connected to a real life murder of a twelve year old Japanese girl, dubbed the Sasebo slashing. Apparently someone had made an animation of this story and the eleven year old classmate, who had slashed this girl’s throat and arms with a knife, was obsessed with this animation. I was scared to say the least and when he sent me the link to the animation later that night, I did not dare click on it or close the window. I simply turned off my computer.

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Turnbull Canyon

Back home, there is a famous area among the mountains called Turnbull Canyon. There are quite a few houses among the main roads, but there are also several houses and areas down winding dirt roads that are usually hidden from view from the trees. I know, I’ve been there. First some background information should be established. The area is well known for its racing drifting accidents as well as its housing of a Satanic cult, complete with ritualistic human sacrifices. These events weren’t just rumors as they often made the pages of the newspaper, so I decided to ask a friend who lived on Turnbull Canyon Road about the different incidents that’s happened there and whether anything weird has happened to him over the years.

“… Ever since I can remember, there’s been tons of accidental deaths in the area. Car crashes, animal attacks, fire victims, and even a plane crash once. Once in awhile, the police find an unidentified body, a John Doe. Everyone knows that famous story of some cultists murdering a teenage girl. She was tied to the back of a car and they just sped off. It was said she was dragged for miles before they finally left the body on Turnbull Canyon Road. I had nightmares about it for years. I know you’re asking for ghost stories, but all these events, they’re connected to each other. Back in the hills there’s many different places that have been explored. Among the findings, its reported that there are Hell’s gates back somewhere in the mountains. In the middle of nowhere, there are old rusted gates that have worn down stone pillars on either side. Beyond it is just some dirt road that leads somewhere out of sight, but there’s always an eerie feeling and silence about the place that makes people want to get out of there. It’s said that the place beyond the gates could be a source of the deaths in the area. As you might’ve guessed, ghost stories circulate because of it too. Turnbull is just a scary place. There’s supposed to be a rundown insane asylum back here too where after one patient hung himself, the other patients started following suit, even if they had been getting better. The staff simply had to get rid of all the sheets and everything so that they wouldn’t have access to anything which they could use to harm themselves. Well, after this rundown asylum closed, there’s been a lot of sightings of people hung by their necks, dangling from the branches of the trees. I wouldn’t say it’s true, but I think I saw it myself. I was driving down Turnbull at night with a few of my friends, and to get to my house, I just drove down a super winding road. On one side was basically a slope where you could see a few houses at the top, and on the other side are trees that block your view. I was just driving along, blasting music, when I spotted something in the window of the houses. The light was on in the window, but the curtains or whatever was closed. A shadow of a person STOOD at the window, looking out. You couldn’t see the person, so it was just a shadow. I quickly pointed it out to my friends. Only one of them said they saw the same thing I did, and the rest of them were telling me that it was nothing. It really creeped me out so I turned the music up even more as I continued to drive along Turnbull. I continuously scanned my surroundings looking out for anything else. I started looking at the trees. Huge mistake. I swear I see a body hanging from a tree. Arms limp, face contorted, feet dangling in the air like twenty feet off the ground. I couldn’t believe it, I almost swerved off the road! I looked again, desperately trying to confirm that I was just imagining things. Nope, no body. However, by this time, my friends were quiet too. They looked scared and I asked them if they saw it too, without expressly saying the body from the tree. A few of them nodded. After hesitating a little, I continued driving down the road as fast as I could until I reached my house.”

After hearing the tales and the hype of Turnbull Canyon, I cannot say that I was not scared. I do believe this friend’s story as I had actually been there. I was one of the friends who saw the body. Although I still do not know whether I really believe what I saw, I do still avoid that road today. Whenever I go over to this particular friend’s house, I take a different route from the one that we had taken that night.

