USC Digital Folklore Archives / April, 2018
Folk Beliefs
general
Narrative

A Time-Traveling Experience: Hotel From the Past

In October 1979, two couples in Dover, England, set off on a vacation together through France and Spain. The journey turned out to be one that took them to another world. When they tried to find a hotel to stay, they were struck by some posters advertising a circus. “It was a very old-fashioned circus,” Pauline recalled. “That’s why we took so much interest.” 

Further on, they did find an old-fashioned building marked “hotel.” Inside, they discovered, almost everything was made of heavy wood, and there seemed to be no evidence of modern conveniences as telephones or elevators. Their rooms were also extremely simple. There were no locks but simple wooden catches, no pillows, and the bathrooms had old-fashioned plumbing.

The next morning, when they were eating breakfast, two gendarmes entered wearing very old-fashioned caped uniforms. There was also a woman wearing a silk evening gown sitting opposite from them. “It was strange,” Pauline said. “It looked like she had just come in from a ball, but it was seven in the morning. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.” After receiving what turned out to be very bad directions to Avignon from the gendarmes (they didn’t seem to understand the word “auto-route”), the couples were astonished to pay a bill that came to only 19 francs. They left before the staffs could change their minds. 

After two weeks in Spain, the couples made a return trip through France and decided to again stay at the odd but very cheap hotel. This time, however, the hotel could not be found, even after the couples drove up and down the road three times looking for it, certain they were in the exact same spot (they saw the same circus posters). After returning to Dover, the pictures they took of the hotel did not process, as if the pictures had never been taken. Little research revealed that French gendarmes wore uniforms of that description prior to 1905.

My friend M S shared this story with me. It first appeared in “World of Strange Phenomena” by Charles Berlitz, published 1988 by Wynwood Press. The story also appeared on numerous blogs, uncredited. This story was also reported on the British TV Series “Strange But True” in 1995, Season 2, Episode 2 at 3:39.

When I asked her if she had any “ghost stories” to share with me, she said she remember she read this story somewhere a while ago. She also pulled up the thread she saw it at to help her better tell me the story. She really liked this story because it was “spooky, creepy, and mysterious”. When I asked her if she thought the story was real, she said no. Regardless, she really liked how there are so many detailed descriptions to make the story believable. I asked her why does she classify this as a “ghost story”, if there were no mentions of particular “spirits” of any deceased person. She said that the fact that the couples encountered the buildings and the people in them, but then turned out to have never existed, must be related to some form of “spirits” or ghosts from the past.

Personally, I also really enjoyed the story. I believe the reason for that is there are so many detailed descriptions, such as the names and exact locations provided. Also, the fact that there are no other evidences but merely the verbal accounts of these couples make the story more appealing; it adds a mysterious shade as there are no ways to prove its validity, while the details make it sound so realistic. I believe this is not necessarily a “ghost story”, but definitely a paranormal or supernatural story. The “time-traveling” aspect of the story also adds a science-fiction tone to the story. If the couples did travel “back in time”, then the people they saw and talked to could be considered as spirits of people of the past. However, another argument could be made that the couples simply entered another dimension, so their state should be questioned, rather than those of the dimension they entered. As it can be seen, the perception of the story can differ from person to person, depending on how they approach it.

Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Ghost of the Mauna Kea Hotel

THE STORY

The Mauna Kea ghost was in the area long before I ever went there. I first came to the hotel for my honeymoon in August of 1965, shortly after the hotel opened. That’s when I learned of the ghost. The Mauna Kea ghost was a beautiful woman. She was a native Hawaiian who fell in love with a white rancher who came to the island later in his life. They were so in love that they were destined to be married! Their families did not allow this, though, because of their different races. Her broken heart caused her much sadness, and she decided to drown herself in the ocean. Her last steps on Earth were on the very beach that the hotel now stands on.

People now say that they see the ghost at the hotel! My foolish husband doesn’t believe in ghosts, but even he heard her one time when he was alone in the bar area. That’s where she likes to be the most. She appears to men who have had too much to drink at the bar. She also likes to get in the elevator with guests. I once heard of a man at the hotel who saw a woman when he entered the elevator. Then, in the middle of the ride, she walked straight through the closed doors! I’ve never seen her myself, but I have been to Mauna Kea enough times to know that she is there.

