A Cuban Haunting


I was traveling to Cuba when it was legal once again, and I was staying in this apartment place, kind of like an Airbnb. It was a really old place, and I could definitely see it being a place where a maid could have killed the family inside, maybe during the Revolution. I woke up in the middle of the night because I felt a tickling on my foot. This wasn’t just any tickling. It was a distinct tickling feeling. I could tell that I wasn’t dreaming because the feeling woke me straight up. The room was pitch black, so I couldn’t see anything. But I did hear a heavy breathing in the corner of the room. It was like [heavy breathing sounds]. I even stopped breathing myself to make sure I wasn’t making the noise, but the breathing continued! I didn’t leave the room because I wasn’t that scared. I was more like… the fuck? I think it was more scared of me than I was of it, so I didn’t feel the need to leave the room.



Context: This story was told to me by the respondent in a dorm room at USC. It was late at night on a Tuesday, at around 11 PM. The respondent did not hear this story from another individual, but rather experienced the story firsthand around one year ago.

Respondent’s Beliefs: The respondent clearly believed in the story, as it was a personal experience. He never showed any signs of doubt, and even cited instances of proof that the story was real, such as holding his breath to make sure he wasn’t the one making the noise. The respondent is an atheist, yet he still believes that a spirit was able to visit him in the apartment.

Motifs: The respondent’s story reflects many common motifs in ghost stories throughout different cultures. First, despite no evidence that the Cuban Revolution was somehow connected to the apartment, the respondent claimed that the Revolution could have somehow caused the death of a family inside. This relates to how ghost stories often reflect historical tragedies that haunt society. Second, the respondent claimed that the spirit may have been murdered. Many ghost stories involve murders because tragic deaths are more likely to lead to a reason for a spirit to stay on Earth. Finally, the respondent’s use of sensory details is very similar to how most people attempt to justify a ghostly experience. The respondent cited touch and hearing as a way to validate the claim that a ghost was in the room, and this is the most common way that people justify ghostly experiences. Thus, the respondent’s story fits with traditional ghost narratives.