USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Horror Story’
Legends
Narrative

“Click Clack”

The following is a scary story told to me by my friend Claire, who learned it at a summer camp where they have been a counselor for a few years.

“I’ll start at the beginning, which is World War One. In Virginia, there was this family and they had, y’know, wife, husband, son, daughter. And they were a family of farmers–they were like, subsistence farmers; they were not incredibly wealthy at all. And so, when World War One happened, the husband and the son both went to the war…And so, y’know, the war was a big toll on them. And the father and the son both came back alive, but um…the father came back a little off. And a big part of that was the fact that he’d had an accident, and he had had to have both of his legs amputated above the knee. So he um, was in low spirits, and he became incredibly antisocial. He would just stay up in his room, he eventually kind of stopped coming down for meals…

So then many years later, um, World War Two happened and then the son had to leave again, and the family had to give away all of their metal. But um, before that happened, in between the wars, the husband had taken two tin cans, and he had taken the wrapping off of them–the labels off of them–and he had stuck the cans to the stumps of his legs. And so um…then fast forward again, so the son is gone now and the family has had to give their steel to the war, um, to the army, so they can melt it down to make weapons and whatnot. So they had to give away their, um, their light fixtures and the rest of their cans and their, um, scissors and their nail clippers and y’know, some silverware, stuff like that.

And so um…the husband all this time had been falling sort of into a deeper reverie. And the only big change was that he moved, um, into the living room. And so he would sit in the middle of the living room now instead of in his bedroom, ’cause y’know, he and his wife shared a bedroom and she was kinda getting creeped out by him. And what he would do is he would just sit in the chair and he wouldn’t really look at anything, he wouldn’t say anything, he would just sit there in silence and then whenever somebody came into the room he would just start staring at them without saying anything…And so, y’know, since they had to give away their metal, they had to get rid of their scissors and their nail clippers, and the wife and the daughter, they were, y’know, in sane states of mind, so they found ways to remain hygienic. But the uh, the husband, his hair started to grow very long and it would mat. And he had a thick beard and he had really long hair and it was scraggly and messy and he wouldn’t ever clean himself or–more importantly–he wouldn’t cut his nails or do anything about his nails, so they grew incredibly long. And um, eventually he actually started moving around a little more but um, he would get out of his chair, and he started to train himself to walk around. But at first it was very difficult because again, he only had tin cans on his leg stumps, above his knees. So he would walk around and it would sound like the click clack of his fingernails against the hardwood floor, and then a long drag of his legs behind him…Um, but he still would not speak to the family, he still didn’t say anything, and he still let all of his hair and all of his beard and all of his nails grow out incredibly long and he was slowly day by day starting to look less and less human. And um, then he started to change his behavior even more, and now he could get around pretty well on his just his hands and it was just a really fast click clack click clack click clack throughout the house, and he began to move away from the living room, but in a very strange way because he would only ever move in the shadows…And what he would do was, he would follow someone around, and they would just hear a slight click clack click clack click clack and any time they turned around it would stop. And they would keep walking and then…he would jump out at them! He would just leap from the shadows and surprise them.

But um, he never really did anything until the family got a notice from the government that they were going to build a marine base on their land! So, they had to organize to move. And this was now, World War Two was over and the son is back, and so the whole family is back together, and he’s obviously very disheartened to see, y’know, what his father has turned into. And so when the government marine base was about to, y’know, start and they seized this family’s land, and um…it came down to the night before they [were supposed to] move, and then in the morning there was nobody leaving the house. And um, the construction company and the project manager and everyone, they they came to the house and they came prepared to tell these people like, ‘you have to move out right now,’ prepared to help them move out their furniture. But they entered the house and it was a massacre. And there was blood everywhere and the wife the daughter and the son had all been murdered and they had just been mauled, they had been maimed, they had been cut into pieces. There were like, splashes of blood everywhere, it was incredibly gruesome. And there was no sign of the husband.

So, y’know, after this terror they still had to go along with the project. So they built the marine base, which is now what is the Quantico marine base in uh, very near Prince William Forest Park…um, so for the Marine Base, y’know, they had to train marines obviously. And something that in the park you can do is you go out and there are these orienteering posts. And orienteering, for those at home who don’t know, is using just a map and compass to find your way from a point A to a point B…And so this was really good training for the marines, but what they would do is they would do it at night, um, to make it harder. So they would send these people out and they wouldn’t always come back. And sometimes those who did come back would tell stories of things they saw in the darkness like huge, huge abnormal shapes and really incredibly fast footsteps, and some who came back would come back with long slashes on their face and they would say–if they could even say anything about their experience–they would say simply that they had been out there at night and then out of nowhere something had jumped out at them and tried to kill them. And it had cut long claw marks all over them. And um, it was a miracle that those men survived.