 

ANALYSIS

Context: The respondent first learned of this story in August of 1965 on her honeymoon at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii. The respondent has made several trips back to this location, and had learned of several additions to the story over the past few decades. One of these additions included a personal experience from her husband during their second trip to the resort. The story was collected over a lunch interview.

Respondent’s Beliefs: The respondent believed in the ghost of Mauna Kea, even though she had no personal experience with the ghost. She gave credence to all of the sightings of the ghost, and even interpreted an experience her husband had as a ghost sighting (despite the fact that her husband does not believe in ghosts himself).  The respondent was Roman Catholic, but did not reference religion when telling the story.

Motifs: This narrative is a classic example of a ghost of a suicidal lover. Many stories throughout history have featured lovers who are forbidden to be together by society, often leading to tragic deaths. Tragic deaths often lead to ghosts, and this story is no exception. The Mauna Kea ghost appears to haunt the hotel due to an unfulfilled life, which is consistent with many ghost narratives such as the Hispanic La Llorona legend. The ghost also haunts male guests the most, especially drunk men. Many ghost stories involve the consumption of alcohol, and from a skeptical perspective, intoxication can lead to increased hallucinations or misperceptions, increasing the chance of a person seeing a “ghost” that isn’t really there. This story differs from other common stories, though, in regards to the name of the ghost. Most ghosts that are based on real or legendary events have a name, or at least a nickname of some importance (such as “La Llorona”). This is not the case with this narrative, as the ghost is called by the name of the hotel with “ghost” appended to the end. The narrative tells a rather personal story of the ghost that is rather emotional, yet she does not have a name nor any other identity marker.

general
Narrative

The Little Girl in the Greenhouse

Have you had any odd experiences with spirits or ghosts?  Or maybe just events that can’t be explained in rational terms?

“I lived in a new house, there were 24 homes in the development where there used to be greenhouses.  I had been living in the house for 3 months, and my husband would travel for 7-10 days each month and I would be alone with my dog.  And I would get lonely at night and I would talk to the dog and he would sleep on the landing of our stairs.  So one night when I was going to bed… I could smell sweet flowers.  And this kind of happened for several months, about once a week, and it was always when I was alone and it was late at night and I was feeling alone.  So I was talking to somebody at one of the neighbors and she told me that a little girl had died in one of the greenhouses on the property.  So… because I was trying to figure out why it smelled sweet I would close the windows to try and figure it out.  So after I found out about the little girl, I sat on the step and I addressed the little girl and I told her that I was happy she was there and she could be there any time she wanted and I liked the smell of the flowers.  And there would be times that I was feeling lonely after that, I would sit on the stairs and pet the dog and talk to her… and I could smell the flowers.  So instead of me just smelling the flowers, I would talk to her and then start to smell the flowers… and it happened all 10 years I was living there.  So basically Alexa what started as her introducing herself to me turned into me being able to communicate and interact with her on my terms, not just her being there.  But sometimes I would come home and the house would just smell of sweet flowers.  I know it was to make me smile… I just know it.  Cash our dog would feel her presence as well, he would look up and around and could tell that she was around.  He would begin whimpering and look, so I would ask him “Do you see her?” and he would cock his head to the side and look over in a general area.

 

What about when dad would come home?

“When your dad would come home, it didn’t happen when he was around… it was only when I was lonely cause I hated being by myself.  Being alone at home is something that I have always found scary, so knowing that there was someone else there with me was a huge relief and calmed my nerves. Since she knew that she would show her presence through the smell of flowers.  I’ve told your dad what happened and he knows the story, he just never experienced it.

 

Context behind story:

