USC Digital Folklore Archives / November, 2011
Game
Legends

Ouija Board Ghost

My friend Nelly who personally experienced this told this story to me.

“Ummm… so we were… Nancy introduced the Ouija game to us. So she came over after school and then uhhh, we like… yeah we don’t play by the game, like the board game. We play by paper. So when you play by paper you have to rip it up when you are done. It’s like an instruction you know? So we decided to play and ummm… we were playing, we barely started and then ummm, we heard my dad coming to the living room so we stopped and then like you’re supposed to rip up the paper, but me and Melody, we just like let go and like was sat back down and then umm… Nancy, she didn’t let go and she was just like,”ahhh!” and then she gasped but she didn’t let go and like she was holding on to the paper and I was like, “Rip it up!” And she was like, “Yeah, yeah I know.” My dad came up and he was like what are you guys doing and I was like, “Uhhh… watching TV.” Ummm… she put the paper down and he was like, “Ok.”

So then he went back to the kitchen and then she set the paper down and then like we were just pretending to be you know doing whatever. So Melody… she like…  me and her, we went like to the computer and Melody was like, “Oh, lets play the Sims.” And then ummm… Melody suggested that we should play the Sims game… and then Nancy brought over the Sims game because like…   thats why she came over, to play and to teach us how to play the Sims game. And then ummm… and then I was sitting next to Melody and then I was like, “Uhhh okay lets play the game.” So then Melody was like, “Oh where’s the game?”  And I was like, “I don’t know.” So then we turned to Nancy and she was like, “Nancy, where’s the Sims game?” And she was like “What are you talking about? Who are you?” And then ummm… and then like we were like, “Oh stop kidding around.” And then she was like, “You know… the Sims game.” She was explaining, “That’s why you’re here, you’re going to show me how to play the Sims game, so where is it?” And she was like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Who are you? Where the hell am I?” And we were like, “What the heck.” And then ummm… she started crying and I was like,” What the heck? Why is she crying?” So I was like, “Nancy are you okay?” and like I was walked to the living room because the computer… it’s sorta near… it’s like in between the living room and the kitchen, so I walked towards her, the sofa, and was like, “Are you okay?” And she wouldn’t respond. She kept crying and she kept looking at the ceiling and she was like crying and it seemed like… she was grabbing onto her backpack. Like she grabbed it and was holding on so tight. I was like, “Okay, what the hell? Stop kidding around.” I was like getting angry at her. I was like, “Stop messing around. Like why are you crying?”

And then my dad came over and I was like, “Oh my god, he’s going to be like, ‘what the fuck is going on?’” And then he came up and I was like, “Dad, she’s crying.” And then he came up to her and said, “What’s wrong sweetie? Why are you crying?” Ummm and then… she started yelling at him. She was like, “Who are you? What do you want?” It seemed like she was about to get raped or something. She was crying and holding on to her stuff like her life was about to end or something. She kept screaming and I was like, “Calm down that’s my dad… what are you doing?” And she was like, “No! Get away from me!” And she was just screaming and was crying and kicking. And then I was like, “Daddy… I don’t know what to do.” And then.. so… like she stopped and then she was covering her face and everything and I was like, “Daddy, just leave her alone.”

And then he went back to the kitchen and like he was talking to us like, “What did you guys do?” And I was like, “I don’t know. We were just watching TV, thats it.” And then it came up and I was like, “What the fuck, you didn’t rip the shit!” So then I started ripping the paper. Like me and Melody were like ripping the paper and then she just sat there after five minutes she was like, “What are you doing?” And then I was like, “What the hell?” Like we left her alone because I didn’t know what to do and then ummm she was like, “What are you guys doing?” And we were like,”…. what are you doing?” She was like, “Aren’t we going to play the Sims?” And I was like,”… do you have the Sims? Like what the hell…” and then ummm my dad told her, “Oh go wash your face.” and then she did and she came out. And I was like you don’t remember that you were screaming and yelling at my dad? And then she was like, “No… all I remember is us sitting here about to play the Sims or something like that.” And I was like, “The fuck?” And she doesn’t even remember till this day. Even when I remind her, she’s like, “No, I seriously don’t remember.””

