Author Archives: Kayla Carlisle

Killer Upstairs

So when I was younger all the kids in the elementary school were scared of going upstairs. You know the parents say go upstairs to my room and get x object. And you’re all downstairs, the lights are all off upstairs, so you always run up the stairs to get, to get the stuff and run back down, because there was a story going round that a guy went up to his parent’s room to get a, uh, a remote, a TV remote or something like that, and he got killed by a killer who only goes up there when the kids are told to go up there by their parents. So all the kids were afraid, and um, I was literally terrified, because I knew for a fact . . . there is a guy in there! There wasn’t though.

This story is an urban legend spread by elementary school children. It was told to initiate children, as older children in-the-know could tell younger children this to scare them, without believing it themselves. It was also told by children who might have believed, as many children are afraid of the darker and being alone, even in their own house. Going upstairs to a parent’s room in the dark to retrieve something can be a terrifying experience. This story helps rationalize why one should feel afraid to go upstairs alone as a child.

Bloody Mary

Euclid Avenue Elementary School has one of the oldest buildings in the LAUSD. In the basement of the C building was the bathroom, restricted to all students. The ultimate dare in the 3rd grade. Who has the guts to stay in a dark restricted bathroom? To resurrect the ghost of a little dead girl? The rules: make sure the lights are all off and splash water in the mirror, then say the words 5 times: Blood Mary. If done right, she would appear in to the mirror and take judgment on you. If you sinned, she takes your soul, if you’re pure, she would leave you be.

The tale first brewed and echoed the hallways in the 2nd grade. The 6th graders dare the 5th, the 5th to the 4th, and the 4th to the 3rd graders. It was a right of passenge here at Euclid elementary, the day came when it was our turn to conjure up spirits and play necromancer.

As the performer of this piece of folklore said, this is a right of passage. The story of the ghost of Bloody Mary is a way to test and prove one’s courage to one’s older peers. This is an interesting variation of the challenge, as one repeats the name 5 times, rather than the more popular rule of 3 in most American folklore. Furthermore, water is splashed on the mirror, and the ghost seems to be tied to this particular bathroom. These variations seem to have made the rite of passage more accessible to male children, as Javier was aware of, and observed the practice of this elementary school tradition.

Story of Booty Itches

This is the story of Booty Itches. People used to tell it on the playground because it’s hilarious. There once was uh, uh, uh a little boy named Booty Itches. And, uh, on the first day of school he went to class and his mom said, uh, or his teacher said, uh, “What’s your name?” “Booty Itches,” he said. And then the teacher said, “Uuuuuh, okay, funny. What’s your real name?” And he said, “Booty Itches!” “And she said, “Okay, uuuuh, I’m getting mad now, to tell you, I’ll ask you one more time and I’ll send you to the principal’s office. What’s your name?” “Booty Itches!” So he gets sent to the principal’s office. Um, and the principal said, “Okay, son! You’re new here. What’s your name?” He said, “Booty Itches!” Uh, the principal was all like, “Haha, funny! What’s your name?” “Booty Itches!” he said. He said it one more time and the principal got mad, so sent him home. And on the way home, um, he got hit by a car, and his mom saw it. And his mom said, “Oh, my poor Booty Itches!” And the police said, “So why don’t you scratch it?”

This story is a joke told by elementary school children. The joke deals with potty humor (such as the name Booty Itches), and violent death. Both of these subjects are taboo, and potty and body humor is popular among elementary school children. As is the wordplay found in the punch line: “my poor booty itches!” Which in this case refers to a person named “Booty Itches.” Word play is popular among elementary school children, because most children at this age are still developing an understanding of words and grammar.

This maerchen also has an element of blason populaire. This joke could be a way for children to talk about how many unusual, non-English names sound like certain words in English–at times to amusing effect. The name “Booty Itches” is an extreme, and perhaps insulting, example of a non-traditional, non- English name that a character in the joke possesses. The joke also illustrates the lack of integration and acceptance children with unusual, non-English names may experience within the school system. Police, in addition to school authorizes, is unknowledgeable or unwilling to listen to or believe this student who has such an unusual name.

Children would tell this joke to friends and classmates to gain acceptance and form groups based on humor. Although children would probably hear a joke like this many times from classmates (as repeating jokes is more popular with children) each child would try to tell the story better than the others to be thought of as funny, and therefore gain popularity.

