USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘spooky’
general
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

Larry and the Dog

Larry and the Dog

informant: Okay so there was this guy and his dog and they were out in the middle of the woods with this house that they were going to redo for his own personal use. Anyways . . . so he decided to just move into the house so he didn’t have to go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And then at about 2 a.m the dog starts like freaking out. . . oh his name is Larry. Anyways so [a voice] is like,

“Laaaaaaary, I can see you” and Larry’s like,

“whhhhhhaaaaaat?????”. And he was all freaked out and then the voice was like, “Larry, I’m 10 feet away” and then it disappeared. And then the next night, at the exact same time, the dog started like freaking out and the voice was like,

“Laaarry, I’m on your porch”.  And then the next night the dog flipped out again at the same time and was like,

“Laaaaaarrry, I’m outside your bedroom door”. And then the next night, the dog didn’t bark, so he opened his bedroom door and there was the dog . . . . DEAD. And then he heard a voice that said,

“Larry, I’m behind you” and then he turned around and then he died.

Interviewer: Where did you hear this story?

Informant: My friend told it to me at school

Interviewer: Do you know where she heard the story?

Informant: I have no idea

Interviewer: Who do you typically tell the story to?

Informant: I haven’t told the story since like, 5th grade

  Interviewer’s notes:

The informant’s tale is in accordance with Olrik’s Epic Laws of Folk Narrative, specifically and prominently, the law of repetition. The repetition effectively divides the story into discernible narrative parts and the builds suspense for the audience, which is especially important as the story was told orally. Also the age of the informants when she first heard the tale is possibly significant. The informant, in fifth grade, was on the cusp of puberty, as children are trying the sort out childhood fears and anxieties with that of adult expectations. Stories like this bring fears to the forefront so that they may be expelled by the time the children reach adulthood.

Folk Beliefs
Legends

Gate to hell

“So there are seven gates to hell, and this is one of them. It’s this old cemetery in the middle of nowhere, it used to have a church and a small town, and it’s in the middle of nowhere, and people just think it’s a portal to hell. And there’s just sketchy stuff that happens there all the time.”

 

Here my informant is talking about a cemetery near her hometown in Kansas. She remembers growing up hearing supernatural stories about the area, and she told me that she refuses to go near it to this day. As the story goes, there are seven gates to hell, but only five have been found (she was unclear about where the other five are located). Some of the “sketchy stuff” involves the disappearance of animals and people; she remembers stories from when she was in high school about friends of friends going missing, never to be found again.

This is a classic urban legend; a local spot is chosen because it is “spooky” looking, and it is said to be supernatural in some way. There must be thousands of similar spots across the US.

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