The person who had the experience with the little girl in the greenhouse was my mom.  It took place at her and my dad’s first house in Atherton, CA in an area that contained 24 homes either already built or in development.  My mom was confused as to why the home would smell strongly of flowers even when all the doors and windows had been shut for the day, so she spoke with one of the neighbors and was told about a little girl who died in the greenhouse behind our home.  There were multiple greenhouses around the property, however the one right behind our house was the only one which had a death occur within it.  As stated in the text, no one actually knows or has been told how the little girl died in the greenhouse, the only thing they know for a fact is that she did in it.  My mom has always had a strong belief in the existence of ghosts and spirits, having many other odd encounters besides the little girl.  My dad used to travel a lot for work, leaving for a week or more at a time.  My mom has always hated being alone at home, so she began to encounter the little girl whenever my dad was away.  A strong scent of flowers would waft into the home at night, and that was the little girls signal to my mom that she was with her.  Our old dog, Cash, would also share this experience with my mom as he would start whimpering and look around the house, trying to find the little girl.  After some time, my mom began to have social interactions with the girl.  It was like the little girl knew that my mom didn’t like being alone, so she would show her presence to put my mom at ease and make her feel like she wasn’t the only one at home.  After some time and gaining comfort around the ghost, my mom would sit on the steps of the home with Cash and begin speaking to the little girl.  She never heard a voice back, but the smell the flowers would signal the ghost was present and listening to the conversation.  This happened each time my dad left for the 10 years they lived in the home, but never when he was around.  Although it definitely happened more than once a month, the total number of minimum encounters my mom had with the little girl would be 120.

 

How do you interpret what happened in the story?

“I totally believe in spirits; I believe there is energy all around.  I definitely believe in what happened, I interacted with the ghost for 10 years.  I have always had a belief in ghosts, so I was never scared of the situation and accepted it for what it was.  I can feel things when I walk into houses and places, so the interaction with the little girl felt almost normal to me.  Supposedly a very sweet little girl died in the greenhouse, but how she died was never told to me.  When I would ask other people about her death, they too did not know how she passed.  The sweet girl helped me through many nights of being alone and worried, so I guess you can say my ghost encounter turned into a blossoming friendship!  Hehe you see what I did there… blossoming… flowers… get it!?”

 

My interpretation of the story:

My interpretation of the story is that what my mom experienced was real and involved a friendly ghost.  The fact that a little girl was known to have died in the greenhouse behind their home and that my mom would smell fresh flowers whenever she was alone or scared is very coincidental.  A way to refute this being a ghost would be saying that doors or windows may have been open or because they were so close to the greenhouse, but this would only happen when everything in the house had been shut for some time.  Also, the fact that our old dog, Cash, would begin barking or whimpering whenever the house would begin to smell attests to the little girl’s presence.  Another part as to why I believe this story is real is the possibility of having conversations when coming in contact with spirits.  There were times my mom would sit on the stairs and began speaking to the little girl with the sole purpose of connecting with her, and then begin to smell fresh flowers after speaking for a few minutes.  Also, the fact the Native Americans believe ghosts to be so intertwined with society and my mom being connected to her ethnic roots contribute to why she would be so sure this is a ghost, and also why I am also a believer.  We both believe that all things have souls and are always present in society one way or another.  Many ghosts are known to be people whose life purpose hadn’t been fulfilled, so there being a ghost of a little girl is very plausible.  She didn’t have the chance to grow up, get married, have kids, or other life experiences.  Her life was unfortunately cut short, potentially causing her to be unable to cross over.  Since there is a good amount of compelling evidence from this experience, I definitely believe this to be a true ghost encounter.

 

general

Scream in the hospital

Jeff, my friend from Singapore, shared one of his personal experience with me, which took place in an abandoned hospital near his house. The hospital had been abandoned for 3 years, but it still hadn’t been removed. The facilities in the hospital hadn’t been totally moved out, which made it look no different from other hospitals. However, the building was out of electricity, so it seemed quite creepy at night. There were many rumors about why this hospital wasn’t removed, and the most popular one was that there were ghosts of patients who died in the hospital haunting there. Thus, the hospital became one of the most famous local “haunted house,” and many people went there for ghost hunting. Jeff’s story is actually about one of his ghost hunting experience.

