Author Archives: dknaack

Andy and the Ghost

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 83
Occupation: Retired Professor
Residence: Louisiana
Date of Performance/Collection: October 24, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

The Story (Over Zoom):
This story is about a little boy named Andy. And Andy was not very cooperative with his mother. He lived alone with his mother, and his mother became ill. She asked Andy to go to the well and get her a cool drink of water. And it was getting night time and Andy says “Nah, I’m scared to go to the well, there’s a ghost that lives in the well”. And his mom says “No, there’s no ghost that lives in the well”. But he wouldn’t go get her a cold drink of water. So that night when they went to bed, he was juuuuust about to sleep, when he heard this sound saying: “AAAAAAANDY I’m on my first step… AAAAAAAAAANDY I’m on my second step… AAAAAAAANDY I’m on your porch… AAAAANDY I’m in your house… AAAAAANDY I’m by your bed… AAAAAANDY I GOT YOU”. *lunges forward as if to grab me*

Context (as given by the informant):
The first time I remember that being played on me was when some of my cousins were visiting and they were three or four years older than what I was, and we were sitting on the front steps of the house where I grew up, and that was one of my early encounters with a ghost story.
It was told as a way to scare younger children.

Analysis:
This story serves two purposes, both as a joke to play on someone unaware, as the ending is a jump scare usually coupled with someone grabbing the listener, but also as a warning. The story tells us that because Andy didn’t listen to his mother and refused to get her water, he was haunted by a ghost. So there’s an element there about respecting one’s elders in addition to the comedic purpose of the tale.

The Ghost of Chloe

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 57
Occupation: Professor (USC)
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: October 24, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

The Story (over Zoom):
There’s a plantation called Myrtle’s that was a South Louisiana plantation outside of New Orleans that General Bradford, who was a famous general, owned. He, like many plantation owners, was sexually assaulting a slave in the house and her name was Chloe. So he had a relationship with Chloe. And Chloe got caught eavesdropping on the family. She was outside a room listening in, and to punish her they cut off her ears. Or maybe an ear. And so to get revenge she slowly poisoned the wife and children of the guy by, in the kitchen, poisoning food. And when she was caught doing that, she was killed, she was hung. And so, Myrtle’s plantation is said to still be haunted by her, if you go to the plantation in South Louisiana and go on tours, they’ll tell you about sightings of Chloe… And she had worn a scarf around her head after her ears were cut off, so y’know, you couldn’t see, and people knew the ghost was Chloe because the ghost has that green scarf on her head.

Context (as given by the informant):
When I was in middle school we did a tour of South Louisiana, a history tour where we went to different places, and that was one of the stories that we heard, that people regularly saw her ghost. If you take a tour there today they’ll tell you the story of Chloe.
The story is a way white guilt about the history of slavery gets manifest. It gets manifest in a way that is indirect, and frames Chloe as at fault.

Analysis:
The story is definitely intertwined with histories of oppression, and it both reflects and documents some of the injustices that occurred in the plantation era south. The use of the story as a tourist attraction is also interesting, as Myrtle plantation (and by association, Chloe) has been commercialized.