So um, y’know, eventually Prince William Forest Park was built. And there was, y’know, tourism that was established there. And what they do is they have these historical cabins that people can stay in and so, um, one night there was a family that was going to uh, y’know, just stay for a weekend in the park…And so this family, they were staying in the cabin and it was nice. They, y’know, unpacked on a Saturday evening, it was um, the Fall so the sun was beginning to set really early, but it was nice afternoon light, y’know, they were getting their sleeping bags, fixing up a little dinner and um, it fell dark very quickly. And so, as they were wrapping up for dinner sitting around the little fireplace, they started to hear something out on the porch. Um, and it sounded like a little animal maybe, some very light, very quick little scratches. And then they stopped their conversation, they listened, and a few seconds after the scratching was silent again. And they would, y’know, start talking again. And it became slightly more defined of a noise and they could identify it as a sort of click clack click clack click clack as if something was walking back and forth on their porch. And so they stop their conversation again, they listen harder, y’know, trying to figure out what is this animal out there. And the click clack stops. And then they wait a few minutes, and just as they’re about to start their conversation again, the noise begins again before they even start talking. And now it’s faster, it’s more erratic, and um, the wife, y’know, the mother of the family, she turns to her husband and she goes like, ‘honey, you should go see what that is, even if it’s a raccoon we should, y’know, at least scare it away so it doesn’t come in here and eat all our food at night.’ And the husband, of course, he gets up and he goes over and he goes to the door and the noise is getting louder as he’s approaching the door. And um, just as he puts his hand on the doorknob it stops. And he looks out the window, but it’s pitch black, he doesn’t really see anything. So he turns the doorknob and he opens the door…and there was Click Clack!”

The summer camp where Claire learned this legend is held partly in Prince William Forest Park, so it is directly connected to the camp’s location, and could serve as a cautionary tale for campers who want to stray into the woods. Claire has told me various different versions of the story, involving different characters’ run ins with “Click Clack.” I also vaguely remember a friend telling me a version of it when I was a kid, but it had no connection to Prince William Forest or Quantico.

Legends
Myths
Narrative

La Leyenda de la Llorona

Informant: Carlota Rodriguez-Benito. 20 years old. Spanish Heritage, born in Miami, lived in Mexico. USC student.

Informant: “There is this very famous legend in Mexico called ‘La Leyenda de la Llorona.’ From what I can recall it goes like this. There was once this very beautiful woman. The most handsome guy fell in love with her and they had three beautiful children. Their life was perfect until one day he stopped coming home. He would only return at times to visit the children and paid no attention to her. One day, while the children were sleeping, she went to town to look for him. There, she saw him with another woman. She followed them for a long time and then… they kissed. She ran back home, woke up the children, and took them out on a picnic near a river. She got in the water and told the children to follow. She carried the children in her arms and told them everything would be alright. She held them strongly and sang them a lullaby. With tears in her eyes, she suddenly sank them in the water. The children screamed..…MAMÁ AYUDA (MOM HELP!)…..but she wouldn’t let go. The children stopped moving and she carried them out. It was that moment when she realized what she had done. She started crying and screamed…AYYY MIIISSS HIJOOOOSSS(OH MY CHILDREN)…. and tried to bring them back to life. She couldn’t live with what she had done and killed herself. Since then, she roams around at night crying for her children. If a child is awake and hears her cry, she steals him or her thinking it is her own. After taking the child and realizing it is not hers, she drowns him or her with grief!”

Collector: “When did you first hear this legend?”

Informant: “So I moved to Mexico in 10th grade. I don’t know exactly how I learned about the legend but if I can recall, it was around Halloween time. I was talking to a classmate and she asked me what I was gonna be. I told her I wanted to dress up as ‘La Katrina.’ She then told me she planned on being ‘La Llorona.’ “Excuse Me?” I asked her.  “What is La Llorona??” It was then that I learned the story and was immediately captivated. As I stayed in Mexico longer, I eventually learned that La Llorona is a legend that everyone knows. It is really part of the Mexican culture.

