USC Digital Folklore Archives / November, 2013
general
Legends
Narrative

Irving Thalberg

“My name is Carol Dalah and this is the first ghost story that I am going to be sharing with you. Umm this story takes place in the mid 1970s when I was young around 12 years old and my family decided to purchase a home in Pacific Palisades, California. This house happened to be on Sunset Boulevard and the address is 13746 Sunset Boulevard, and today it is a historical monument. It happens to be umm or it happened to be the first historical home that was built in the Palisades even before Will Rogers estate was built. Umm the house was actually built by Irving Thalberg, who in the 1920s was Hollywood’s golden boy. He was a Brooklyn boy and he was also a very infamous womanizer. Umm during the ’20s umm early ’20s to mid ’20s, he was here in Hollywood making films and umm he was having an affair with a woman named Constance Talmadge, who was an actress. During this relationship, he happened to umm breakup with her and during this time of this period or breakup period he went ahead and married another actress named Norma Shearer. During their relationship, Irving Thalberg decided to build this love nest which happened to be our home umm for Constacne Talmadge. In 1928, this house on Sunset Boulevard was built and it was a love nest. The house consisted of 35 rooms and the estate in itself was actually about 5 blocks longs. Within the years, the property and the parcels were sold off. When we moved into the house, it was very strange to find rooms within rooms and secret compartments and a production room also on the side of the home. Irving Thalberg had his secret life hidden from Hollywood’s eyes. Within these barred walls and gates and with his lover Constance Talmadge, they had a child out of wedlock. Now, this little girl happened to pass away at the age of 5 in this home.
The day that we moved in to the home, I remember very clearly and vividly. We were handed the keys, well my father, was handed the keys from the realtor. And we walked through the house and my sister was walking up -into- from the master bedroom to this huge huge closet in vanity area. While she was walking, she sees this man in the distance. And, she called out to him thinking that this was my father. So she said “Dad! Dad!” and as he turned around, she realized that it wasn’t my father and he was as clear as you and me today. And he smiled at her and winked. And the man was dressed in such a beautiful silk suit with slicked back hair and I guess that was the first greeting that we were umm given by Irving Thalberg. At the time, we did not know who he was. It was discovered later on, when the house had a history of all the sightings and infamy that came with the house. Umm later on in that day, I was in my bedroom and I invited my friend over to stay. And this was much later in the evening. Again, the same day that my sister had seen the first sighting of Irving Thalberg. I went into the main stairway. The house had three stories and I had left my friend standing in the main stairway, because she needed some towels and some blankets and the next thing I know she was screaming hysterically and she completely turned pale. And I asked her what had happened and she had actually seen and witnessed a playback of how this love child had passed away, the love child again of Irving Thalberg and Constance Talmadge. She had told me that they were dressed for the evening and they started down the hallway. And they started to make their way down the grand staircase. In the middle of the staircase, there was a landing and this little girl had tripped from that landing to the bottom of the staircase and she tumbled and tumbled and hit her head. At that time. I guess, in her vision, umm it was marble. She hit her head and cracked her head open and she saw the whole scene right in front of her. Today, my friend is still not the same since that happening. Umm since then, I am sure there are many many stories that came with that. That was just the first day that we were in the house. It seemed also that the activity was much stronger coming in the summer months than the winter months for some reason. That is my first story and just a little bit of intrigue for you. Thank you for listening.”

Analysis:

This story focuses on Hollywood, which is a very haunted aspect of America. It really drives home the idea that people want to keep their public image clean and safe even though certain immoral or indecent actions are happening behind closed doors. These actions can haunt the person as in the case of this story with the child and the child’s death. Furthermore, the child passes away on the marble staircase. A staircase is liminal, because it is neither upstairs nor downstairs, but in the middle. This hidden story of Irving Thalberg also differentiates between the official history and the unofficial, or ghost history. In the public’s eyes, none of these events were supposed to happen, because his image is important.In the same way, that America does not like to discuss the Native Americans that were killed, Thalberg did not like to discuss his love affair. Both of these motifs appear in ghost stories though.

Folk Beliefs

The Golden Child

Every April, it is common that Thai people go back to their homes for a big family gathering, as it is Thai New Year holiday. The informant detailed on her personal spiritual encounter back then.