This story might not be an obvious ghost story when first read, but there are a few indicators which put this story into the ghost genre. The Ouija board game is a popular board game which is known and has been played by many people. It has also been used in the movie Paranormal Activity to help persuade and scare viewers into believing the house in the movie is possessed. The board has letters and words on it with a marker where the players place their fingers. The marker then moves to specific letters or words which are supposed to make a message to the players. Supposedly, the marker is being moved by a paranormal entity which makes the whole game scary. Other supernatural stories relating to the Ouija board have been around and only make it more believable. Because Nancy is “possessed” after using the Ouija board, it is easier believable that the story is paranormal. The entity which possessed Nancy had a personality which makes it easier to believe it was a ghost. Nelly emphasized the fear that was instilled into Nancy after she was possessed; “It seemed like she was about to get raped or something”. Many ghosts come from people who have had a tragic life or unfinished business. The terror and panic that came from Nancy gives reason to believe a ghost who had a tragic and fearful life possessed her.

Despite the scary possession that happened to Nancy, it can’t help but be thought of as the consequence of their “fun”. Nancy was possessed only after they didn’t rip the paper and that she went back to normal as the paper was ripped. It’s as though the paper, once used as the game board was an entrance for spirits to come through. This story shows the consequences of meddling with the supernatural world and not following it’s rules.

 

 

general

The Headless Horseman

Britta Roosendahl, 20, Female

Student, American

Los Angeles, CA

So umm… I hope that I tell it right. It’s a really famous story on the East Coast and it has a history… like during the Revolutionary War. Okay, so… there’s this town in Pennsylvania, called Tarry Town, and it still exists. And so since the Revolutionary time, there’s this story called the Legend of the Sleepy Hollow. So I guess back in the 1600s, there was this guy, his name was Ichabod Crane. He was a school teacher, and he was kinda awkward, you know… tall and skinny and weird and he really liked this girl, who is the daughter of this farmer. So he is in love with this girl, whom he taught the piano to, umm… but she is the daughter of this really wealthy farmer and he’s really poor and, you know… but he loved her and he wanted to be with her. So he went to this party at her house and he hopes to get to know her better, and there’s this other guy, who is much bigger and more… umm… manly… who’s also in love with this woman. They called him Brom Bones or something… because he’s really kinda scary… and he didn’t like the fact that the school teacher was falling in love with this girl. So he told him this story… that one night, when he was riding home from work… and he heard… umm… he heard this noise behind him and this guy, he was riding a horse… and when he looked over, he saw that the guy had no head. And the guy was following him silently. So… umm… Brom, the big, tough guy saw that the guy was chasing him and he realized that if he rides over the bridge, to the churchyard, the ghost won’t be able to follow him, because ghost can’t cross over water and can’t go into the churchyard. So he crosses the bridge and looked over, the ghost bursts into flames. So… umm… Ichabod Crane… the skinny, dorky guy was totally freaked out because uhh, you know… there’s a ghost running around in the town. So after the party finishes… he… umm… said goodbye to this girl and rode on his horse and you know, it’s kinda dark, riding through the woods by himself and he got scared. So he then heard the sound of the… hooves and he looked around, no one was there. And it was really dark, so he got really scared. He kept looking over his shoulder, then saw the headless person riding behind him, really silent. He is wearing this military uniform, sort of like those worn during the Revolutionary war. So he pretended he wasn’t there, but eventually when he opened his eyes, and the guy was right next to him. He tried not to freak out but this guy was just riding next to him, totally silent. And all of a sudden, Ichabod Crane just freaks out and picked up his pace, and this guy was chasing him, and he was like… oh my God… I need to get to the bridge… so that, you know… the ghost will disappear. So he crosses the bridge and looks behind him, and the guy was still chasing after him. He didn’t burst into flames or anything, he just kept coming. He pulled out something from beside him, not a head, but something like a carved pumpkin… with a crazy face on it and aims it at Ichabod Crane and hits him and he flew off his horse and rolled down this hill then he was never seen again. To this day… the horseman still roams in the forest. Well, the coolest thing was, it is a traditional ghost story and I know there are many out there which are scarier… and umm.. this story, it is so traditional, East Coast and I learned it when I went to school there, in 4th grade and everyone in New England knows the story. And people travel down to Tarry Town to see the grave of the girl and they are all like… historical figures. And they are saying like… maybe Brom Bones, the bad guy, dressed up as the headless horseman, to scare Ichabad Crane away from the town so he can be with the woman, but everyone believes that the headless man is real because he probably died in the forest during the Revolutionary War and Pennsylvania is… well… uhh a creepy place!”