general
Legends
Narrative

Ghost Neighbor in King Country

“My friend Sarah, she used to live in this town called King Country, it’s right near Valencia. It’s in Santa Clarita, which is like one of the most haunted places in California. Anyway she used to live in this like, pretty big house with her little sister and her parents, and they had these like weird next-door neighbors. They were like this old couple, and the one girl’s name was Diana. She was like this old woman that was kind of crazy and like had, her husband was weird too. But she like oddly became obsessed with Sarah’s family. Like found ways to break into their house to like, try to like invite them over and when like, the mom would be gone, Sarah’s mom didn’t want them staying at home anymore because like, or by themselves because this girl would come around the back. She’d knock on the front door and they wouldn’t answer, and then she would come around the back to their house and bang on the window and be like “I SEE YOU, I SEE YOU, OPEN UP THIS DOOR!” And like, I know, creepy. She would try to like, take their…not like steal their stuff but like take their jewelry and invite Sarah and Hannah, her little sister, into her house a lot. Um, and like try to just…she was just really really weird and it kind of started freaking them out and Sarah’s mom was like, “you’re not allowed over their house anymore and she’s not allowed over here.” So anyway like, a couple months later like after she’s been weird and everything’s gone crazy. She uh, she goes and they see a bunch of ambulances at the house and they don’t know what’s going on. The husband died, and that was you know really sad. But then it just became the crazy old lady doing more crazy things now that her husband was dead. And then a couple months later she passed away. There were more ambulances and everything. Then one night, before anyone moved into that house, it was like completely vacant and everything. Sarah could swear that she would see lights on. But then, you know her mom was like no you’re crazy, whatever. And there was one day and I was over this day. It was really freaking scary. I wanna say we were like 7 or 8. Um… (sigh) We were outside playing and all of a sudden we saw the garage light turn on in this house that had been vacant for like a really long time. The garage light turned on and we all stopped and were like that’s really creepy. We had also known how weird this lady was. So then we were like whatever, but then we hear music start and we like kind of see shadows, cause you know how in some garages there are like those windows that you can like see into people’s garages. So we hear music start and we see shadows dancing, which was really freaking creepy. And so we’re all like oh my God oh my God oh my God. Then we went over and went to go peek in a window, but it all stopped and went black. So then we started running away, and as we were running down the street, um, Sarah felt something push her. And turned to us and was like, “you guys why did you just push me?” And we were like “Sarah we didn’t we’re right next to you!” And she had a huge handprint on her back of somebody who like pushed her. Not even joking this is like a true story. Terrified the crap out of me. We went home and told her mom and her mom freaked out. Here her daughter had this huge handprint on her back and we heard footsteps behind us but we thought it was just us because it was three kids running down the street. But then Sarah got pushed and there was a huge mark on her back.”

 

GG actually experienced this story for herself, so that gives it a unique point of view. GG does not totally believe in ghosts, but she does admit she has had some experiences that make her question her disbelief. She told the story with passion and intensity in her hand movements, leading me to believe that this story is very real to her. This story would count as a legend because it occurred in the real world but its truth is unknown.

This story has several common motifs of ghost stories. It includes a ghostly light. GG said that her friend Sarah often saw a garage light turn on in the vacant house after the two old neighbors passed away. She also explains that, as they got closer to the house, the light that was on went out. Lights are a common motif throughout ghost stories in almost all cultures. Another motif in this story is the big, haunted house. GG explains that the neighborhood Sarah lived in was one of the most haunted places in the city, and the houses were big and scary. Haunted houses are a common element in ghost stories. One more motif in this story is ghost hands or handprints. The ghost supposedly pushes the girl away and leaves a handprint on her back. The fact that the ghost left a mark seems like it would be indisputable evidence.

GG puts the story into context by beginning the story with an explanation of why the old lady was strange. By telling me that she was a creepy neighbor before her death, it helps explain why she may have been creepy in the afterlife. The woman may be exacting revenge on the little kids for disturbing them in the afterlife by going on her property. She said the music and dancing stop when they get closer. The ghost could be upset that they interrupted them and got her revenge by pushing them away. This story is important to GG because it helped form her childhood beliefs of the afterlife.

general
Legends
Narrative

The White Lady of Durand-Eastman Park

“I know a story from back in Rochester that everyone told about the white lady. Years and years ago, I guess in the 1800s some time, there was a woman who supposedly lived in the area where Durand-Eastman Park is now.  And she had a daughter and her daughter disappeared and she was convinced that somebody had murdered her daughter, a farmer that lived nearby. So she would search with her two German Shepards over and over and over again but she never found her daughter or any trace of her daughter. So, the story is that she jumped off a cliff and died and her dogs did the same because they missed her so much, and that her and her dogs roam Durand-Eastman Park to this day. And if you, because there was a road up there where when you were younger it was the make-out point, you would go up there and hang out in a car. If you hang out on the side of Durand-Eastman Park it’s been rumored to say that she will find you, she’ll be on top of your car, and she’ll try to get in and kill the guy cause she hates all men, because she believes her daughter was raped and murdered by a man.”