“I went to stay with my uncle after a family gathering night at his place during Song Kran (Thai New Year). His house was in the countryside and quite isolated from the city itself. It was perfect sized for our family of 7.

Our whole family stayed together that night. I couldn’t sleep that well as I kept having nightmares. It was weird as I don’t usually dream at all. I thought it was one off. However, my whole family seemed to have the same problem as we discussed in the morning about our restless night. When I learned my family shared the same sort of dreams. That made me doubt if the whole thing was just a dream anymore.

When I was falling asleep, the doorknob was making so much noise as if someone was trying to get in.  I thought it was my maid (as I usually sleep with her). The door creaked open, but just a bit, not fully open. I was in such state that I couldn’t care less, so I just ignored it. As the night went on, I started hearing noises. It was so much like several kids were giggling and playing catch. I woke up to it for a few times but I didn’t see anything so thought it was just a dream. At some point I even felt someone was trying to pull my cover away. It was a bad night sleep for me.

In the morning, my mother and sister made a complaint that there were kids playing outside her room for the whole night so she couldn’t sleep.  That was when my uncle, the owner of the house, brought us to light – he told us he has this girl in his care, and she was not human.”

I have heard of this story many times, people, usually in the countryside of Thailand, would feed this type of child ghost in return of its protection, depending on how they use it. For example, there was this nurse I met at a hospital and she claimed that she owned one of these ‘golden children’. She also claimed the golden child helped her family protecting the shop (small supermarket her family owned) from bad spirits.

“It was no doubt we were kid by the golden child in his care. At first I was terrified by the thought of being haunted some spirit. But then my uncle pointed out how pitiful these kids must be. Usually, the golden children come from dead babies that didn’t make it through – they didn’t even get any childhood. That is why they wanted some attention. They wanted to play. They wanted some love that they never received.”            

Unlike many other ghosts, the golden children often visit harmlessly; just like other human children- they want attention and care. The idea of having some inhumane visitor is scary for me. I, myself, never encountered anything like this before and would never wish to. But in this case, if I ever got a chance to experience something similar to the informant, the least I could do is to give these children some sympathy.

“Few days later I went to my uncle’s house again and put some children toys on the shrine (they usually have some sort of residential shrine). I hope it brought her some entertainment and she wouldn’t feel as lonely anymore.”

Legends
Narrative

St Augustine Florida

“We were on a ghost tour in St Augustine Florida, one of the most haunted cities in Florida. I was in 5th grade and my class was taking the tour together in October. After passing a few old houses and stone forts, we approached a especially creepy looking house. The tour guide told us that a long time ago a girl died from yellow fever and her ghost still haunts the house. As we drove past I looked in one of the top windows and there was a dark figure towards the back of the room. I turned around to show all my friends but by the time I looked back the figure was gone. No one else on the tour saw the figure. Personally I believe I saw a ghost in the house. Even though I was in fifth grade there was definitely something in the window.”

St Augustine Florida is one of the oldest cities in the US. It is notorious for hauntings all over the city including a hunted jail, cemetery, hospital, and countless houses. Ghost tours are very popular in the city and are known to have sightings such as this every now and then.

Personally I find it hard to tell how truthful this story actually is. Since the town is notorious for hauntings and this isn’t the first time a tour, or the house, has had an event such as this, it makes a convincing case that my informant actually did see a ghost or figure in the window. However, my informant was also ten years old, fairly scared, and perhaps was expecting to see a ghost. In this situation its easy to see how a shadow or change in lighting could appear to be a figure and explain why it was gone when he looked back. It is hard to put a definite decision on what my informant saw.

Childhood
Festival
general
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Girl in the Attic

Context: It was Halloween night at USC’s New Residence Hall, the perfect time and place to tell a ghost story. When I first asked my friend [the Informant], if he would be willing to share one of his numerous family ghost stories he was hesitant. After much coaxing, the Informant finally decided to open up and share with me a part of his haunted heritage. I quickly grabbed my camera and sat him down in a chair, as a small group of friends gathered around to listen in on the story. This was Halloween, and of course who could resist hearing a good ghost story? What follows is the story as it was presented to me:

Interview Verbatim:

Informant: “Okay, so this is not my ghost story, this is my family’s ghost story… uh I heard it from my dad, who heard it from his mother… uh, it has been passed down for a couple of generations. So, I guess that makes this my story as well. But my dad’s great Uncle John, okay so he bought this house on the kind of like wrong side of town, well back in that time it was still the good side of town, but you know how cities develop, now it’s in the bad part of town… uh this is Kansas City Missouri by the way. So he bought this house on the wrong side of town but, the nice side of town then…I’m sorry if I’m being confusing.”