Like many post-war related ghost stories, the story of the headless horseman envelopes the motif of restless dead. Based on the book, The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow written by Washington Irving, a stray cannonball shot the man’s head off, and since then, the now headless man rides around the woods in search for his lost head. The headless horseman was also described to be wearing a Hessian military uniform, which then explains that the story took place during the American Revolutionary War. Many places were deemed haunted after a certain war period because many people were killed and most of the time, they are not buried properly, or buried without complete body parts. Because of this reason, ghosts, or spirits were seen roaming around their death place, in search for missing parts to make themselves complete before advancing to the spiritual world. People who did not die a merciful death, or had “unfinished business” in their lifetime, will probably come back as ghosts to seek revenge.

Folk Beliefs
general
Legends
Narrative

Hungry Ghost (Preta) in Burma

My room mate, ThawZin, is from Burma. He is a Buddhist, and is very religious. This is the story he told me from his country.

 

ThawZin: “First, some background info! In Buddhism we have different classes for spirituality. There are the demigods at the top, followed by humans, animals, hungry ghosts, then devils. Hungry ghosts are what we call ‘preta’ (pronounced pale-tar). Pretas are people, who, when they were alive, were greedy and malicious. Their death is usually caused by a greedy act they brought upon themselves. You know… pretas are actually pitied by humans, because they have to face suffering, but they deserve it. It’s karma. They are invisible, but they can scare mortals. They like eating the gooey shit coming from meat and other things, haha! That is why, every time I go to the market with my mom, we always have to spit on the floor, so that they won’t follow us. Their appearance: they have big bellies, and small heads. The big bellies symbolize how greedy they are, you know… They want so much, but the little head, little face, little mouth, symbolize that they can’t get anything, can’t get shit, you know? Haha!

 

Anyway so the story… my mother told me this before. In Burma there’s this guy. He was fucking greedy during his life time. One day he was really hungry. He loved eating intestines, so he went to his wife and said, ‘Where the fuck is my food?!” But the wife didn’t have anything prepared. He was so angry, so he went to the barn and, you know, he cut the tongues of the cows there while they were still alive! I mean the cows were still alive, and he just cut them, and so they were bleeding and shit. The cows were like… mooing the whole night, haha!  And they died a slow, painful death. He went to his wife, threw the cow tongues down at the table and told her to cook them for him. So the wife did. As he was eating the cow tongues, suddenly his own tongue started to dissolve. You know, it dissolved all the way to his insides. But karma did not kill him yet, it made him suffer. The cow tongue just dissolved his insides for days, until he died. He died just like the cows… a slow, painful death. When he died, that is when he became a preta. Well, he was reborn as a preta.”

 

Me: “Where in Burma was this? I mean, is there a specific place where he haunts?”

 

ThawZin: “Oh yes! It is in the old first kingdom of Burma, in Bagan.

 

Me: “Do people avoid that place?”

 

ThawZin: “Oh not at all! Actually you know, when he died, his preta was located under the ground. And then one day farmers in Bagan found that one part of… you know, the ground, started becoming fleshy. And that’s when they figured out that there was a preta there. They don’t avoid it. They constantly plow over the land, again and again. The greedy guy has to suffer again and again, getting plowed, but they can’t do anything about him. It’s karma, man. He deserves what came to him, and he has to stay there until he has repaid his debt, his bad karma.”

 

ThawZin’s story shows a lot about the Burmese culture, especially about the strength of the people’s belief in Buddhism. For one, the whole idea of a preta ghost is based on Buddhist beliefs in spiritual hierarchy and rebirth. As well, he says that even though people pity these pretas, when the farmers found out that there was a preta under the ground, they still plowed over him, again and again, even if it made the preta suffer, because they believed in the Buddhist concept of karma: that people deserve what is coming to them, good or bad. In many ways, his story also comes as a story of morality, particularly for the idea that greed and blind rage are unwanted negatives that will get you in trouble, and will follow you even after you die, in your rebirth, or the afterlife.

 

Customs
general

Funeral traditions

 

This is a belief prevailing among small towns and villages throughout China. I heard this belief from my friend Sue, who finished her high school in Hangzhou City and went back to her hometown village in Huzhou several times a year to visit her grandparents and old relatives there. Sue’s village has a 100-year history. Villagers there believe there are ghosts existing in the world, and they have special understanding of ancestor ghost and have special rituals to hold funerals. This is what Sue told me:

“From what my father told me, every time an aged villager died, after his or her funeral, there was a tradition that offsprings of the dead had to participate into a race in his hometown. This tradition passed down from the generation my grandpa lived in.

