Tag Archives: haunting

San Antonio Haunted Train Tracks

Context: 

The informant–ZG– is an 18 year old male born and raised in San Antonio Texas. The train tracks to which the informant is referring are located near the San Juan Mission and have become a popular tourist destination for self proclaimed ghost hunters.

Piece:

A story that I heard growing up and I actually did witness was south of San Antonio. There’s these railroad tracks, and supposedly in the eighteen hundreds a train was coming by and it killed all these small children. I don’t know what they were doing playing on train tracks. That was their fault. But if you go at night and you set your car in the middle of the train tracks–the train tracks are no longer in use–the ghost children will push your car across the train tracks. My mom and I went back in 2014 or 2013. We had this huge pickup truck. And we went over and, we parked on top of the train tracks and it’s actually like a line of people. And what do you know we put our car in neutral and… Wow! Our car was pushed across the train tracks from the little children. It was incredible.

Analysis:

Despite the popularity of the San Antonio train tracks said to be haunted by ghosts of children killed in an accident, there is no proof that such an accident ever happened at those specific tracks or in San Antonio. The legend could be a cautionary tale warning children about the dangers of playing around the train tracks or an explanation for the phenomenon that occurs when a car is put in neutral when stopped over the tracks.

Drowned Girl Haunts Classroom

Main Piece:

Informant: There were actually, like, 2 ghosts. I think one of them was a little girl, because where her school was built there used to be a community pool. I was told that there was a little girl who had passed away or drowned there. And then she haunted the foundation of the school. So in one of the classrooms, either the Science or English room, on the same day every year it floods kinda. And that’s the same day the little girl passed away. So, the teacher of the classroom always says the little girl is still there.

Background:

The informant is a twelve-year-old Native American girl from the Choctaw, Blackfoot, and Lakota Nations. She was born and raised in Tennessee and frequently travels out west to visit family and friends. She is in sixth grade.

Context:

During the Covid-19 Pandemic I flew back home to Tennessee to stay with my family. The informant is my ‘sister IO’. I asked if she knew of any ghost stories or places that were haunted. Recently, one of our other siblings ‘sister NO’ started attending a new middle school. IO shared what NO had told her about her new school (which is detailed in another Main Piece). 

Thoughts:

It’s an urban legend that haunts a middle school, a transitional time for students. New teachers. New peers. New School. Legends have the ability to provide meaning in a chaotic social environment. The role of spirits play a large part in our culture, challenging our perceptions of linear time and dimension. Spirits have also been seen as a way of changing mentalities and conflicts that appear between theology and popular thought. They are a reflection of our own social insecurities and change that remains incomprehensible. Ultimately, legends and supernatural phenomena become a way of coping and interpreting the unknown and dealing with situations that remain beyond human control. 

Little Girl Ghost in House

SR: Okay, so like I went to Virginia and then, like I think I was 7 but um it was a two story house. I was sleeping and I woke up because I was thirsty and I didn’t know where everything was because it was my second day there. The only light that was there was like a Christmas tree light, so I went downstairs to go get water as I was getting water I noticed my cousin was following me and I was like, “oh, do you want some water” and she kind of like nodded. I drank my water and put my cut back in the sink and then I went upstairs and then I saw my cousin go into the part downstairs. They had two living rooms and she went into the smaller living room and I was like that’s weird but whatever. So I went back upstairs and my cousin was like in her bed and I was like that is so weird. The next day, it was so funny, the next day my grandma was talking about this little girl they see often and then they are like, “oh yeah , she is like always around here. She looks like Stephanie.” Stephanie is my cousin. 

CA: She looks like your cousin that is still alive?

SR: Yeah 

CA: Why do you think there is a girl there?