Me: “It’s alright, continue. I get you.”

Informant: ”So it’s an old house… and uh, he moves in with his family and all of a sudden he starts complaining about like weird experiences there, but no one believes him because he kind of had a reputation for being crazy… uh, in fact… uh when his mother was dying in the hospital, because of some argument he had had, he refused to see her and she died before he could get there… uh to visit her and I don’t think he had any intention of visiting her… uh so she died and… uh a couple of weeks after she died, Uncle John started claiming that he had been visited by her spirit, and that she was tormenting him for uh… never saying goodbye uh… but he was crazy. The family actually had him committed and no one really thought much of it or of the house that he had purchased. And had complaints about occurrences inside of it…uh a family tradition of mine is that usually the house uh my family has this tradition of moving into other relatives homes once they are gone. So… uh, Uncle John’s son who was also named John, John II. My family also has a habit of passing on names along with houses, but now I’m going off topic, but uh…So John II moves into his dad’s home, after his dad’s been committed, and one day, this is a couple of weeks after they have moved in, uh he’s throwing a birthday party for his little girl…and…all the kids are up in the attic playing, and they all come down for cake and ice cream. And there’s this one kid in the group who’s really freaked out, and no one knows why, and so John (II) asks the kid, ‘Hey what’s up’ and the kids like, ‘Where’s that other kid?’ like there is someone missing from the party. And John II says, ‘No there isn’t’. So they do a head count of all the kids and they aren’t missing anyone, but this kid swears to God that there is another kid who is missing. And they ask this kid, ‘What did this other kid look like?’ and he explains that it was a little girl with ghostly pale skin…and since that…uh, John (II) and his family kept seeing this little girl in their house from time to time amongst other weird ghostly visitations. It was never malevolent in any way. It never did anything bad, it was just kind of there…so…”

Me: “I understand. Okay. Now when did this happen? Were you alive at this point in time?”

Informant: “No, this was far before I was born.”

Me: “So this pre-dates you?”

Informant: “Yeah, this pre-dates my dad. Because my home, the house that I live in which is also a relative’s home…that was built in the 1950s, and that was my dad’s other great uncle’s house…so I assume this happen around the 40s.”

Me: “Alright. Have you ever been to the house personally?”

Informant: “No, I’ve never. It passed out of family hands.”

Me: “Okay, I see. So it’s someone else’s problem now. Any ideas as to what you think it was?”

Informant: “My family is Irish Catholic, so… we were always kind of a superstitious bunch. And I would personally like to believe in the ghost story…uh…my family kind of treats it with this weird pride, so they can say, ‘We once owned a haunted house!’, so yeah…  

Analysis: This story, as it was presented to me, appears to have more validity then a typical FOAF (friend of a friend) story due mainly to the fact that this is a supposedly true story that continues to be passed down from generation to generation. The thing that really convinced me of this story’s potential credibility was, perhaps, not so much the story itself, but the way it was presented to me in context. While the Informant told us his story, he seemed distanced and quiet, very different from his typically energetic attitude. Whether he was simply setting the tone for his story or he was just expressing a deep amount of reverence towards his family’s home remains to be unknown. While I have heard this same type of story before, the playful child ghost appears to be a popular motif present throughout ghost belief, this should not be used to discredit the story in any way. In my opinion, the story is probably just a family tradition that continues to be told from person to person.

Childhood
general
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Ghost Road Less Traveled

Context: It was late one rainy Tuesday night in early November when I first approached my roommate of 3 months [the Informant] to tell me a ghost story. Like most questions proposed to my roommate, when I asked him if he knew any good stories or spirit encounters, I was met with an immediate enthusiasm for the task at hand. The Informant clearly had something he wished to present to me. Wasting very little time at all, my Informant swooped up one of the desk chairs, lowered the lights, and began sharing with me his personal ghost story. As I recorded his audio and movement, the only light in the room came from the soft glow of the LCD display on my video camera and the desk lamp which sat behind the Informant for dramatic effect. The sounds of rain  tapping against the roof and windows of the New Residence Hall could be faintly heard in the distance. What follows is the story as it was presented to me:

Interview Verbatim:

Me: “Start, whenever you are ready.”