The process of Chinese funerals has changed a lot in past years. In my father’s generation, the dead body would be put into the coffin and covered by his or her off springs’ quilts. Every son or daughter of the dead should provide one quilt at least. Then, friends and relatives who were holding the funeral came to pray and bow to the dead, for showing their respects to the dead before people buried the coffin.

After everybody bowed to the dead, offsprings would take quilts out of the coffin and bury the coffin respectively and solemnly. Then descendants of the dead would carry their own quilts and start to run while competing with each other. The first person who reached his home was regarded as the one who would be blessed most by his dead ancestor in the future, because they believed that they carried their dead ancestor home first. Good fortune would come to that family.”

Sue is from a town in Huzhou where is in the eastern part of China. I think this tradition not only dominates in Huzhou, but also in my father’s hometown, Zhuji. Although the ritual of the funeral varies a bit, the main belief is the same. The belief is that the spirit of the dead ancestor will never go away even his body is cremated. The ancestor’s spirit will keep watching, blessing, protecting and bringing good fortune to his offspring. After my grandfather passed away, every time the Tomb Sweeping Festival comes, my father will take the whole family go back to his hometown and visit my grandfather’s grave and pay respect to him. My father always murmurs in front of the grave to ask the spirit of my grandpa to take care of us.

Game
general

Ghostly game

I asked a lot of my friends if they had any fantastic ghost stories to tell. They all racked their brain so hard, but hardly came up with one. At the time I felt helpless about my story collection, Shirley saved my life. She told me a spooky story happened in her high school in America.

“I am even trembling now every time I try to recollect the story. At that time, I was in my senior year in Massachusetts. My friends were bored of study in the school. So they decided to play some paranormal activities to entertain. The game should be conducted in an abandoned house with lights turned off. Four participates will stand in four corners of a squared room with eyes covered with black mask. As the game begins, the first person walks towards the second person. When he approaches the second person, he pats the person on his shoulder. Then the second person goes to the third person and does the same thing. After the third person approaches the last participate, the last person is supposed to walk to the original place where the first person stands, where no one is there after the first round starts. As anyone passes a empty corner, the participate should cough and continue to walk towards the next corner to pat the next person. The game goes on until no one coughs anymore. The wired thing of this game is who is the extra person shown in the game? My four friends were brave and curious about this game. Thus they follow the rules one by one and. However, the game was stopped when one of my friends, Nick, touched “someone” in the empty corner.

It happened a long ago that I couldn’t remember some details. That afternoon, something horrible all happened to four of them. The only thing I remember is Nick fell down and broke his legs bones after playing the game. And when he returned home after school, his dog in his family barked loudly at him. Since it is believed in Chinese culture that dog can see ghost, we all started to imagine what were following Tom as he returned home.”

I took a long pause to think and go over Shirley’s story in my mind again. It made me scared actually. I then did some research of this frightening game and discovered that it was regarded as a taboo, because the extra “person” will emerge in the dark room for the most situation. What will you feel if you touch a “person” who doesn’t exist in the dark? My nerves tightened even I just think about rather than take part into the game.  Although many ghostly games like this four-corner one spread widely in traditional society, four-corner game haunted Shirley during her high school year the most, since it took place around her life. What’s more, she was actually sitting at the corner where Tom touched the fifth “person”.

general

Paranormal Paramount (Stage 19)

For as long as I can remember my mothers best friend has always been fascinated by the supernatural. Whenever my she is at our house, and I see her, we have conversations about different supernatural topics. So it only made sense that I would approach her for ghost folklore. She told me that she heard an interesting one when she lived in LA about a haunting in Paramount Studios. The story goes as follows:

Hollywood is the home of many eerie tales. So many that there is a tour called the Haunted Hollywood tour. A famous stop is the cemetery, Hollywood Forever, which is located next to Paramount Studios. Security guards who work around the sound stages of Paramount Studios have claimed that sometimes those restless souls in Hollywood Forever come back to haunt the Studio. This happens so frequently that the security guards, more specifically those who work the night shift, have given the studio a new name. They call it Paranormal Paramount.

One of the most famous “hauntings” is the haunting on sound stage 19; the stage where Happy Days was shot. Most security guards refuse to work the night shift on sound stage 19. The stage is said to be haunted by Heather O’Rourke, the little girl from poltergeist. She joined the cast of Happy Days as Heather Pfister, and was featured in 12 episodes from 1982-1983. She died in a hospital in 1988 from mysterious causes, although it is believed that there was some sort of surgical complication. She was 12.