SR: I don’t know, I think honestly maybe she died in the house. In Virginia their backyards are basically open land and it’s like foresty. Maybe she like died somewhere there and her body is still around. It was crazy my grandma told me she would forget that the girls were at school and she will see the girl and then offer her like food not knowing that it’s not my cousin. The only one that she doesn’t appear too is my uncle. She has appeared to all my cousin’s and even my guy cousin, and my grandma and my nina, but she has not appeared to my uncle like at all.

CA: Why do you think that is?

SR: I don’t know maybe the way she died or I don’t know. 

CA: Is he the head of the house?

SR: Yeah, he is definitely the head of the house. 

CA: So he is the main male presence?

SR: Mhm

Context

SR is a 20 year old student who attends college of the canyons in Santa Clarita. This conversation took place over a casual FaceTime call where I asked her is she had any folklore I could use for the database. She comes from a Catholic Mexican household and has lived in Southern California her whole life. Also, many of her family live in Virginia and she visits there on occasion 

Analysis

This is a memorate surrounding a haunting of a house. The nonchalant attitude of those who lived in the house was surprising because most of the stories I have heard surrounding ghost stories have been meant to inspire fear. However, in this case the girl did not seem to be bothering anyone and it is something that had all gotten used to. It was a story that everyone involved believed to be true and did not find it a ludicrious notion that there was a spirit in their house. 

It is also interesting that the only person the girl has not appeared to it the male authority figure in the house. Thus, showing that she only appears selectively and that she may have animosity against males. 

The Ghosts of Cheesman Park: Haunting in Colorado

Background: CW Originally heard the story from their father and once from their grandmother, positioning the story as fairly old within the history of Cheesman. CW Then looked it up on google to confirm it. CW Finds the story interesting and “Kind of messed up, to be honest” it matters to them because they lived in a haunted place and had a friend who was extremely interested in ghost hunting.
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Context CW, with a mug of hot tea sits, on my couch after an afternoon of doing homework and recounts stories from their childhood. The atmosphere is calm, the air is calm and the room is mostly quiet in between stories. CW has known the collector for some time and thus is excited to share their stories.

Performance:
CW:The park that I used to live by is supposedly super haunted because it used to be a cemetery
MW: Aw Hell yeah!
CW: CHEESMAN PARK
MW: Cheesman Park?
CW Cheesman Park.
CW: OK Cheesman park used to be a cemetery I don’t remember when but the …..the city was like “Hey why don’t we not make this a cemetery”
CW: Cause ok it was a cemetery for un unn, like you know like people who weren’t paying for a burial
MW: A potters field?
CW Yeah, and also Asian Americans in Little Cheesman which is a part of Cheesman but it’s like a strip on the other side of the road. That’s where the Asian Americans people were. I think, if I’m remembering correctly Idunno.
CW:And so the city was like “Yeah we don’t want this to be a graveyard anymore so lets like”….I’m starting to doubt what I remember
MW: Just tell me what you remember
CW: So they hired someone to, like basically dig up all the graves. Buuut he was super sketchy and he would like mix the remains and pack them into child coffins to make more money off of it….[CW trails off, and laughs at my bewildered expression inn response to the exhuming ]
CW: But now supposedly Cheesman park is like super haunted because of all the graves that were disrupted.
CW: My friends told me if you lay down in Cheesman park you’ll feel like you can’t get back up because the spirits are trying to keep you there with them and definitely like a lot of weird noises
CW: Because I lived right on the park, I was pretty convinced they were some whack noises for the middle of ….Denver….the Gay Neighborhood of Denver, but yeah…spoooky.
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Analysis:
The story plays on two key fears that might represent the anxieties in the Cheesman community, notably two different local marginalized groups at the time of the story’s conception, the poor and Asian Americans. These groups likely felt uncomfortable in the city anyway and made some of the majority uncomfortable with their presence thus the city’s desire to remove the cemetery can be seen as a drive to remove these people from the environment. The desecration of their graves, the stuffing of bones into childrens’ coffins serves to mimic the disrespect these communities received in life and why they’d be angry enough to trap someone in the park and force their victims to join their community. Likewise that Cheesmann is now “the gay neighborhood of Denver” the feeling of unrest and danger felt by the LGBT community there might to be an impetus for the survival of the story.