Here goes Jeff’s story: My friend and I decided to go on an adventure to the hospital at night. We wanted to check if there really exised ghosts. But actually I didn’t want to do that because I wasn’t brave enough. I was actually afraid of ghost, but my friend just said “you are a coward if you don’t come with me”, so I was forced to go with him. After we entered the building, we checked the first floor and the second floor, but we saw nothing strange except medical facilities left all over the place. I actually heard something from the basement, a slight voice sounded like people chatting. I was really nervous. I wanted to go back. But my friend insisted to check the basement; he seemed to have heard nothing. After we entered the basement, I saw several spirit tablets on the table, then I immediately realized that it was the morgue. I didn’t feel very well while still hearing the little noise. I wanted to go back. However, my friend wanted to check if there were corps left there, but we found nothing. My friend saw the spirit tablet too, and he took one out to played with it. I said, “NO! you shouldn’t do that, it’s not respectful to the dead!” But he just said, “Oh you are afraid of this? Shame on you!” I was pissed off, went outside the hospital and returned to my friend’s car. I played with my phone for a while to divert the attention, and suddenly I heard some noises behind the car, I looked back and saw a man with a horrifying face! I was freaked out! But it only turned out to be my friend using the flashlight to light his face to scare me! He laughed at my reaction, “Oh you are such a pussy! I even heard you scream while you left the hospital! Too afraid to walk alone?” I was confused, “What? I didn’t scream!” Then my friend stopped laughing, and there was a weird silence between us. If it wasn’t me, who else could make that scream?

Jeff believed that the scream was made by a ghost in the hospital, who was disturbed by their “adventure.” He said that after this experience, he started to believe in the existence of ghost, and he had never tried ghost hunting ever again to disturb the dead. It seems that Jeff is really affected by this experience. In my opinion, this is not a true “ghost” story, because it doesn’t directly show the existence of ghost. However, the story has many elements, such as derelict hospitals and ghost hunting quest, which are similar to other supernatural events. Derelict hospitals are always related with ghosts because there were many people died in hospitals, and their spirits haunt the place where they died. According to local tradition, the spirit tablet is placed in hospitals to appease the dead. But in the story Jeff’s friend misplaced it and definitely disturbed the dead, which can explain why they encountered strange things. Also, during the “ghost hunting” quest, the participants are usually nervous and flustered, so they may sometimes mistreat some natural phenomena as supernatural events. In the story, the scream that Jeff’s friend heard might be only the sound of the wind, but they were so nervous that they mistook the sound of wind for the scream of ghost.

general
Narrative

Highway Couple

Peter is a friend of mine from Wuxi, China. He does not believe in ghost, but he really likes to collect ghost stories by checking the local ghost story forum. In fact, he knows nearly all the ghost stories in his hometown. Therefore, I asked him to tell me one of the most scary ghost stories that he knew. After hearing my request, Peter smiled and said, “I’ll tell you one that will definitely scare you.”

As peter said, there is a mountain in Wuxi named Mountain Lotus, which is said to be a place to execute the condemned criminals in earlier times. It is now definitely haunted by ghosts of those who died there. Strange things often happen there, like, many people go missing in that mountain. There is a highway around that mountain, and local residents NEVER drive on that highway at night. But there is once a foreign couple who don’t know the rules. They drive on that highway late at night to rush to another city. While the husband is driving, the wife is complaining about the husband’s failure in business. The husband wants the wife to shut up, but the wife just never stops. The husband is pissed off, so he kicks his wife out of his car, and drives away. After driving a while, he starts to worry about his wife. After all, it is not safe to leave her alone on the highway at night, so he drives back and gladly sees his wife waiting at the same place. He apologizes and the couple sets off again, while soon they witness a lady with long hair waving her hand towards them on one side of the road. The wife suddenly says, “That lady is so poor, we should give her a ride.” But the husband hesitates because it is really weird for a woman to be alone on the highway at this time. The husband then notices that the lady is waving her hands with the palm facing her face (Peter waves his hand in the same way here). The husband suddenly realizes something and says “No! We cannot give her a ride! Look at the way she waves her hand! I’ve heard that only ghosts wave hands like that!” (Peter adds here:”You know that in Wuxi we have tales that ghost’s palms are the opposite side of their hands”). Hearing what the husband says, the wife slowly turns her face towards him, and makes a horrifying smile, “You are right!” She then claps with the back of her hands (Peter claps his hands in the same way here, which freaks me out)

According to Peter, he knew the story by watching a ghost story video on a local ghost story forum. He said that he was freaked out too at the first time he saw the video, especially by the horrifying gesture. He then loved to share this story to others, because it could successfully frighten people(at least succeeded on me). I personally had two interpretations of the story’s ending. The first was that when the wife is outside of the car, she is possessed by a ghost; another explanation was that the husband actually never finds his wife at all, but instead finds a ghost taking the shape of his wife. However, I doubted the authenticity of this story. In my opinion, it could not be the real experience of anyone in the story because the ending was too ambiguous. If the story was real, at least we should be told what happens to the husband at last. I think it was just a horror story made up by people to remind couples to live harmoniously, or otherwise they would end miserably like the couple in the story.