One evening a man was talking to a night shift security guard who worked stage 19 about the paranormal activities that go on at the studio. The security guard told the man that almost every night he hears running and laughing on the catwalk above the set, which is where Heather liked to play when she was on set on Happy Days. The security guard also told the man that sometimes they’d see the little girl playing on the stage. The man asked what they do when they see her. The security guard replied that they usually just tell her to leave and she runs off.

The man decided he wanted to test this out for himself. The guard let him into the stage at midnight and bid him good luck before shutting the sound stage door. The man walked around, and waited. He prepared himself to hear running on the catwalk or to see Heather playing, but nothing happened. Finally after 20 minutes or so he decided to provoke the spirit a little by telling her come out and play. Not a second after the words left his mouth did the man feel a hand brush across his lower back. He immediately ran off the stage in terror. Outside he told the security guard what happened and that he didn’t actually expect anything to happen. The security guard laughed and told the man that his expression looks just like the expression on of the editor for the show Wings (which was also shot on stage 19) had when he saw Heather in the background of one of the shots.

My mother’s friend, as I mentioned, is a firm believer in supernatural occurrences like this story. She said that things like visitations are not beyond being a possibility. I, on the other hand, am somewhat skeptical about ghosts in general. However this story is consistent with themes and motifs found in most ghost stories. For example, dying young, without marrying, without accomplishing, are all aspects of the theme of unfinished business. As well there were claims of malpractice in relation to her death, which is not a natural death. Unfinished business and unnatural death are two very strong motifs in ghost stories that prevent the dead from moving on.

general
Legends

Richie

My best friend and I went to the same sleepover camp for eleven years. He recently reminded me of this story.

One year when we were very young, probably around nine or ten, our councilor decided that he would tell us a scary story. My friend and I sat on the floor in front of my councilors bed and he told us the story of Richie.

The camp was founded in 1964. A once calm and quite lake, where families could escape for a month or two from the city had now become the home of two-hundred, loud and rowdy kids. For the most part none of the families on the lake had a problem with this, and in fact sent their kids to the camp eventually. Other cottagers hated the camp and would try to vandalize it at night in order to scare the campers and staff off. One man in particular, named Bernard Richie Ludwig, did not like the idea of the camp. He did not like the free range that these kids had, and the interactions that the boys and girls had with each other, and made these views vocal on more than one occasion to the camp’s owners. The thing that really bothered Richie though was the camp’s activity on the lake.

See, Richie’s cottage sat on the lake right where the camps ski boats liked to drive their course. This meant that from ten in the morning till five at night boats were constantly speeding by his cottage, being loud and creating rough waters. This angered Ritchie; the constant traffic was ruining one of his previously favorite activates with his son, swimming.

One day, despite the constant boating, Richie and his son went swimming. The staff member driving the boat that day wasn’t paying attention to the water and only after he heard a blood-curdling scream did he realize he had hit Richie and his son. Richie’s son died on impact, Richie did not. Instead his leg got caught in the motor and was horribly mangled. Richie’s wife ran out of their cottage to see the boat driver carrying the bloodied Richie into the house, and her son’s dead body on the dock.

In the weeks to follow the staff member was let go and dealt with by the authorities. Richie refused medical attention, claiming he was so upset he would rather die. This deeply upset his wife and their other son. Slowly Richie’s leg began to gangrene, and he started going mad. He would stay up all night hollering at nothing and shouting curses at himself, the boat driver, god and the camp. Soon his entire leg was rotted with gangrene and Richie had become insane. His wife told him that she and the other son were leaving because they couldn’t watch him like this anymore. Then, for the first time in two months Richie stood up off the couch. He walked over to his wife, his gangrene leg immobile. He would take a step with his good foot and then drag his second one to catch up with the first. Slowly he made his way over to his wife. Thud, drag, thud, drag. He said to her quietly that he loves her and that she can’t leave. She took a step away from him but he grabbed onto her. She struggled, and hit him in the face. He held on tighter. Then she kicked him in his infected leg and he let go screaming in pain. She tried to get away, but he chased after her with a thud and a drag and pinned her to the ground. He strangled his wife, and then killed his other son. Richie then killed himself, but only after writing a note that read “I will not rest until I get even.”