Blue Ghosts in Okinawa, Japan

AM: So, it was- like the first month or two when i moved to Japan and I was hanging outside at like…2am like at night in a park. Um, the military base we was staying on was built like near like Japanese Shrines and whatnot and they said that you know the shrines are haunted and there’s a lotta “superstitions” with those. So while we’re out hanging, there was like oh look- you can see a bluf- blue figure on a hill like on top of the shrine and when I looked over you- I saw like a bluish like glow from the hills where the shrine was and they said that this island is one of the most haunted places and that there’s a lot of spirits around.

VG: Woah. What island was it?

AM: Okinawa.

VG: Woah-

AM: And that is- it is very common to see those there… so we was like “yeah, let’s get the hell out of here.”

 

Background:

Location of Story – Okinawa, Japan

Location of Performance – Dormitory room, Los Angeles, CA, night

 

Context: This performance took place in a group setting – about 2-3 people – in a college dormitory room. This performance was prompted by the call for stories about beliefs, ghosts, or superstitions as examples of folklore. This story came after a few others. The one prior was specifically about a high school grade being cursed.

 

Analysis: One point of interest in this performance is the effectiveness of the subtlety of the description of the “spirits.” The only physical description the audience receives about these supernatural beings is that they humanoid in figure and blue. The color is particularly notable because, at least in my experience, I have always viewed the ghosts in ghost stories as being neutral toned or white. Therefore, this description was able to create a whole new image for me and draw me deeper into this performance. It also reinforces the foreignness AM might feel since he had just moved to Japan: not only is the location different but also all of the local lore. One might even go so far as to say that this story was presented with a negative conation despite having no description of graphic hauntings or threats. 

Krasue in South Asian Folklore

NC: So there’s this story about crossaway or crosu (Krasue) I don’t know exactly how to pronounce the name but in southeast asian folklore she is supposed to be a very beautiful woman and she’s only a head, so she’s a decapitated head and her entails are hanging out and she’s supposed to float around uh a building- a haunted building or something um she’s- I think she’s searching for something and she might also kill anyone who comes into the building. That’s all I’ve heard about it.

 

Background:

Location of Story – Southeast Asia

Location of Performance – Dormitory room, Los Angeles, CA, night

 

Context: This performance took place in a group setting – about 2-3 people – in a college dormitory room. This performance was prompted by the call for stories about beliefs, ghosts, or superstitions as examples of folklore via a group message. NC approached me in person in response to the text and had just discovered this creature herself. 

 

Analysis: Krasue is physically unlike any other “monster” or creature I have heard of before. I was particularly interested in the dichotomy between the woman’s beauty and the grotesqueness of her lower half. For me, this hints at a commentary about how women are viewed around the world globally: her head is attached but her body has been ripped apart by what exactly? If women often fall victim to objectification, then it makes sense that this lore would depict her “body” has being completely consumed by something else or at least lost to something or someone besides herself. Additionally, the fact that she is bound by a building, confirms the archetypical “domestic” woman, but the threat she poses to anyone else trying to reside in her household disrupts this stereotype and protects the space as her own.

La Llorona Legend

KF: Ok so, um, there’s this tale, or folklore, or urban legend- I’m not quite really sure what it is…um, where- I think they recently made a movie on it too. Uh, La Llorona is a woman who was married and she had children, but her husband ended up cheating on her or leaving her, and so she decided to get back at her husband she was gonna kill her kids, and um, she drowned them in like a nearby river or something and she ended up- I think she ended up committing suicide herself. And so then at night, she comes back uh crying, um, “my kids, my kids!” And So practically, it’s well known throughout like Mexico that like if you live near a river, and she like- you hear her say like “my kids, my kids,” you wanna hide your children cause she’ll like she’ll take them…um, and they’ll disappear forever or something like that.