 

DL heard this story when she was growing up in Rochester, New York. She thinks she heard it from one of her friends in grade school. She said she does not necessarily believe in this story, but she does not deny all ghost belief. She said that she doesn’t know how she feels, but “something has to happen to our spirits when we die.”  This is an example of a legend because it occurs in the real world but its truth is unknown.

This story has many common motifs of ghost stories. One motif evident is the idea of a ghostly mother. Many times, ghosts are mothers who wander the living world searching for their children or trying to take care of them. In this story, the ghost is looking for her daughter. The motif of unfinished business is also present. The mother never found her daughter while she was alive, so she came back after her death to continue search for them. The most notable motif in this story is the motif of revenge. The woman believes the male farmer that lived near to them raped and murdered her daughter, so in the afterlife she seeks revenge on men. The story says that she gets inside of cars parked near Durand-Eastman Park where couples hang out to exact revenge on the men inside of them. She wants revenge against all living men for what one man did to her daughter while she was alive. The fact that her nickname is the white lady parallels Japanese ghost beliefs; Japanese ghosts, or Yurei, wear all-white clothing.

This story was probably used as a fun way to scare the teenagers in the area who would spend time in Durand-Eastman Park. It also serves as somewhat of a warning that teenagers trying to take advantage of “make-out point” should be careful of what they may find. In a more general sense, the story can be taken as a reminder to men that they need to respect women. A man disrespected the ghost’s daughter, and for that, all men must pay. The white lady is said to protect women in the park from men who try to harm them.

general
Legends

Senter Road Haunted House

Travis: So what ghost story are you going to tell me today?

Lina: Ummm about the haunted house on Senter Road.

Travis: What does the house look like?

Lina: It’s a one story house with a white gate, big round rocks on the front yard, and a blue roof.

Travis: So what happened at the house?

Lina: Okay. So I heard at the house three people were murdered and someone committed suicide at the house.

Travis: Where did you hear this?

Lina: I don’t really remember. I heard about it so long ago, but everyone knows about it. So anyways, people they move in and house after only living at the house for a few weeks. One story I heard… ummm that house, they were trying to sell it right. So this guy bought the house because it was really cheap and he had no idea why, but he            bought it anyways and when he got into the house he moved everything in.

Travis: Did he live alone?

Lina: Yeah. Everything was normal. Everything was good, until he went to sleep one night and ummm in the middle of the night he woke up because something was pulling on his leg. And it pulled him out of bed and it was like yelling, screaming in his ear. Itwas just screaming at him saying get the hell out of here and stuff. Yeah, it pulled himout of his bed and said, “This is my room. This is where I belong. Get the hell out of here.” Stuff like that. So afterwards the man moved everything out and left. That house, no one wanted to buy it anymore because they heard of the story. And umm they got three rocks I think and put it in the front to basically hold down the spirit or control it. And its just three rocks equally distributed to control the spirit there. Yeah… and every year, kids go to the house to see if they can find the ghost. Most kids are too scared to go inside though. Ummm… one year in Halloween there was a sign on the door that said, “Get the fuck out of my house”. And that’s what I know about the haunted house on Senter Road.”

This ghost story carries a very important lesson. When buying items which have been owned by others, find out the history of the item; especially if the offer given is particularly unusual.  Not only does this ghost story entail a very important lesson, but it also tells a little bit about the culture of the people who live around area. The people who live around the area are mostly Asian and are very superstitious. The local communities belief in ghost and customs are revealed when they placed three rocks behind the gates of the house to keep the spirit contained. However, another side of the community can be seen through the sign on the door. With the house being near many schools where academic performance is low and many students are troublesome, there is a disregard for private property, local belief, and vandalism.

Living near the house, I passed it everyday as I went to school. Growing up in the area it’s nearly impossible not to hear about it or talk about it at least once. It’s a little landmark which everyone knows about. From the outside it looks like a very nice, maintained, regular house, but has not been inhabited for over eight years. I’ve never gone inside the house, but I have pasted it many times and every time I pass the house, I get a very… eerie feeling.

 

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