For forty years after that, kids would recount events to each other where they woke up in the middle of the night to someone walking in the cabin with a thud and a drag. The thud and drag would stop next to their bed and they would smell something rotten, then it would vanish.

Finally many years later a fourteen-year-old girl by the name of Reagan Peters, came to camp for the first time. After a week she vanished and was never heard from again. Her cabin-mates claim they heard someone walking through their cabin with a thud and a drag. All that was left in her bed was a note that read “your daughter for my son.”

The guy who told me this story did not believe it was real and nor do I. It was used at our camp to deter young campers from interacting with the cottagers on the lake, as well to warn the kids to be careful around the water. This story has a lot of interesting motifs that are consistent with more traditional ghost stories, for example the theme of vengeance, and untimely death and a promise that must be fulfilled in order for the ghost to move on.

general

Ghosts of the Tortured

Choon Siong Tan, 20, Male

Student, Malaysian-Chinese

Los Angeles, CA

I approached Choon one evening and asked if he has heard of any interesting ghost story. Since both of us are Malaysians, I thought asking him for a local ghost story would be a great idea. So we talked about the ghost story after dinner that evening:

So this story took place in my primary school, a school beside a mountain. It’s in my hometown, Kemaman. In Terengganu. It must begin with some history… the time when the Japanese occupied our country. So, the Japanese army and our own army had a huge war and they killed a lot of people, and they just threw them into the mountain. They dug a huge hole, and threw all the bodies into the hole. Basically, people believe that the souls of the dead people are restless and that they are seeking for revenge. And it’s like… after the war, people started to hear ghost stories that happened in the school. Some said they heard the Japanese army marching at night, they heard the sound, but they didn’t see them. School children always have camping activities nearby and that’s what they said… they heard people marching. And one famous story is about the ghost woman in the toilet. This happened to two girls… they were camping, too, with a group of students. One of them went out of the toilet first, and the other one was still in there… and when she wanted to go out, the door was locked, no, not locked… she couldn’t open the door. She thought her friend was pulling a prank on her. So she said to the friend, “Hey, stop playing”. But in the end, she saw two fingers under the door pulling the door from outside… so she tried very hard to open the door and after a while she managed to open it. She went out and scolded the friend for frightening her… but the friend said “I have always been out here, waiting for you”. The ghost was not seen, only the two fingers… but it was convincing enough, don’t you think? It all happened in the same school!

I then asked Choon what exactly happened in the building during the Japanese occupation:

They keep hostages… hold them captive. They kill people… but most of the time they use two ways. They rape and kill the girls… decent-looking girls. And for guys… they just behead them, or if they want to torture, they will pump water into the stomach… or force them to drink a lot of water, until the stomach is about to burst… and they will kick and press the stomach. So this is how they kill people. They can’t escape so they will end up dying. They only catch Chinese, most of them, because of the war between China and Japan. So when they see Chinese in Malaysia, they want to take revenge on them.

I then asked Choon if he thinks this story is a scary one, and he responded by saying that it is not scary if a person listens to it, but it will be really scary if it happens to the person at the exact place.

This story makes a good ghost story because it constitutes the two sensory evidence as depicted in Elizabeth Tucker’s Haunted Halls, which are sight, sound. It also envelopes the theme of revenge, which leads to occurrences of hauntings in the school compound. The spirits lingered in that particular “zone” because it was the last place they had been before they were brutally murdered. A possible reason for their continuous dwellings is that they are waiting to take revenge on the murderers. Many versions of this very story were told over time, but all are congruent in terms of the kind of ghosts they see and hear (wailing females) or the eerie presence they feel when they are in the building. The appearance of the female ghost suggest that she had been mistreated (raped and killed) and did not manage to live a fulfilling life (died young and unmarried), and thus her soul lingers in the living world. Male ghost hauntings are rare probably because the men who were killed died a dignified death, as compared to women who were raped, tortured and then murdered.

The spirits of the dead are unable to rest due to improper burial. As told by Choon, the dead bodies were discarded into the hole in the mountain. No ritual ceremonies where carried out and no prayers were said to the dead. The Inuit tradition mentioned that if bodies were not properly wrapped and buried, the soul of the dead will not be able to rest and bad things will happen to the village. Although it is not known whether or not the brutal Japanese soldiers experience any unfortunate circumstance after, but improper burial can certainly explain the hauntings occurred in areas close to the mountain.