general
Legends
Narrative

La Llorona

The following version of La Llorona was collected from a close friend. She is 20 years old and was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Her family was originally from Mexico and they still visit there constantly. The story of La Llorona is a quite common one in Mexico and around the South Western United States. Many versions have been circulated which differ, this version is the one she was always told as a child by her parents. From what I make of her story it is very similar to my own and many that I have heard told before. The major themes surrounding suicide, death and marriage are all found in her version. The interview took place in person and I will denote myself as “A” in the interview and my friend as “B”. The interview went as follows.

A: “Ok, please tell me about your own version of the story of La Llorona.”

B: “Ok, so this is the version I have come to know ever since I was a little girl. All my family tells it this way and everyone near my family’s home in Texas also tell it pretty similar to my own. It begins with a Mexican woman, she doesn’t really have a name but we call her Llorona because of the story. She was extremely poor and her family could not support her on her own so she had to go out and find a husband. She found a white man probably from the United States who was looking to marry a Mexican woman. They instantly got married and moved into a house in town and had a lot of children.”

A: “Do you know how many exactly?”

B: “No, not really it changes depending on who tells the story. Its definitely more than three though… at least in the stories I have been told. Anyways, so the man became very disinterested in her and cheated on her and would abuse her when they were in the house. She began to despise him with everything and for some reason she translated that anger over into her children. One day when her husband was away she decided to take her children to the river down by their house. While they were there she went “loca” (crazy) and in a fit of rage she drowned her children in the river. After realizing what she did she took her own life by drowning herself in the very same river. From now on it is said that La Llorona walks the river moaning out in sadness for her children. She hates seeing other children that are not her own so if a child finds themselves alone when they hear her she is said to drown them and kill them out of jealousy.”

A: “Wow great version! But what do you make of it yourself?”

B: “In all honesty I know its just a legend. It is not actually true that a crying woman kills children near rivers. It’s just a way Mexican parents scare their kids from doing bad things. I mean I know I had nightmares about her when I was younger.”

Folk Beliefs
general

Los Penitentes

To provide some context for the following story it was collected from my grandfather on my mother’s side. He is currently 76 and the story he is telling was from when he was a young adult around the age of 21 while he was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The story contains many allusions to Hispanic themes such as  s a “Penitente” which is a person who beats himself with a whip for his sins. The story was collected over a Skype call originally in Spanish which I have translated and recorded below. I will differentiate dialogue by using “A” for my grandfather and “B” for myself. Personally I am not sure what to make of the story. It definitely shows that the religious history of New Mexico really does play a role in our storytelling as you will soon read. I also do believe that whatever my grandfather saw that night was true because he was extremely genuine during the interview and was not too sure of what to make of it himself. The interview went as follows.

B: “So Grandpa what ghost story are you telling me today”

A: “I am going to tell you about the story of me and the Penitente.”

B: “Ok sounds interesting, go ahead and tell me the story.”

A: “It started back when I was teenager, a year or two after I graduated from High School. I had been working at a mechanic shop on Central Avenue and the owner was looking to promote me cause I had been working there for a few years. So in order to see if I was ready to handle the shop by myself he told me to go ahead and takeover as manager during the night shift the next day. Now to give a little bit of a history to what happened the next day, you have to understand that the road the shop lied on was said to be haunted. Many people claimed that a spirits of los Penitentes still roamed the streets. It was said that they used to walk the road up to the church whipping themselves everyday for hours this was back before the city became what it is today. Ok now back to my story….the next day I showed up around 5pm for the shift and the manager handed over his keys and told me good luck and specifically to make sure that I was the last person out of the shop. I told him, of course, and he went ahead and left. The whole shift ran smooth, not too much business because most people tend not to need mechanics at night, so in order to save on labor expenses I told the other two guys working with me to go ahead and go home. I was closing shop a little early because I was trying to rush out to go do something which I don’t remember what it was. So I’m left alone at the shop and it’s dark outside, I don’t really remember the exact time. Now I had parked down the road a little ways because my boss got angry whenever we took up customer parking so I had somewhat of a trek to make. As I was walking I noticed another man across on the other side of the road from me walking the same direction. I didn’t think much of it but I was being cautious and watching him like anyone walking alone at night would do. That is when things began to get  very strange. As I looked across the road I noticed the man was whipping himself with some type of white rope or belt. Each time he swung it he did not even flinch which was what I thought was strange because it seemed as if he did not even feel it. Before I knew it I had accidentally followed him up the road to the church at the end. I decided to follow him secretly to see where he went which led me into the graveyard. As I watched him the man walked over to a particular grave fell onto his knees in front of it and just disappeared from sight. I instantly jumped up, half expecting him to just be hiding behind a grave…but when I went to go look for him he was nowhere to be found. All that I did find however was the white rope in front of the unmarked grave he fell in front of.”