Empire Hotel Marquee Ghost

The theater in my hometown is several hundred years old, from back when uh Salisbury, North Carolina used to be one of the centers of the state economy. There were a lot of famous actors that went there. Charlie Chaplin went there. Sarah Bernhardt went there, and other stage actors. And the legend has it that there was a passageway that went under the theater, under the street, to the hotel across the way where they would stay. It was called the Empire Hotel. And, um, I went down there one time. It’s sealed off.
Apparently there at one time was a secret passage. People have told me a lot of different things. It could have been an air conditioning shaft. But it was structurally unsound so it’s gone. But they say that the big stars went under there to the hotel. I’ve been in both places.
One time I was in the Empire Hotel. I was—I don’t know if I believe in ghosts or not! But I know I heard one. You’ll understand what I mean if you have too. I was on the third floor of this Empire Hotel after filming, it was Halloween night, I know that sounds really cheesy, buuuuut, I was looking around, just taking pictures for the heck of it, it was really dark, it’s abandoned now, so it’s completely empty, and I got the keys from the manager of the city. When from downstairs, the bottom of the staircase in the back came this like, “meaerrrrrrrrgh!” Like groaning sound. Ha, how are you gonna type that? Um it happened twice. I was with a friend and we both heard it, and we were both just like frozen in terror. And, um, then he was scared out of his mind and I was like let’s go downstairs and check this out. And we did. And we didn’t see anything there except this old, like, boiler, coal room.
But then we asked this sort of living-legend guy Clyde, who has no last name in our town, what that was and he told us it was a certain ghost whose name I don’t remember, who used to stand on his head on the marquee of the theater. Uh, that’s all I know about him.

This is a ghost story FOAF that I, for one, will be spreading. It is a ghost story based upon the town’s rich history. The ghost is apparently known to haunt the Empire Hotel. The hotel is actually infamous for its paranormal activity, as is the town of Salisbury, and the ghost Clyde tells my friend about it not the only ghost known to inhabit the Empire Hotel. Ghost stories are popular about the Empire, because it is an old place where a lot of history took place. Besides, old abandoned buildings are always disturbing—especially on Halloween night. The story gives importance to, and knowledge of the town’s rich history. While in America, especially, such creepy events are likely to be interpreted as ghosts, my friend and his pal might have interpreted the strange sound differently if they were from another culture. They also probably would not have suspected it was a ghost if they had heard the sound during the day, in a different building, and not on Halloween night.

Rally Monkey

Okay, uh, in like, um, in like 2000, so like the 2000, 2001, baseball season, uh, the Los Angeles Angels, who, er, at the time they were the Anaheim Angels, uh, they were losing in a regular season game with the Giants, and, uh, during like the bottom of the 8th inning, uh, one of the, on the Jumbo Tron, one of the graphics people, uh, played a clip from Ace Ventura, the Jim Carrey movie, that had like uh, uh, a foot long monkey running around, and they wrote, uh, “Rally Monkey” on it, and so the crowd that went to the Jumbo Tron, and I guess they kind of laughed about it, and in that inning the Angels came back and won, and so that became a huge phenomenon for like Angels fans and stuff. Even throughout the MLB it was like a iconic thing. It was like the Rally Monkey they would call it. And, uh, it got to the point they would bring, they actually, the Angeles organization actually bought like a monkey, I guess, and they had like a little Angel’s hat, and they’d bring it out, uh, in between innings. And the crowd would go crazy for it, and they started selling, uh, like plush toys of it that people would buy. Like I had one. And, um, so like whenever in the later end, the later innings, when the Angel’s were losing, uh, you’d like swing the monkey around, so you’re in the stadium, there’d be like hundreds—like thousands of people, all just like swinging monkeys around, and yelling, like, “Rally Monkey time!” And in the 2002 season, uh, they ended up winning the World Series, and it was like at the height of like the Rally Monkey era, like they would play it on the Jumbo Tron and it was like there were known for like, “Oh, the Rally Monkey!” stuff. And so they won the World Series and that’s the highest honor you can get, and so that was like a huge part of the season. And, um, after that season the Rally Monkey was around, but they started losing a lot, and now it’s gone forever. And it was kind of like, uh, a 2 season thing that’s gone now.

This is the story of the rise and fall of a sports tradition. The Rally Monkey was a superstitious, homeopathic form of magic, where swinging a plush monkey could bring luck to the players of the Angels. The tradition died after the Angels won the World Series and started losing, and it is now a part of the team’s and the fans’ heritage. Knowing about the Rally Monkey also was a way of creating group identity and community. One had to be initiated into the team fan group to be aware of the superstition, and to understand why Ace Ventura would play at the Angels games. At the time you were not really a fan unless you knew the tradition and participated.