Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative

The Wooden Table

Background:

My informant is a twenty-one year old student at USC; she’s studying neuroscience with an eye towards medical school. Her father is Laotian and French and her mother is French.

Performance:

“Both of my parents believe in ghosts. This happened to my mom — or maybe it didn’t happen to her but it happened to someone she knew? I’m not sure. This was in the Basque Region, on the French side. It’s, um, an interesting place. Super pretty, super old. Have you been? (I tell her that no, I haven’t) okay, but you’ve been down south, you know what I’m talking about. Super pretty, super old (laughter). They were at my grandmother’s house which is this super gnarly little cottage and the family has lived there, for like, ever. So they were eating dinner and a bunch of kids were fighting or something and all of a sudden this huge wooden table just flew across the room. Like, slammed against the far wall. They didn’t say they were scared or anything but they just knew that it was a ghost and that the ghost wanted them to know it was there.”

Thoughts:

This seems like a classic European ghost story, in many ways. The ghost isn’t necessarily malevolent, but simply there to make its presence known. Much like the piece we read about Estonian ghosts, the ghost is another familial claim on the property and a more tangible connection between the family and the house itself.

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