B: “Wow did you ever find out who he was or why he was there?”

A: “Sort of… I took the rope the next day back to the priest of the church to ask him. All he could say was that the rope was a Penitente rope used back in the 1800s when Albuquerque was still under Spanish rule. He also explained to me that the unmarked graves were those of los Penitentes that lived near the church and would walk up the road whipping themselves.”

B: “And what do you make of all this?”

A: “I am still not sure with absolute certainty if I really did witness what I did. I mean I would not have believed myself either if I had not seen it with my own two eyes. But I do really think that it was a spirit of a Penitente. I don’t know perhaps he is still seeking forgiveness for his sins even in death.”

Folk Beliefs
general

A Guide in the Graveyard

Interviewer: You once mentioned that most of your family believes in ghosts — do you remember any of the specific ghost stories that your family told you?

Informant: My mother and my father along with my grandparents believed in ghosts. Let me tell you a story about my grandfather.

Interviewer: Yes, go on.

Informant: This was in the 1930s, in China, when cars were not common, and it was most common to travel by foot. He was travelling to another town by foot to do business and trade. At night, it was also common to stay at a stranger’s home and for strangers to host each other when travelers were passing by. He was attempting to find a place to stay for the night or just any sort of lodging.

Interviewer: Right. Was he able to find a place to stay?

Informant: Not quite. It was pitch black at night and he continued to walk as he was trying to look for lights as an indication of a city or even just people living in the area. Finally, he was able to see a dim light or some sort of glowing in the distance. He tried to chase and follow the light, but he realized that he seemed to be going in circles, which was confusing, since a light should lead in one direction. He followed the light the entire night. He knew he was in some sort of trouble, since as he continued to walk towards the light, the light was always in front of him and never got any closer, but he still was going in circles. He was afraid to go in any other direction that wasn’t towards the light, since there was no moon out, and he couldn’t see anything else but that light. Once it was bright enough out, he realized that he had been wandering in a graveyard all night. His footsteps were all over the place, following a distant light that led him in circles in the graveyard.

Interviewer: Did he perceive the light as a ghost?

Informant: He perceived it as a ghost, especially because of the location.

 

Analysis

The informant does not believe it is a ghost, although the original narrator who experienced the story believes it is a ghost. The informant does not believe in ghosts, contrary from how ghost belief is quite prevalent in Asian cultures. The informant believes it could have been some sort of gas burning; however, that still does not explain why the informant’s grandfather had been walking in circles in a graveyard — that aspect of it still is unexplained.

As seen from this story, the reliability of the narrator is often questioned, because the narrator (informant’s grandfather) must have been very tired from a long day of travel. This story also portrays how we often use ghosts as a way to explain the unexplainable. It’s quite interesting how the narrator never reached his destination of the light, and how it was always just in reach, but unobtainable. The nature of the ghost in the story is unclear — the ghost didn’t seem to harm the man in any way, yet simply confused the man or was just having fun or teasing the man in a way. The ghost was not vocal or very corporal, and had more of a quiet presence. The ghost was also more of an anonymous ghost; it wasn’t clear if the original narrator had any relationship with the ghost. The environment this story is set in is very common for ghost stories — nighttime, on a moonless night, and in a graveyard, where the realm of the dead and living may be much closer together.