Thoughts: La Leyenda de la Llorona is really famous in Mexico. Interestingly, there are so many variations of the story. One version is that the woman killed the children because the husband paid more attention to them than to her. She hated the children and hoped that after killing them she would have him all to herself. Something that really surprised me is the intermix between La Llorona and La Malinche. Somehow, I had only heard about la Llorona and did not know about its correlation to la Malinche until I took this class. This story would spook me as a child and it would keep me from walking by myself at night. I think this is maybe because her story is everywhere in Mexico. The media also portrays la Llorona and there was even a ride that told her story at six flags called “La Mansion de la Llorona” – “The Weeping Woman’s Mansion.”

Interesting history of the legend: “http://www.lallorona.com/1legend.html”

For another version please see:  http://www.literacynet.org/lp/hperspectives/llorona.html

general
Narrative

The Ant Face Girl

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials JK, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted through initials MB.

 

 

MB:  This one scared me, oh my gosh.  Part of what scared me is what my grandmother said after.  You can add that to the folklore I guess.  So Ann, it was so funny, said “I don’t know if I want to tell you his story because it’s so scary, it’s been bothering me”.  And I said “Cmon cmon just tell me.”  This is when we were kids keep in mind.  And she says “Ok fine.  It’s this story about girlfriend and boyfriend and the girlfriend goes to the beach and she falls asleep there.  And when she woke up there were ants all over her face, all over her face.  Like red ants, stingy red ants all over her face.  So her face ballooned up, she got them all off.  And her face ballooned up, I mean have you ever been stung by a red ant?

 

JK:  Yea I think I have.

 

MB:  They can sting you and she got stung all over the place.  So she goes to the hospital and they bandage up her face.

 

JK:  Did this take place anywhere specifically?

 

MB:  My sister told me Galveston, Texas, right on the water.  So they bandage up her face and they’re like, “Whatever you do, DON’T itch.  DO NOT ITCH YOUR FACE.”  But when you’re healing like that, oh my gosh, it’s just indescribable, just irresistible to itch.  I mean it’s just like ahhh, all you can do.  But they had her face bandaged up, they even tied her hands, they’re like “DON’T ITCH YOU FACE.”  They tied her hands.  And um, but she had a boyfriend and she begged her boyfriend, going nuts, just going nuts that she’s not able to get at her skin and it itched so badly, because it was healing we think right?  But she convinces her boyfriend to undo her bandages and undo her hands and she started itching her face….. and ants…. crawled out.  And they had made all these tunnels and everything in her face….. like an ant farm.  Isn’t that awful!?!?”

 

JK:  Wow yea, that is nasty.

 

MB: Ohhh yea, it always bothered me.  So Ann told me cause she was so disturbed by it and then once she told me she felt better about it, and I was so disturbed by it then– I was like carrying it.  So I told my grandmother– Granny, who i called Granny– and um, the funny thing, what does my Granny say but, “Well, I suppose that could happen.”  Haha.  Which totally freaked me out.  There were so many red ants in Arkansas and you would get stung and it would itch, it would really itch a lot.  It hurt.  And the recovery itched.  But the itching she was feeling was the ants crawling around in her skin.  My imagination would think there are all these channels and tunnels in her skin.”

 

Conclusion:

This story comes from my mother’s childhood friend, Mary.  She was originally told it by her older sister.  It was crazy to hear her tell the story in person and watch her face contort when she talks about the ants crawling out of the girl’s face.  It’s been almost 50 years since she first heard this, and it still fully geeks her out.  This story has the one aspect found in any great horror story: it is believable.  What’s more, Mary could relate to it because she grew up around red ants.  The cherry on top is her grandmother telling her, “Well, I suppose that could happen.”– Just the worst thing to tell a scared little kid who is looking for some kind of comfort/adult wisdom.

 

Narrative

The Backyard Clown

Title: The Backyard Clown

Interviewee: Adrian Vigil

Ethnicity: Mexican-American

Age: 20

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?):

AJ is sitting on a sofa in front of the Trojan Knights house, it is a calm warm Sunday in South Central Los Angeles. It is a group of 10 male students from the University of Southern California sitting on the front porch, sharing stories. All of these men are members of Trojan Knights, and are relaxing after having started cooking homemade friend chicken. All of these men are close to one another, including the interviewer. AJ says he has a good one as he puts his drink down.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee- “Okay here we go. This is long one, but I have a good scary story that happened to my friend. I think it could have been a ghost, but I don’t know. Okay here we go you cannoli (see post “What a Cannoli”). Okay so my friend lives in these suburbs of Houston.”

Interviewer- “Texas?”