Informant: “So, this is a personal story of mine. I was driving to a friend’s house at night, really late. I had all my windows down and uh… and uh… this was like at the point, I think this was like last year because this was the point in my life, where my eyes, my vision was getting worse and so uh… I was not driving with glasses, but uh… I was very close to my grandparent’s house, and I’ve had weird experiences in their house, as well, cause their house is like legitimately haunted. Like they even say it was, they’ve known it from like little kids, like they’d see weird shit in their windows, like people’s faces (looking out) when they were like outside, and apparently they’d bought it like near or like on top of an old Indian burial ground or land, and so that was not ah… not ah… a thrilling point for me. So I’m like literally, I’m like not even a minute like to their house is here ( he holds up a hand to represent the house)  and I’m on the road to go to it, here (holds up another hand to represent his car). So I just see like a, like this fucking thing just like run across the street, while I’m like driving, in my headlights and I’m like ‘Oh fuck!’ and I brake cause I thought, I’m almost certain at this point that it’s a deer, and I hear like a scream and I’m just like, ‘What the fuck is happening?!’ cause I hear like something hit the car, and I hear this like… literally, I thought it was like a baby dear or it sounded to me like a little child had screamed cause it was like, (gets out of chair to make ghost noise) ‘Mmmmeeeeaaaaa!!!’, so I was just like, ‘What the hell was that?!’ (begins to laugh) Hahaha! I freak out because I’m like ‘Did I just kill a deer?’, and I just like get out of the car and there is like literally nothing there. There’s no dent in my car, no trail of any sort, there’s no deer running around, and I’m just like… and I’m just like…’What is happening!’ (holds hands on his head)

Me: “What do you think it was? What you saw, I mean.”

Informant: “I think it was like the ghost of a little Indian child, now that I think about it, because when I think about like the imagery, I didn’t see like a deer. I kind of saw like this blur, like run and it had like a scream which scared the crap out of me, and then I heard a thud, so I thought I hit something and so it freaked me out.”

Me: “Do you think that it had anything to do with you being on top of the Indian burial site or near to the site?”

Informant: “Oh absolutely, without a doubt. I’ve had so many weird experiences on that road.”

Me: “Where is this road?”

Informant: “A place called Fair Oaks, in Texas. And Fair Oaks has been there for like a long time too, so there’s a lot of old land out there. So I wouldn’t be surprised about all the shit that goes on out there.”

Analysis: After hearing this story and reviewing it, I’m not really sure what to make of it. All the pieces are in place in order to create a very frightening experience, but the “skeptic” within me points to this being a simple misidentification. The fact that the Informant prefaced the story by addressing his loss of eyesight seems to indicate that this may just have been a large bird or unknown creature making its way across the road which was not seen clearly. What is, however, very interesting is the sound that supposedly accompanied the apparition, as it crossed the road and the thud he experienced from within the car. This may have possibly been a direct result of him applying the brakes very quickly and having his car jolt to a sudden stop, but it does add some credibility to the encounter. The fact that this encounter directly correlates to the former site of an Indian burial ground also seems to give this experience some validity. The Informant appeared to be shaken from this event and believes this to be evidence of the paranormal.

Folk Beliefs
Myths
Narrative

The Friendly Wolf

This ghost story comes to me from my mother.  Interestingly, when asking her to tell the story, she kept insisting that it was not a ghost story.  Instead, she referred to it as a “strange occurrence.”  It was only until I referred to the events as a “strange occurrence” that she would tell me the story.  Her story goes as follows:

So, when I was little I was a Girl Scout.  And so we had… Our Girl Scout leader was Bryan.  He was a friend of my parents, and they had known him quite a while.  And so he brought us on this camping trip.  And by us, I mean my whole Girl Scout troop.  So, we took a car and drove out to this campground.  That night, he thought it would be fun to tell stories and so he started with a story that he said had happened to him.

So he was also a Boy Scout leader.  And he took a bunch of Boy Scouts camping.  And they went to the wood.  So, they set up camp and did their normal Boy Scout thing.  So, then one of the kids decided that he wanted to go fishing, so they got up all the fishing equipment and went to the lake.  While they were fishing, one of the boys looked up and suddenly they had this wolf walk up to all of them.  And they were scared to death of him.  But the wolf didn’t seem to be afraid of them.