 

Background:

Location of story – predominantly Mexico, according to informant

Location of Performance – Interviewer’s dormitory room, Los Angeles, CA, night

 

Context: This performance took place in a group setting – about 2-3 people – in a college dormitory room. This performance was prompted by the call for stories about beliefs, ghosts, or superstitions as examples of folklore via a group message. KF approached me two days prior to this interview, but schedules did not allow for a recording until she came to ask a homework and remembered. I am good friend’s with KF.

 

Analysis: La Llorona has extensive foundations in the conquistador era, and the lack of knowledge about the historical context demonstrates to me how extensively the legend has spread and varied amongst different communties. I have studied La Llorona before but never had I heard about the warning cry “my kids, my kids!” Therefore, this is one of the more impactful versions of La Llorona I have heard because it actually has a physical effect on the people who might believe they have heard the cry because they remove their kids from a physical space.

Annotation: Another recent version of this legend is the The Curse of La Llorona movie that was recently released.

Citation: Chaves, Michael, director. The Curse of La Llorona. New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster Productions, 2019.

San Francisco Hitch-Hiker Ghost Story

Informant:

J, a 22-year-old, Caucasian male who grew up in San Francisco, California until he turned 16. He now lives in Boise, Idaho. He spent his summers at summer camp with his friends.

Background info:

During summer camps, counselors and children would sit around a firepit at night and tell stories. While some of these were positive, most of them would be told with the aim of scaring people. This is one of the stories told to J during one of these sessions.

Context:

This was told amongst a group of friends sitting in a circle around a firepit late at night, slightly intoxicated, telling each other their favorite scary stories they heard as children.

Main piece:

“Okay, this next one is about a little girl from Sacramento… One night, a couple is driving down the road. It’s pitch-black and silent, all except the hum of the tires on the road… The roads are unusually empty, despite it being nearly midnight, and the headlights of the car created a cone of light, barely illuminating the edge of the road… *moves the flashlight in a circle on the ground around the fire*… As they’re driving, the hum of the tires starts to lull them into a trance. *Jacob’s voice began to get more and more quiet* Driving… Driving… Driving through the night. Out of nowhere, the boyfriend slams on the breaks! The girlfriend is lurched awake. ‘What the hell was that?!’ the girlfriend exclaimed. ‘I think I saw something on the side of the road…’. He backs up to find a little girl standing all alone. He stops the car and slowly gets out to ask the girl if she’s okay… Her clothes oddly out of place, her hair tangled, and her skin pale. Immediately, he notices that the girl’s arm is cut, and tears have run dry on her cheeks. ‘Are you okay? What are you doing out here all alone?’ The girl responds only by asking for a lift to her home, only a few miles down the road. Of course, the couple agrees to help the child, and offer to take her to the hospital, instead, but she insists on only going home… So, the couple drive her home, asking her a few questions, creating small-talk… Eventually, the girl stops responding and the couple look back to find she’s fallen asleep. They whisper quietly to each other the rest of the drive… As they pull up to the address, they slowly pull into the driveway. The couple notices that most of the house is dark, all except a single candle on the window by the door… Not wanting to wake the girl, the couple quietly gets out of the car to see if someone is home… *knock knock knock*…. No answer. *Knock Knock Knock*… Still, no answer… *KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*… The door slowly creeps open, and an old lady stands in the dark, the candle barely illuminating her. ‘Yes? How can I help you?’ The girlfriend answers, ‘I’m sorry to disturb you this late at night, but a little girl told us this was her address, and we thought we would bring her home.’ The old lady begins to tear up as the boyfriend goes to get the girl from the car. ‘I don’t know of any girl around here, only my late daughter, who died years ago in a car accident.’ The girlfriend turns pale and looks back at the car. The boyfriend stood staring at the empty backseat…”

Thoughts:

As I read back through this transcript, I wish I could better capture the feeling of this piece. The environment in which the piece was told really played into the feeling of the story. The cold, quiet, dark night with the flames casting shadows around us made it feel like we were surrounded by ghosts. I think the story was interesting coming from J, as he was raised in San Francisco, close to where this story is set. Being told at the summer camps, I believe it made it even more terrifying at the time (due to being told to children who lived near this setting). The recurring set of three also shows up in this story when the couple are knocking on the door, each time the knocking getting louder, as well as the repeated “Driving, driving, driving” to lull the listeners into a false sense of security. The sound effects that J used during the story really made it come alive, which is why I believe most recounts of live stories like this do not capture the actual experience of the story. I’ve also heard similar stories to this about a spirit or ghost making an appearance and convincing someone they are still alive, only to disappear later.

 

 

The Cow Head Man

Main Piece:

“When I was a child my mother told me that one late night, she stayed up waiting for my father to return home. It was really late…we lived up in the mountains. So it was always very dark. My mother said that she looked out the sliding back doors and she saw, what looked like a man. She ducked behind the couch quickly as the man walked closer to the sliding doors. When it got up to the doors my mother noticed that the man’s head was that of a cow. It had big black eyes and it just stood there…only moving its eyes from one side to the other. My mother was so scared, she did not know what to do. I think I remember her saying that the cow head man was there for about 10 minutes, looking around. Finally, my father arrived, and his headlights beamed toward the back. That is when my mother looked out again and the cow head man had disappeared.

“This figure, man, or whatever it is has always followed my family and I around.” (when she said this, I asked her what she meant by that, and she continued to tell the story.)

“You see, no matter where we moved to, my mother or me or one of my sisters or brothers said they saw the same man. The last time I saw him it was here (Her current home). I was in the back bedroom, asleep. I was waiting for my husband to arrive. I woke up exactly at 12 midnight. It was weird because my body just woke up on its own, anyway, when I looked over to the window there he was, with his cow head and those huge black eyes. He was just staring at me. I was so afraid. I could not move. There was a point when he looked away from me and that is when I ran right out of there and told my sister. My sister yelled at it and that was not good. You aren’t supposed to test them like that. It’s crazy because it just doesn’t leave us alone.”

 

Context:

The informant is an elderly Caucasian woman born and raised in Tennessee. She first heard about this entity from her mother when she was a child. According to her she has also witnessed the entity with her own eyes. She is not sure why it follows her family around.

 

Analysis: It seems that this story is one shared by many members of this woman’s family. They have all claimed to have encountered this entity in some way or another.

Bloody Mary

The following informant is an 8th grader. In this account she is explaining what Bloody Mary game is. This is a transcription of our conversation, she is identified as SA and I am identified as K:

SA: So it’s this girl, she was from like a large ship, and she got married there and then something happened to her and she died there… and she haunts the ship… and she can come into your house. So the game goes: If you go into your bathroom and then you close the door, you turn off the lights and you flush the toilet three times and you say Bloody Mary three times and she comes through the mirror and takes you

K: She just takes you, what happens?

SA: Well she takes you so I don’t know.

K: Have you ever played the game?

SA: No, I never tried it, some of my friends did, but when they screamed it freaked me out to much. This was a long time ago thought like 4 years, and I heard the story on YouTube.

K: Can I ask if you believed she would actually come through the mirror and take you.

SA: I think I did when I was younger, but now not so much, but I still don’t want to try it

Context: She told me this while at my house one weekend.

Thoughts:

This was the first time I had heard of a origin story for the Bloody Mary, so I was very interested. Adding the origin story to the scary game made me almost feel bad for the Blood Mary, which felt strange. But what was also interesting is that when I grew up, I heard about this game from my friends who heard it from their friends. But this informant heard about it on YouTube, it’s a different generation with a very different way of exchanging information. She did not need to be in the same place as the person telling her about the game to still experience it.