Author Archives: jvanorman

The Lady in the Green Dress

Nationality: Italian
Primary Language: English
Other language(s): n/a
Age: 52
Occupation: Civil Defense Attorney
Residence: North Salt Lake, UT
Performance Date: 11/25/2023

Tags: Green Dress, Ghosts, Gothic Hotel, Dreams

Text: “Ever since I could remember, my mom had this recurring nightmare of the same figure. In her dream, there was this lady with long hair who was wearing a long, green dress. Everything about her seemed stretched. The dreams were so prominent that the Lady in the Green Dress was a household name. She never extended her reach outside of dreams, however, until her and her second husband’s anniversary. To celebrate, the couple booked a night at some old, decrepit hotel. She can’t remember the name of it, but said it reminded her of the Bate’s Motel from Psycho. On the first night at midnight, my mom said she woke up and felt the air around her go heavy, and when she opened her eyes, the Lady in the Green Dress was hovering no more than six inches above her. The fog immediately cleared from her head as she froze, staring at this floating apparition from her dreams. After a few moments, she registered what she was seeing, bolted out of bed, and screamed.”

Context: KV’s mom was not a spiritual person. She always took a practical, scientific approach to things. Therefore, it’s surprising that she’d share, and more importantly believe, a story like this. As for the informant, KV firmly believes in ghosts, therefore this story was not difficult for her to share, in fact, however, she made it known her mom constantly talked about the lady in the green dress throughout her childhood. She mentioned how this was the one exception her mom made to her belief in the supernatural. 

Analysis: This is a classic ghost story involving many examples of liminal spaces. For example, the initial appearance of the apparition occurred, and recurred, in a dream. Dreams occur in the REM stage of the sleep cycle, a paradoxical stage in which the mind acts as if it were awake, but the body is paralyzed. Additionally, the couple stayed at an old hotel, giving the impression of a classic, gothic haunted house typical of many ghost stories. The apparition appeared to KV’s mom at midnight, the liminal period between two days. While all of these elements are reminiscent of a classic ghost story, I myself am not completely convinced of an actual haunting. I believe the Lady in the Green Dress was in fact a character in a recurring nightmare, however, as the supposed physical appearance occurred during the night, I believe it may have just been a very convincing dream. However, who is to say the Lady in the Green Dress did not appear to KV’s mom that night, for dreams may exist in a space between the living realm and the realm of the dead.

We’d Better Go In

Nationality: American
Primary Language: English
Other language(s): n/a
Age: 78
Occupation: Retired Nurse
Residence: Bountiful, UT
Performance Date: 11/25/2023

Tags: Ghosts, Ancestors, Family, Hospital

“I remember when my dad was in the hospital, dying of bone cancer. He was simultaneously stricken with horrible Alzheimer’s, which meant he could never tell you his pain level to give any indication of the necessary dosage for his medication. Therefore, he was under perpetual surveillance. My sister, her husband, and I paid him a visit at some point in time. My husband was out of town, otherwise, he would have been there too. I remember us three sitting outside on the porch, it was an old-folks hospital so they had porches like that, positioned right in front of the entrance to my dad’s room. We were talking about the ball game we had watched the night prior and some family gossip when all of a sudden, my brother-in-law said in the calmest tone, “B. just walked in, we’d better go inside.” B. is my older brother, well, was my brother as he died a few years back. Naturally, I was shocked when my brother-in-law reported his ghost entering my dad’s hospital room. We did as he suggested and went inside to see my father in an otherwise empty room. The nursing staff arrived shortly after, just as my dad’s eyes went big – he looked startled at something on the ceiling – and just a short three minutes after we walked in, Daddy died.”

Context: This story is from CV talking about her brother-in-law, GP. CV reports GP has always been a spiritual person, frequently recounting his encounters with the dead and ghosts. Before this occurrence, CV believed that when we die, familiar people come and “pick us up.” This story, then, was a confirmation of that, as her brother, B., supposedly came and picked up her father. She claims his eyes bulged and he looked shocked just before his passing, as he could see B. standing there to collect him, but nobody else could.

Analysis: This is a sort of ancestral ghost story, reminiscent of many religious perspectives, particularly Christian, of the afterlife. Dealing with the liminal moments just before a person dies, this tale gives an optimistic take on what happens after we die. That is, we rejoin with our deceased relatives and watch over our living ones. Many elements, such as the naming of the deceased B., walking inside the hospital minutes before CV’s father’s passing, being isolated from the hospital room, and the nursing staff arriving nearly simultaneously make this story difficult to explain via coincidence. However, I am okay with that, as I’d rather accept a positive afterlife over one filled with horror and eeriness.