Author Archives: Gaurav Malhotra

The Girl on the Computer

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted by a CB.


GM: Has anything happened to you or your family that you can tell me about regarding a weird text or something cyber-related that you couldn’t explain – like an anomaly?


CB: I was 12 years old and I was at my friend’s house playing flag football in his front yard. After a little while, I needed to use the computer so I went inside to my friend Joseph’s house. Joseph’s house is a large Southern style estate with very high ceilings and wood paneled offices. The computer I used was inside one of wood paneled offices. I spent almost an hour on the computer, and when I was about to shut down I saw someone on the screen. Not an image or screensaver, but a very real person on the screen. Naturally, I freaked out for a second and took a double take, but suddenly no one was on it.


When something of this nature happened, I obviously ran away from the computer and yelled out to my friend’s mother: “Sherry, Sherry!!”. I found her in the kitchen and told her I saw something.  She said, “what did you see?” and I said “I was on your computer and I saw something on the screen for a split second”.  She said “You saw something? Did you see a little girl in the mirror about your age (10 or so) with pigtails?” In the moment, my heart skipped a beat because she had described to me exactly what I just saw on the screen before I even yelled her name out. She went on to explain that I’m not the first person see someone on the computer, and that her husband and her husband’s father had both seen the little girl in different computers throughout the house. As far as they knew, no little girl had entered the house in years. From that day forward, going back to her house always terrified me because I thought I would see her again – but I never did.


Conclusion, written by the interviewer:


This story, although experienced by a 10-year-old, shows the incredibly real feeling that cyber ghosts can provide. His friend’s mother’s knowledge of the ghost and acceptance of its recurrence shows that in the modern day, this is how people believe ghosts must appear in our lives. Instead of a dead ancestor lying on the couch or a young girl in a cemetery, most ghosts can now show up on texts or on your local screen. The ghost on the screen was described as very realistic, but haunting and momentary – both elements that have persisted since old ghost stories, but simply in a new format for the 21st century.

The Ghost of Java

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted by a BH.


GM: Has anything happened to you or your family that you can tell me about regarding a weird text or something cyber-related that you couldn’t explain – like an anomaly?


BH: I was in my sophomore year of high school doing my computer science homework. I had to write a program for an assignment that we were given.  I had naturally started on it late at night being the procrastinator that I am. Around midnight, when I was about done with my program, I noticed something strange. I had failed to make my program run several times before this instance, but this time was different: it didn’t even compile.  I went back up to look carefully through the entire program and suddenly almost got a heart attack. One line of code that I had never written had somehow turned up in the Dr. Java program.


Normally when coding, you put two backward slashes before phrases not actually intended to be in the program. However, because these slashes were not placed in front of them, the program read them as actual code and therefore my program was not working. The haunting line said: “Geno is watching you.” Now, obviously I thought this had been a prank, and felt at ease for a second – before realizing that both my parents were fast asleep, and I had never left the computer since I began writing the program. I immediately shut down my computer and went off to sleep – I knew that I would be less scared to deal with this in the morning. Somehow, the next morning the line had vanished, and my program worked flawlessly – but that sentenced never left my mind. I asked my parents, my friends, and my cousins all about this name. No one could tell me anything, until my grandfather told me he had a long-deceased uncle with the name, who he barely remembered. I still have no clue how that line showed up, but if it was the ghost of my great Uncle, maybe I shouldn’t be a computer science major anymore.


Conclusion, written by the interviewer:


This story seems very unbelievable – how could such a random ancestor appear in his code. The natural assumption is that in his tired state, he miswrote some code. However, when he told me that the name Geno actually meant something, I was absolutely stunned. This is yet another example of the “cyber” ghost in our modern age – instead of chilly winds and flickering candles, these supernatural characters can find home in the screens that we spend our entire life around. My friend very genuinely believed that this was the work of a ghost, and was deeply nervous to tell me this story. The past themes of ancestors and late nights shows its evolution in this modern experience, and yet again, the only force to push away the ghost was the light of the following morning.


The Texting Ghost

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted by a VA.


GM: Has anything happened to you or your family that you can tell me about regarding a weird text or something cyber-related that you couldn’t explain – like an anomaly?


VA: My aunt’s friend died 7 years ago in a car accident. It was a hit and run, and the driver escaped and was never caught. My aunt got a text 3 years later from her deceased friend’s number, with a very cryptic message. The text said “Hey Kaira. Car that killed me: LP3 WQ56.” In shock, my aunt didn’t know what to do – she simply kept the phone in her trembling hand. A minute later, she received another text that provided her a location – what or who was at that location, she had no idea.


My aunt tried to use “Find My iPhone”, tried calling the cell provider company, but they told her the number simply didn’t exist. My aunt left for the location, purely motivated by her friend’s death and a will to find out the truth. She showed up at the location, and the conversation had deleted itself.  She found herself inside an empty shack or garage – just like a horror movie. Even though she was really freaking out, she looked around a bit, only to find absolutely nothing – no trace of anyone residing or even visiting the area. Eventually, she was far too scared to continue waiting for something to happen. She left and never received a text or call from that number again, but to this day she is forever fearful of her phone.


She is one of the few in our family to actually believe in ghosts, and she still maintains that that night she was texted by the ghost of her friend – she was just too late to find the killer. She never informed the police because the conversation was gone and she had no proof, but she told me this story to forever remember that there are supernatural powers always watching our actions.