My opinion on the ghost story is that if everything stated is accurate and true, then it is believable as a ghost story. It’s extremely odd that a “light” would lead someone in circles. Once again, as mentioned earlier, the reliability of the narrator is what needs to be considered quite a bit. The fact that the original narrator had wandered around in circles throughout the entire night also could point to a spirit possession side to the story — it could be possible that the spirit was controlling him internally to wander in circles in the graveyard, rather than the spirit leading him in the direction to wander aimlessly in circles.

general

Three Knocks

Interviewer: Do you have any ghost stories from your family or any personal ones?

Informant: I do remember one. This took place during 1973 in China.

Informant: My father was raised by his grandmother for most of his childhood, and so he was very close to her. My mother was also close to her. One night, my father was out of town, and my mother heard a hard knocking of three times on the window late at night and saw a shadow appear. She yelled “Who is it?” No response. She went outside to see who it was, but no one was there.

Interviewer: Did she find out who it was?

Informant: In a way. The next morning, a messenger arrived at the home, and passed on the news that my father’s grandmother had passed away. To this day, my mother still believes that the knocking was the spirit of my father’s grandmother, to say goodbye or send a signal or warning.

 

Analysis 

The informant believes that there’s a possibility that the ghost of the grandmother is involved, but it’s not entirely impossible for all those events to happen by chance. If we pay attention to the details regarding the knock, we can find that the that the knock occurred three times, showing us that the original storyteller (informant’s mother) believed that it was a real knock, not something made up or just a random object that created the noise, compared to a knock that occurred only once or twice Clearly, we do not know for sure where the knock originated from, but this is just the experience of the informant’s mother. In addition, the fact that the grandmother had passed away was unknown to the informant’s mother makes the story seem more real. The “ghost” in this story also is not very corporal and was not seen visibly aside from the shadow; however, the ghost (the grandmother) is of someone that the narrator knows and was close with. Since she was familiar with the ghost, it can be assumed that the ghost is a “good ghost.” Seeing deceased family members is quite common, yet the unique part of this story is how the original narrator was not aware that the grandmother had passed away. This ghost story also shows prevalence of ancestral ghosts and the closeness of family ties. In Asian cultures, ghosts of family members and ancestors are quite common, especially due to beliefs in ancestral worship and influences from Confucianism.

I find this story believable because of the coincidental nature of certain events. For example, it’s such a coincidence that the knock occurred right before she was informed of the death of the grandmother. On top of that, the original narrator had checked to see who was knocking, yet no one was there, despite the appearance of a shadow. The possibility of all of this occurring together, with no other meaning or explanation to it does seem very low.

general
Narrative
Signs

The Jeepers Creepers House Ghost

The interviewee wishes to remain anonymous, but he is a single father of two daughters, and he currently lives in Southern California. He currently works as a FedEx driver, and he recalls his personal memories of ghosts that he encountered when he was living in Victorville, CA

The interviewer’s initials are denoted through the initials EL, while the interviewee’s responses are noted as LB

EL: I’ve heard from my mom that you have encountered quite a number of ghosts in your lifetime. Can you tell me about them?

LB: This is my story when I bought my new house in Victorville, CA. The address of the haunted house was 11594 Beconia Road, Adelanto, CA 92301. This was the first house that I bought for me and two daughters and when we first moved in, everything was very nice. However, after one year, we started hearing strange noises in the house as if someone was walking on the second floor. One time I was talking to my oldest daughter on the first floor and then suddenly we would hear noises as if someone was walking. I asked her “ Who is here?”

LB’s daughter: “No one, Dad. It’s just you and me! Dad, to be honest, I’ve been hearing these same weird noises everyday for the past year whenever I’m by myself in the house!”

LB: At first, I didn’t pay much attention to this story of her’s because I thought she was making things up and messing with me. Then, when I was living by myself, I started to hear noises as if someone was walking down the stairs. Another time, I came home after a long day at work and I told my two daughters to not walk at night and make noise because I was exhausted. It was around midnight and I thought I heard someone running down the stairs, so I turned on the lights and I walked down the stairs to the first floor of the house to check out the noise. I looked in the kitchen, living room, garage, and there was nothing. At first I thought it was one of my daughters, so I opened the doors and decided to head upstairs to see if it was one of my daughters. At this time, I saw a girl wearing a white gown and she was running fast up the stairs, and then I started chasing her because I was curious as to who this was. I was chasing after this white ghostly girl until she went into my youngest daughter’s room. I went into my youngest daughter’s room and asked her “Hey why are you running around the house? I thought I told you to not make any noise in the house because I’m tired and I want to sleep!”