Interviewee- “Of course you cannoli (see post “What a Cannoli”)! Ok so he lives in the suburbs, and his house has this back yard. It’s pretty big back there not going to lie. And so the backyard is all grass and surrounding the backyard he has bushes that act like a wall between his backyard and other peoples yards you know? Ok so he has this backyard, and his bedroom is the on the second floor, and he has this one big window looking back over the backyard. So this is where it gets creepy. This one night, he was sleeping, and he is a really light sleeper so stuff wakes him easily. Ok so one night he was sleeping, and he wakes up because he hears something weird in the backyard. So he walks to his window, and he sees this stupid clown dude just stumbling around in the backyard, looked like he was drunk or on something to be sure. My friend told me thought it was funny to see this guy bumbling around. So my friend then went back to bed and made a mental note to tell his parents that they should make sure drunk people can’t stumble onto their backyard anymore. So my friend went to bed that night laughing to himself. He told his parents the next morning, and his parents waved it off saying that that was a one-time thing. So my friend goes about his day as normal. Only thing is, is that he wakes up the next night, and hears things coming from his backyard, but the sounds are different. Immediately he is more upset at the noises, and more on edge about the whole situation. So he walks slowly to the window, and sees into his backyard. And in the backyard, with a shovel, is the clown. The clown isn’t bumbling about anymore, and he has a shovel in his hand. The clown is digging, digging into his backyard, and at this point my friend is thoroughly freaked out. He walks back from the window, makes sure all the doors in the house are locked and windows, and goes back to bed to try to sleep, but the sound of the digging kept him up. The next day he tells his parents, and they say that he’s seeing things and he is just a silly guy who always tries to pull something on his parents. They say that it was probably a dog digging for something, because dogs usually do that and the hole left in the back was just a dog and they would fix it soon and have someone come to fill it up. They did admit however that it was quite a big hole, a hole that is far bigger than most dogs can make. They dismiss the idea of the clown none the less. Then came the third night. Once again, my friend woke up in the middle of the night, around three am I think it was. But something is wrong, something is very different this time. A feeling of dread came upon him as he realized he was awake. He knew something was wrong. He didn’t hear anything coming from outside, but he didn’t know why he was awake. He kept telling himself to just go back to bed, to ignore everything in his imagination and just go back to sleep. He told himself not to get out of his bed, but he did. He told himself not to walk across his room over to the window, but he did. He told himself not to look out the window into the backyard, but he did. And there was the clown, with his back to my friend, and he was staring at the hole he had made the night before. In that hole there was a coffin. My friend was very confused. Then the clown bent down and opened the coffin, it was empty. My friend was confused, he didn’t know what was happening. Then the clown turned around and stared at my friend in the eyes. He knew he had been watching. My friend was paralyzed with fear. The clown just stared and him, then the clown pointed at the coffin, and started to laugh. My friend realized the coffin was meant for him. He shook his head to say no, and the clown tilted his head in confusion, even putting his hands on his hips in a comical way. He pointed again at the coffin, and my friend again shook his head. The clown grew upset and now frowned, even showing his teeth a little in hatred. Then the clown once again pointed at the coffin this time forcefully. My friend started to walk backwards slowly, to go tell his parents, but then in a blink the clown was gone, like he had just disappeared, so my friend went up to the window to look and see where the clown had gone. That’s when he heard his closet door creak open, and a creepy laugh coming from behind him.”

(Long pause)

Interviewer- “Is that it? Did anything else happen?”

Interviewee- “Nope that’s it. It turned out to be nothing although my friend doesn’t sleep in that room anymore and hates clowns now. His parents still think he was dreaming.”

Interviewer- “Do you?”

Interviewee- “Ummm no. I think he was telling the truth, at least the truth from his perspective. Maybe he had nightmares that seemed too real, or he had nightmares that were real for him.”

Analyzation:

So there are many parts to this story, and they all seem to work together. There are multiple versions of this story going around, especially recently with the internet being as big as it is today. I personally have read an online story that sounded very similar. In that respect, there are certain things that give it away as being a story that has been told many times. That is not to say that it did not happen, more so to say that it has been converted into a form that is easy to remember and relay to other people. Firstly, the fact that the clown appears in the backyard three times, and the third time is the time that something big happens. Likewise, further into the story, when the clown is pointing at the coffin, he points three times, and the third time is again when something happens. This is prevalent in western culture, this fixation on the number three. Beginning with the Holy Trinity in the Catholic faith, to the three colors of the American flag and many other flags and such. Three strikes and you’re out, the list goes on and on. The number three is integrated heavily into our culture, but natural things do not usually occur in threes, so when things like that do happen in stories, and even twice within the same story, one can discern that it has morphed into more of a story than an actual account of what happened.

Tags: Horror Story, Clown, Backyard

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