Conclusion, written by the interviewer:


This story shows the modern adaptation of ghostly belief. Initially, ghosts were only seen or felt: if they were far, they were irrelevant. However, the evolution of technology and the presence of it in every aspect of our lives has given rise to cyber ghosts that can contact us in many different ways. This creates deeper mystery and fear, and, in the case of this story, can allow for action. While this story shows ties to much older beliefs, like regret over a friend or relative’s death, it allows text messages to bring the story into a very possible modern day experience that drove my interviewee’s aunt to do things she never rationally would.

The Alaskan Spirit

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted by a PO.


The interviewee overheard my conversation with another student, and offered to provide me with a story of his own strange encounter.


PO: I have a story to tell you too if you’d like! It’s about this really weird trip I took to Alaska.


GM: Sure! Go for it. What happened?


PO: I went to Alaska for a school trip last year with a bunch of kids from my school. One night, me and 3 other friends were told by an upperclassman of this island nearby where we were camping that was once owned by an extremely wealthy man, but recently died. Being stupid and adventurous, we chose to take one of my friends’ boats and make the short trip to the secluded island late at night while the rest of the group was asleep. Upon reaching the edge of the island, we instantly noted a very weird aura in the area. While there was no human in sight, we began to observe some of the wildlife and their antagonistic attitude towards us. These were not vicious animals: crabs, birds, and insects. We chose to stay the night there (again, stupid adventure). I woke up in the middle of the night to find easily 10-15 crabs surrounding the four of us, as if they were in a cult. The screeching of birds and deafening cricket chirps made all of use jump up from our mats and start sprinting towards the boat. We all rowed back to the mainland at the fastest we’ve ever rowed, and never looked back.


GM: Did you see any person or apparition of any sort as you were leaving?


PO: No, but there was definitely a spirit possessing the nature of the area. All the crabs, birds, and crickets were in a sort of rhythm – under a kind of spell. They were synchronized and coordinated, as if under the control of a human. We all think it was because we trespassed into the deceased man’s territory, and his spirit thought of us as intruders.


Conclusion, written by the interviewer:


This story is one that shows no evidence of a human or ever transparent apparition: but it undoubtedly felt like a ghost story to the interviewee. He was terrified and held genuine belief that there was a spirit controlling the area, and all four of them felt it. For an outsider, it may seem like the presence was a long shot, made up in the mind of the subject. However, the significance of the story to him shows that the “spirit” was definitely present, and had a purpose: to keep his “master” and his land protected.

Positive Energy

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interiewee’s responses are denoted by a VA.

GM: Has anything happened to you or your family that you found strange and inexplicable?

VA: Like, a supernatural presence?

GM: Yes, anything along the lines of that. Can you tell me about a certain such incident?

VA: Okay, this isn’t really like a ghost story, but I still can’t think of scientific reasoning for it so I’ll tell you it. In 7th grade, my parents decided to buy a house in Gurgaon, just outside of New Delhi. The house was at a very good location at a very good price. The only reason the house hadn’t been sold yet because of the direction it faced. Really silly stuff for people outside of India to hear that, but it’s a very common thing in India to make sure your house faces north and east.

GM: Why do you think that is?

VA: Generally, it has to do with the sun. Since the sun rises in the east, and north is generally synonymous with “up” and “good”, both those directions are preferred. Having the sun rise in front of your house is considered a good omen, bringing positive energy in. This house, however, faced directly Southeast. Most of our relatives and friends strongly advised against buying the house because of the stereotype I just mentioned. However, my family, generally not religious, thought that it was a silly idea to only buy houses that faced a certain as all directions could be peaceful if the people inside remained happy. So, my parents went ahead and bought the house. Within a couple of months, we moved in, and initially everything seemed fine. Now, I don’t know if this was because of the paranoia stemming from our social pressures, but somehow strange things started happening in the house after a few weeks. The first night that something strange happened, my parents were awoken by loud sounds coming from the kitchen. I was young and deep sleepers so I assumed my parents were just being paranoid. However, more weird things started happening over the course of the next year. I found myself having weird nightmares. Sometimes, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and my bed would be covered in sweat. My parents at the didn’t feel comfortable: it didn’t feel like the type of house anyone wants to come back home from work every day.

VA: You see, the people inside the house weren’t happy: there was no positive energy. Whether this was because of influences from others, or whether there was a genuine lack of positive energy in that house, I’ll never know. Despite the fact that my parents didn’t believe in the directional theory earlier, we were eventually convinced that there was some truth to this idea. So, the next year we moved to another house, strictly facing East, and sold the other one. We lost a lot of money in the process, but my parents have no regrets: today we live in a house that we all feel comfortable coming back to each night.

Conclusion, written by the interviewer:

This story shows the fine line between self-guided perception and the belief of a genuine supernatural force. Had there been no preconceptions going in to the house, this would have been a much more concrete ghost story: but such stories are never concrete in the real world. A “weird experience” is the name given to such events not only as a means to repress them but also to understand them. My interviewee still did not think there was a ghost present, but that they went against nature – a dark energy, in hindsight, was inevitable for him. This story is told by an international student from India, and I especially chose to ask him for a story because I knew that not only would the social views be different, but his reaction to the weird events as well. While loud noises in the US could be attributed to a poltergeist or spirit, he just noted a “lack of positive energy” –nothing more.