USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘nuns’
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Legends
Narrative

Abandoned Nunnery in Oklahoma

Text:

KM: “Apparently there’s this like abandoned nunnery out somewhere in Tulsa, and I had a couple of my friends who got there, obviously trespassing to this place. But it was like, I don’t know, but there were rumors that there were like tapes that were still there even though the place was like abandoned that like showed like really bad things I think that happened there. So they go out there at like night, and they say – there were like 6 of them I think, 4 or 6 or them, and they were like okay we’re going to split up and we’re going to search for these tapes. And so, the person who told me this, he and this other guy, they went up like upstairs, and they were like searching for stuff. But um, my other friend, he went in the basement and they actually found the tape. And when they like picked it up, the like lights flickered in the building. And so, they had to like get out of there and apparently the tape is supposed to be like super creepy and stuff and my friend was just like keeping it in his car for the longest time.”

MS: “Did you ever play the tape, to see what was on it?”

KM: “No I don’t think so – it was a VHS tape so I don’t know. I never really followed up. I’m pretty sure the tape is just in my friend’s car still.”

KM: “But for the longest time, I felt like I was haunted by the nuns after hearing this story because like weird stuff would happen with like my phone and I was like “the nuns are haunting me” so I was convinced… My Twitter AV, this is like stupid, but my Twitter AV, which is like your profile picture on Twitter, I would upload it and it would always just turn to black, just like a black picture and I could never like change it back, and I was like I’m really being haunted by these nuns for listening to this story. Because I think part of the legend was that once you hear the story, or once you know about the tapes, they would target you too so I just remember feeling distinctly uncomfortable knowing this.”

 

Context:

The informant is a Chinese-American college student from Tulsa, Oklahoma. This conversation was part of a discussion among a group of similarly aged people about their high school experiences growing up in various parts of America. The content has been lightly edited, and the removed content is indicated by ellipses.

 

Interpretation:

Even though this is not a first-person account of visiting this apparently haunted nunnery, it still provides us with information because this is how legends typically spread – the informant believes she was haunted by the nuns even though she never took a part in directing interacting with the legend herself. She may have experienced the same “haunting” things even if she hadn’t heard the legend but having heard it, she automatically used its mysterious nature as a way to justify inexplicable things in her life. Also interesting is how the mysterious nature of the tapes gives them their value and so even though they were taken from the original site, they were never actually played to verify the legend one way or the other. This may be an instance of the fear of the “other”. For the modern generation, VHS tapes are not something familiar and have this spooky quality because of that.

 

 

Legends
Narrative

Immaculate Heart Ghost Nun

“So apparently at my school, there’s supposed to be the ghost of some nun, just hanging around… I think it was supposed to be near the auditorium, which was, coincidentally, the center of all school life. The auditorium, is also the gym, so it has all these basketball headboards around it, but we also turn it into the chapel, but it’s also where the plays are held, so it’s like this—the heart of the school, but there’s supposed to be a ghost that inhabits… behind there.

“When I would work on the sets back then, there was this guy, he was about 25 years old, he looked like s stork. There was a guy there, and he would work on the sets of the plays and I would work on them too, and then one day, he just brought it up, saying “yeah, I don’t like to work too late at night, or I have to play loud music,” or something like that because he feels like he’s being watched… He just feels prickles on the back of his neck, or the hairs raise on the back of his neck or something. And then coincidentally, when he mentioned that, my Spanish teacher mentioned that she was really superstitious… she just mentioned that “ah, yea, there was a ghost here and the, the, I talk with the janitors sometimes, and when they were here late at night they feel like they’re being watched from down the hall and they played music don’t want—I guess they just feel like that would protect them somehow from their senses, and they would talk and be superstitious about the ghosts and my friend… umm… from middle school who’s Filipin..a, it seems like always, they, the Filipinos  always have these strange ghost stories, and she would take—she had this picture of us kinda goofing around outside of campus, and there was this sort of silvery figure… this kind of grey figure misting over the… one part of the photo and she would print them out on those regular six by something photos and she was convinced that that was a habit, and she passed them around to I guess my Spanish teacher that actually—the story of how the workers on the campus believed there was a ghost.

“Uh… so I was spooked, for a while—and actually, I remembered it recently, because a mutual acquaintance who goes on lots of dates with people who seem to know my school because he went to our brother school, St. Francis, he just recently texted me and asked me if I knew anything about the Immaculate Heart Ghost because the girl he was recently going out with brought it up too, and she saw some… some nun in the dark corner who smiled at her, and she just thought it was her teacher hanging out in a dark classroom or something like that and she was spooked. So.. I… luckily haven’t seen a ghost because I am easily spooked. And that’s the Immaculate Heart Ghost Nun who was there—but then also I remember that everyone was freaking out when something or another, like this story became popular, and they were looking on the internet, and lo and behold, there were several stories, like ‘ah yea! She inhabits the catwalks in the auditorium and she just hangs around,’ and I don’t remember the back-story about why there was a nun there, but she doesn’t seem to attack people with knives, maybe she just really liked it there, or something.”

 

The informant was informed about this ghost story by her friend, Lucy (who was in the same grade as she), during her senior year at the high school. She remembers her classmates “freaking out” when they discovered that the tale had made its way out of the school itself and into the public domain. There were several stories recounted to her both live (by her classmates and the school staff) as well as online. She was initially skeptical of the veracity of the tales, but she admitted that deep down, in her “animalistic core,” she was spooked and continues to be spooked by it when it’s recounted to her, or when she tells it to other people. She said she was not likely to go up in the catwalks at night, but also added that the ghost was not reputed to be violent, so she was not overly worried about being attacked. She mused that because her school motto was “Women of great heart and right conscience,” the ghost, too must have had a great heart and right conscience. This tale goes against the grain of many ghost stories in that it serves as an example of good behavior, demonstrating that even in death, the women of this high school are respectful and well behaved.

It’s especially fascinating that this story has moved from a very specific and small community to internet because it represents the rapid movement that is often intrinsic to storytelling. This suggests that there is something compelling about this story besides the fact that the nun came from this school that makes it important from a humanistic view. Ghost stories are perhaps so prolific because even people who question the reality of ghosts (such as the informant) find the tales frightening, and take a “better safe than sorry” attitude.

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