LB’s daughter #2: “Dad, what the h** are you talking about? I’ve been sleeping this whole time!”

LB: At this time, I noticed that she wasn’t wearing a white gown. She was wearing some shorts and a little shirt. I realized it wasn’t her, so I went to my other’s daughter’s room and asked her if she was the one going down the stairs, and she also told me no. I went into my room, but I left the door open and grabbed a shoe because I thought my daughters were messing with me. I was looking out the door just in case, and then I saw that same girl running down the stairs fast, and as soon as I saw her, I jumped out of my bed and I started chasing her again. I once again went downstairs and tried looking for her, but she was nowhere to be seen. This was the first incident. Another time, I came home really late from work. I would say it was 11:30 p.m.. Then, I heard a strong wind noise inside the house. Like “wishhhhh, wishhh, wooosh, wiiishhh”. As if all the windows were open and the wind was coming into the house. I looked, but all the curtains were closed. This was crazy!! I was looking for the open window, but none of the windows were open. I thought to myself, “What the h** is happenning?”, but I was too tired and I didn’t pay too much attention to this and to my room. However, when I was walking up to my bedroom, I noticed that half the house had this crazy wind noise, and the other half was completely calm and quiet. This was the second incident. The third incident happened when I was eating with my girlfriend. I heard a weird noise again as if someone was walking on the second floor and I asked my girlfriend if there was someone else in the house. She told me no one other you and me are in this house. I thought to myself: “How strange!!”. I asked my girlfriend to go check to see if what was making this strange noise, but she was too scared to check. We both contemplated checking the noise, but were both too scared to go check. Then, at night, we finally decided to go up and check out this strange noise, but nobody was there. We checked out the second floor and found that this small door in the laundry that led to the attic was open. “It was scary!” A couple days later, I noticed that my daughter was looking weird. She confessed that she had been hearing weird noises all over the house: her room, my room, and her sister’s room. She claimed that the noises once again sounded like someone was walking or watching her. One time, she was combing her hair and she saw a shadow come out of my room. She thought that if she could ignore the shadows, they wouldn’t bother her. However, one time, she turned around and the shadow was right behind her, but it turned into a figure of a man with wings and horns on his head and then he started to crawl down the stairs. She said it resembled the creature from Jeepers Creepers. This ghost started to bother my daughter and probably possessed her because sometimes she would suddenly start talking like a man. I tried to find a priest, pastor, or anyone who would come to the house to bless it to help my daughter, but no one wanted to come because no one knew us at the time. One day, I decided to go to church and I met a friend at church, and I told this friend about the ghost possessions. Then, one day, this friend brought 13-14 other people and a pastor to my house to help me and pray. When all these people started to pray, the house started to let out weird creaking noises from the wall, and it seemed like the house was going to fall apart because the wood was creaking and weird ghostly noises were coming out of the wall. Then, my daughter suddenly started pointing and hitting these girls who came to pray and claimed that they were bad and that she knew what bad things they were doing, and that karma would come hurt them if they didn’t stop. I knew this was legit because my daughter’s eyes were closed and she somehow knew which girls she was talking about. She also possessed characteristics of someone who was possessed. After praying for awhile, the noise died down, and everything became normal. The pastor then told me to not let the devil into the house anymore and to do more good deeds. I have since moved out of that house, but I have talked to the current house owners and they told me that ever since I have moved out, 4 families have already moved in and out within 3 months because they can’t stand it. These families also had weird things happen to them where windows and doors would randomly open. This is what happened to me and this was very scary!

Conclusion:

This story was extremely scary and as I was listening to him tell this story, I could feel the creeps going up my body. Also, this guy claims that he has the ability to see ghosts and attract ghosts because he also told me another story about a more recent ghost encounter. In the more recent ghost encounter, it was also similar to this story where he moved to a new house and there were weird noises and occurrences that happened to him and his family.  Also, since he is religious and believes in God and prays, I personally feel like he wouldn’t lie about this story. Most importantly, the ideas of being good and not doing bad deeds such as cursing, lying, etc, seem to play an important role in this story that stand as the key for warding off all bad entities such as ghosts.

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