Author Archives: Anisha Jagannathan

The Helping Hands

This story was told to me by a fellow student, Priya, and is a personal experience of hers involving an eerie yoga camp.

Priya: ” So we were in yoga camp, and yoga camp already has a creepy vibe cause it was beside a mental asylum, like actually because you know they say yoga is therapeutic.  So we were all split into groups and we had to do dances, and I was with my friend, and my friend and I went to this auditorium and there was no one there…are you listening? Well ok,  And it was this HUGE auditorium, no one else was there everyone else was at dinner, and we had to like set up for our performance and whatever, and this never happens, but we were on stage and between like these HUGE curtains, like they were HUGE, um and the lights go off.  And like I grab her, and we like entangled for a couple of seconds, and it was freaky cause it was dark, and like we were young, and away from our parents, and we thought that we would get raped, and the lights came back on and we ran.  And then I talked to her and I was like, ‘I’m so glad I had you to hold on to,’ and she was like, ‘what do you mean.’ *nervous laugh* IT WAS SO WEIRD, it was so weird cause it was like I held on to hands, its not like I held on to some pillar I held on to actual hands, like around me, no one else was on stage just me and my friend the whole auditorium was completely empty…it was weird, it already had this really creepy, like if you went into some parts it had these creepy vibes. (in reference to the yoga camp).”

Me: ” So you it was just you two , you went in, the lights went off, you hugged someone…”

Priya: ” we were leaving, onstage, and we were getting on to leave, and we were onstage between the curtains, and the lights go off, and then I grab like I just grabbed someone in between the curtains, because I thought she was right in front of me, so I just grab hands, like actual hands, and then we ran because it was so creepy, and then we ran back to the dinner place and then I was like ‘I was glad I had you to hold on to’ and she said ‘you didn’t hold my hand.’  I mean I didn’t want to think about it much then because I had to think about the dance performance or whatever…but ya…”

Priya decided to tell this story because it was something from her childhood that still affects her, and since it was at a vulnerable stage in her life.  She felt that yoga is a pretty creepy thing, because it is usually an out of body experience, and she felt that there is something surreal, ethereal about it.  She and fellow campers found out there was a mental asylum near by, before this incident, and the camp became eerie after they found out.

This is a great story, following the story themes of “creepy camp” surroundings, near by threat (mental asylum), and psychological affects of being separated from protection (camp away from parents.)  Priya pointed out she was young and away from her parents when she experienced this, showing how she felt vulnerable to danger.  This vulnerability is specifically pointed out when she mentions that they were afraid of getting raped, also a theme most tragic ghost storied involve.  This was also a liminal period in her life, when she was growing up and adjusting to being a teenager.  She mentions they found out about the asylum before this incident, so they were already weary of scary things to occur.  Add that to the fact they were alone in an overwhelmingly large building, and you have the perfect setting for terror to occur.  With the “huge” curtains and stage, Priya could imagine “something” easily lurking in the darkness.  The fact that the lights going off in the stage “never happens” makes Priya and her friend feel something has gone wrong, and strange stuff can occur when things are out of place.  Priya talks to her friend afterwards and thanks her for her comforting support, and when the friend replies that she did not hold on to Priya, they both come to the conclusion, based on the eerie camp and mental asylum near by, that something “not human” held Priya, since they were both alone, and felt vulnerable to attack.  She mentions again and again the creepy vibes the camp gave her, so this conclusion was easy to come to for them.  The fact that she held actual hands stuck with her, because of the creepiness of the contrast from the emotional support she got in the moment and the horrible discovery afterwards.  She also validates the asylum’s nearness to the camp, stating that yoga is therapeutic, so the patients in the mental asylum could use the camp to their benefit, and may even haunt some areas in the camp.

The White Figure

This ghost story was told to me by my mother, Radha, who lives in Northern California and is a family therapist for a living.  It was told to her by her father, who claims it all to be completely true.

“It was a dark night, and three men, including my dad, were driving back home from a business meeting,” she starts.  “They had a flat tire and it delayed them, so when they did start to drive, the only road they could take back was very dark and desolate. They only had their headlights to see ahead.  There was not one soul out there.”  “They were concerned another tire would go flat, so they wanted to get home as quickly as possible.  However, as they started driving down the road, they saw a narrow bridge in the distance, one they would have to cross.  On that narrow bridge, they saw a white figure standing near the side.  Their hearts pounded as they drove closer to the white figure, and as they approached the bridge, they saw it was a crazy woman, in all white clothing, with crazy eyes and flowing black hair.  She stared at each one of them through the car with a deranged smile, and even touched the car.”  “They screamed and sped through the bridge, and when they looked back to the bridge moments after seeing her, she vanished.”

My mom wanted to tell this story because it was an interesting family anecdote for her, and also partly to scare me as a child.  She heard it from her father, and remember him being too terrified to tell the story than to have any motive to scare my mom.

This story has all the classic elements of a ghost story: dark night, lonely road, and “white” ghost.  The stark contrast of the white woman in the dark of the night makes this story all the more scary.   The men were already weary of danger, because of a flat tire that caused them to delay and want to rush home through the darkness.  They almost subconsciously anticipated danger, because of their surroundings and unstable car. My mother also claimed that my grandfather found out there was a mental asylum near the road.  They figured the ghost had come from there to haunt anyone who passed.  The deranged smile the woman had led the men to believe she was in fact insane, and intent on them driving off the road.  The fact that she allegedly touched the car made the horror real for the men.  My mother used to replicate the deranged face of the woman in order to scare me and my brother even further when she told us this story.  This ghost story could serve as a warning to be weary when you drive on dark roads, cause there may be dangers ahead.