Patsy Teoh, 20, Female

Student, Malaysian-Chinese

Los Angeles, CA

general

Caspers of the Canyon

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There is this girl that I’ve been talking to that attends Pepperdine University.  I figured, what the hell, what better way to flirt with her than to ask her if she has any ghost stories she’d be willing to share (a.k.a. help me with my homework).  I was not expecting much, but upon my asking, she jumped all over it like I had just asked her to be my girlfriend (see: no way).  Her tale is as follows…

 

“Ummm…my speech teacher tells a story of ghosts that haunt the canyon (Malibu).   So he said that there was this guy who would like hide in the bushes on the side of the road.   He would run out to the side of the road at night when a car drove past, covered in blood.  He would try to like convince and trick people into helping him.  When people would pull over to help the guy, they would realize that he was covered in red paint instead of blood.  After he lured them out of their cars, he would bring them to like a secret hiding spot behind the bushes that he popped out from and rape the people that pulled over to help.  It didn’t matter to him if it was a woman, a guy, or even little kids-he would rape them all.  After he raped them, he would slit their throats and toss them over the side of the canyon and take their cars and drive away.  My speech teacher says that when you drive by the same turn at exactly midnight, you can feel the ghosts of all the people he killed trying to push and pull your car off the canyon to join them.”

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Lauren told me that they were having a roundtable discussion in her speech class regarding ghost stories and how to properly verbalize them.   Her professor gave this example and at the conclusion, proclaimed to believe the story is true as it was told to him by his adult son, who claimed to have seen and felt the ghosts’ presence himself.  Lauren was a little bit more wary of the ghost story as she does not necessarily believe whole-heartedly in the existence of ghosts.  Instead, she hypothesizes that the force supposedly exerted by the ghosts on the vehicles can easily be explained by wind which is constantly swirling and changing throughout the canyon.

Personally, I am not inclined to believe the ghost aspect of this story as Lauren and I share a similar theory of what was actually happening to these cars.  However, an interesting aspect of the story is the fact that the time which these events are said to occur are during a very liminal time, midnight.  This leads me to believe the tales could possibly be true, as I do believe the scheme the deranged man was pulling could have happened.  However, my initial inclination is that there are no ghosts that haunt the Canyon as I’m sure there would have been many news stories covering the disappearances of that amount of people, which there was not.

 

 

general

The Haunted Mansion

One can only imagine the things that a building security guard sees after hours when all the residents have gone to bed. With this in mind, I decided to ask my friend who works at University Gateway if there were any ghost stories he had come across in his time working there. He informed me that while there weren’t any he had from Gateway, he also works at the Alexandria Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles which is considered a haunted hotel by many. He had this to say:

“I had heard stories about the building, about the daughter of the guy who built the building. Her name was Alexandria and she was on the seventh floor playing with her orange ball, when it fell down the elevator shaft. She went after it and fell in and died. On December 28th, I was driving into work, I pulled up and went down the car lift to the second floor basement to park my car. I drove in and parked, I started walking to the car lift when I heard a little girl laughing. I stopped and looked around, but ignored it. I continued walking to the elevator and got in and when I was half way up, an orange ball rolled in and bounced into the second floor parking. I freaked out because that whole month there were different things happening with the building: from people jumping out the seventh floor and killing themselves to us security finding dead bodies in the rooms. When I got to the security desk I told my supervisor about it. He laughed and I asked him to check the footage out. We rewound the footage and the orange ball came out of the stairs where there’s a heavy metal door you have to push to get out of the second floor garage. Then it started rolling slowly and stopped in front of the car lift waiting for me to come up. People were walking straight into the ball and no one would notice it. When I came up, it looked like the ball was rolled back and pushed into the car lift. When my supervisor saw the footage, he flipped out and clocked out right away. Residents in the building have pictures and stories too. I’ve witnessed more things during my time there. Every resident I have gotten close to has passed away there and I can still feel their presence there. If you want a tour, I can give you one and you may witness some out of the ordinary things in the building.”

Already knowing the illustrious ghostly history of the Alexandria Hotel, I was immediately intrigued by this story and acknowledged that the forthcoming story could very well be true. The security guard admittedly believes in ghosts so I had to scrutinize every detail of the story for some semblance of bias, yet could find none.
The fact that the guard’s claims were supported with video evidence is compelling enough for me to believe his tale although I have not seen the footage personally. I look forward to the opportunity to take him up on his offer and explore the haunted mansion for myself.

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