So, Bryan he ended up becoming friends with this wolf for the few days that they were camping.  And the wolf would follow him around wherever he went.  What was strange was the feeling that he got with this wolf.  It was almost as if he knew the wolf, like he was a family member or something.  They kinda seemed to understand each other on… like… a different level.  Like, it was as if the spirit of someone close to him was in the wolf.  So, anyway, then he had to say goodbye to this wolf when they were leaving the campgrounds.  And he said goodbye to the wolf, and the wolf howled at him. And he thought, “Ok, whenever I hear a wolf howl, I will think of you. “

So, he went back home.  And he figured the wolf was old, and so it probably died pretty soon after that encounter.  So, he told us that whenever he goes camping, he always keeps his ear out for something, or to hear something howl.  Or like, a star to shoot across the sky.  Because whenever he hears a howl or something to shoot by, like a shooting star, he knows that the wolf’s spirit is nearby.

And just in that moment, when he finished telling all of us Girl Scouts the story, we looked up to the sky, and heard a howl and saw a shooting star go by. And he goes, “See there he is again.  The wolf.  He shows up when you least expect it.”

Analysis:

My mother, while telling this story, made it seem as spooky as possible by taking pauses and speaking in a hushed tone.  Additionally, because it was nighttime, and she was telling me this story in a parked car, the atmosphere was quite creepy.  I wasn’t able to tell if she really believed the story, or if she believed in the spirit of a wolf haunting her Scout Master, but the way she told the story seemed to imply that it could have all been true.

This story is a favorite of my mothers, and she has told this story to me on many occasions.  One time while camping, she had my father clued in to the story, so at the very end of it, he (hidden in the bushes) howled like a wolf.  This was in order to fake the idea that the story was true, and convince me and my brother of its validity.  My mother claims “I guess I told the story partly to scare you, but mostly just to entertain you.”  While I do agree with this, I feel this story, on a deeper level, is there to teach about humanity’s connection to nature.  It implies that mankind has a duty to respect animals, and even shares some Native American influence in the way it suggests that a deceased soul can go into the body of an animal.  It is also there to, similar to the purpose of a myth, explain some phenomenon in nature (e.g. shooting stars and wolf howls) using a spiritual explanation rather than a scientific one.  It could also be argued that this story is there to suggest that if a person is nice to nature, nature will be nice back.  Whatever the purpose, it is a thought-provoking story, and will most likely continue to be told to me again and again, year in and year out.

Folk Beliefs

Roommates

Ghost Story – Bangkok, Thailand

            “So this story happened at the University of Chiang Mai. There were these two girls who were roommates, and they were best friends too actually. They lived on the, like, seventh floor, I think. Anyway, one evening, one of the girls, let’s just call her B asked her friend if she wanted to go grab dinner. Her friend felt like she had a fever and also had to stay up late to study. B was pretty worried about her friend so B told her friend that it was okay, she can go eat by herself. Her friend then asked B to bring some food back to her, some Pad Thai if possible. B agreed and said she would hurry back with the food. As the night grew, it started to rain heavily. B’s friend was too tired to study and couldn’t concentrate, or something like that, and so she went to sleep. But, then, of course she was worried about B because it was getting late, the rain was getting super intense, and the roads do get slippery and dangerous, especially outside the campus area. So apparently B fell asleep. But then she woke up in the middle of the night and heard some noises and they were getting closer. At first she thought B had come back but then she then heard a knock on the door, and realized it couldn’t be B because B has the keys. She slowly opened the door but then found no one. The only thing she saw was a paper bag with Pad Thai in it. She wondered where B was, why B didn’t come in, why B disappeared so fast, and why there was a trail of water along the hallway. She didn’t think too much of it and ate the food and took her medicine.

            In the morning, she found out that B had been raped and killed last night. B’s body was a complete mess. The murderer must have hit B with an iron rod or something because her arms and legs were broken. The rumor was that B was so worried about her friend that she used her chin to drag her body up the stairs and all the way to her friend’s door to give her the food. So yeah, I thought this was a disturbing story but then I thought it was kind of sweet how much B loved her friend.”

My friend, Tiptara, who like me, is from Bangkok heard this story from a friend at her high school back in Thailand. This story is not the most popular story, but the context of haunted dorms is the same as many cultures. Thai colleges are said to be especially haunted because many students come from the most rural areas into the big cities and provinces to receive a higher education. The stress and pressure to fit in and adjust to the city life, which is significantly different from life in the suburban areas, cause a lot of suicides, crimes, and rapes, which is why stories about ghosts in dorms are told throughout Thai culture. My friend believes that there this story might have been merely a rumor but it is based on a true story. Rapes are common occurrences in universities, and the University of Chiang Mai is located in the northern province of Thailand, where many parts of the area surrounding the university are abandoned businesses and buildings that the local people there do not go to. This creates a dangerous atmosphere for the students.

I personally believe in ghosts, therefore, I think this story could have truly happened. However, I believe that the most crucial point of this story is to express the meaning of friendship and the fact that nothing, even death, can come between connections between two real friends. Friends that can be trusted, relied on, and have people’s best interests are difficult to find, especially in universities, where there are high competition rates.

general
Legends
Narrative

Mariposa Elementary School Haunting

Cubby Sporrong’s Story: as told on a Tuesday afternoon, sitting on a ledge outside Montgomery Ross Fisher building around noon.

Background: Cubby is from Redlands, California. She is a freshman at USC, white, 18-19 year-old female. I met her through my sorority Delta Gamma, and we also have the same Linguistics class.

Cubby: Ok, so there’s supposedly a ghost, um, that haunts Mariposa Elementary School in Redlands, California. And the ghost’s name is supposed to be Billy, and he’s supposedly a thirteen-year-old boy who was hit by a bus riding his bike. Um, and I believe that was like 20 years ago, um, I’m not entirely sure. And anyway, um, people from all around the country come looking for Billy the ghost of Mariposa Elementary School. When I was in fifth grade, they, like, shattered all the security videos and stuff trying to find him because they think that Billy won’t be there if he knows he’s being watched by security cameras. Apparently that’s a myth. And, um, basically he’s supposedly been seen, like, haunting the hallways of Mariposa Elementary School and like playing tether ball but… So that’s, that’s that.

Reaction: Cubby was very skeptical of this story, despite the fact that she attended Mariposa Elementary School. She often used words like “supposedly”, as if she were trying to convince herself of its truth while she was telling me the story. I’m not entirely sure where she learned it, but it seems likely that she would have heard it from other kids in her school, maybe even teachers. I find it hard to believe in the story since Cubby is so suspicious of it, but the story itself seems somewhat plausible. Nonetheless, it also took place a while ago, so it may be inaccurate or simply legend now.

general
Legends
Narrative

Norwegian Mall Ghost

Christine Nielsen’s Story: as told on a Wednesday night, sitting across from each other at a table in the DG dining room around 7pm.

Background: Christine is from Oslo, Norway, and is currently a sophomore at USC. She is a Communications major, white, 19-20 years old. I met her through my sorority Delta Gamma.

Christine: I used to work at this place that’s like super, super old, built in the 16th century, and I was working a night and it was really, really, um, there was like no one there, at all. It was only like five minutes until closing, and I hear this like laughter, like some child laughing or something. And I was like, ‘oh that’s weird, there’s no one here’. I like asked a guard like, ‘oh, did you hear the laughter?’ And she was like, ‘yeah I always hear it, but like don’t know where it’s coming from’. And then, um, I was like, you know went home and came back the next day, and like the same thing happened. And I was talking to [?] and was like, ‘oh, did you hear the laughter again?’ ‘yeah, we hear it often, and there’s some laughter going on. Like it’s an old place, you know’. So we always like thought that it was a ghost. And I asked, like, one of my bosses and she, uh, is good friends with the owner of the place, and, which actually lives in an old castle, up in the hill (laughs). And then, uh, he apparently, like, told her there was like, a hundred years ago, there was a guy and like a little boy that got, like, murdered. So, he was like found in the river, and, and, he like goes like around, haunts the place. He’s like going around the mall, making fun like laughing, knocking over shelves. So like, I remember one time, I was like in the store, and he like suddenly like a shelf literally like fell down. And it was like me and one other customer in the store, and it just like fell down. And I was like, ‘okay, that’s weird’, and by that time I’d already heard the story so I was like, ‘hey, it’s the ghost, haha’. It’s really creepy and there’s like several other ghosts going there. So that’s one.

Reaction: Christine was very adamant about her belief in the ghost haunting this mall, since she had experienced it herself. She definitely was influenced by the people working in the mall with her, as she learned the story from them, and Christine had even interacted with the ghost while with a customer. I’m not sure how to react to this ghost. Although it took place in Norway, a mall is still a mall no matter where it is. I’ve never experienced something like this, so I’m not sure what to make of it.

general
Humor
Legends
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Haunted Plantation

“Oh, wait I have a good ghost story. OK so my great grandmother Francis lived in this giant plantation house back in the South, and she had five husbands. (Sigh.) Her first husband died two years after she married him of some strange like infection no one really has any details about. The second one was way older than she was, about twenty years, and he died by falling down the stairs. The third husband was twenty years younger than she was, and he got paled on a rake. And then the fourth husband umm just randomly disappeared, no one has found him since. And the fifth husband umm started complaining about like strange (drawn out i.e.  sttrraaannggee) sounds going on in the giant plantation house like you’d heard voices and screaming at night and Grandma was just like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Everything’s fine.” And the kids are just like, “Ya mom’s just a little bit crazy.. th- that’s just how she is.” And umm he could swear that he could see like a guy with a rake in his back walking around and he could also see like like a guy with a guy with broken necks.. and he finally went down to the basement and he just had a heart attack and died.”

I was very intrigued by this story because many times you see the woman as the “departed lover” and in this case all the men kept dying. Also, it was very interesting to me that the student brought up the age difference between his great grandmother and her multitude of lovers. So I asked him to elaborate.

Me: Do you think the age difference between your great grandmother and these men lead to the failing of the marriages aka their deaths, and thus the hauntings?

Student: Well, now that I think about it, yes. My great grandmother told me that she thought the wider the gap between them the more her next husband would complain about the sounds and voices. That’s why after she married the husband who was twenty years older, she married someone who was twenty years younger to counteract the curse. It didn’t help of course. I think the land itself might have been haunted. I, myself, get the chills just traveling there. I mean, I was just a kid so I don’t remember everything, but I heard so many wailing sounds almost like a banshee and like chains rattling everywhere. I never saw the men who died, but I’m pretty sure what I was hearing wasn’t just them. It’s a spooky place and I just – I just don’t ever like going there.

Me: So you’ve experienced this haunting first hand?

Student: Kind of. I would go when I was a little boy, around Halloween time, and I would get told a new story every time about the recently departed husband. I don’t know why they were spooking a little kid, but whatever works grandma. Sorry umm my grandma was really into her stories. Strong, really big, robust, Irish woman.

I then questioned further about the types of slaves. I was very interested because it was a plantation and I thought maybe the tortured souls of slaves would add to it as well.

Me: Irish? Oh had she worked the land? Or had it been run by slaves?

Student: Indentured servants actually. My grandma, great grandma, umm sorry I call her ‘grandma’ and my actual grandma ‘grams’, uhh anyways she never really worked the land. The family didn’t tell anyone they were Irish. MY grandma could pull it off though. Quite the actor like me haha. She is blonde with blue eyes and doesn’t look Irish at all. Her whole family was lucky in the gene pool because they didn’t look a wee bit Irish, and they got indentured Irish servants to work the land.

Me: I think you’re right about the tortured souls being something other than the men. I think it was the indentured servants. Irish ones to be exact. Especially because it’s all around Halloween. AHHH! (Getting excited because all of the connections). Did your grandma ever see slave ghosts?

Student: Not that she wanted to admit. She is very ashamed that her family hid their heritage and forced others to work just so they could look normal. But her husbands complained about it all the time. The one that stuck out the most—fuck I’m so sorry for not including this in the beginning, but the screaming slash wailing noise was from a woman. So either my great grandmother is crazy or she’s fucking women too.

Me: Well you said the family was Irish so maybe it was the bean sí.

Student: Shit. My family is fucked up and haunted, and you’ve just confirmed that I am absolutely never going back there again. Ugh, I guess it’s the freaking luck of the Irish.

I then ended my story with the student because he seemed visibly upset and was now over-thinking his entire upbringing. I hope I didn’t scar him too much. I just learned that you just have to ask the right questions to get the right information.

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