Author Archives: Devin Kidde

Sleepy Hollow Road

Background: This piece was a common piece of folklore within the informant’s community. He lived on Sleepy Hollow Road, so parents in the community adopted the tale of the headless horseman and used it to scare their children, and prevent them from wandering around unsupervised.

Context: This ghost story was performed to an audience of one, in the village dining hall.

Body: I lived on sleepy hollow road so in my neighborhood there was like the typical legend, I’m pretty sure the guy was headless on a horse or something, so we would stay with our parents and walk around. Whenever Halloween would come around, the kids on our street would be scared by it, so we would want to walk with our parents. Our parents would use it as a ploy to make sure people we not leave the house without them. Like he’ll get us basically. Ironically, like, I’m actually pretty far from the actual town of sleepy hallow.

I believe that this piece is a tool which parents who lived on the street of sleepy hollow adopted from a pre-existing myth to prevent their children from wandering off and misbehaving.

For another version of this legend, see “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.

Biking Grandpa of Kaohsiung

Background: This legend was commonly told in the area around Kaohsiung. The informant did not live in Kaohsiung, but nearby on the mainland.

Context: This story was performed in an Architecture studio, for an audience of two, in order to pass time while working on projects.

“There is a little island adjacent to my hometown called Kaohsiung. There are two ways to get to the island. The first is by ship, and the other is through a tunnel that we built under the sea. Usually the travel time using the tunnel is about half an hour, but for some people it will take up to two hours to get there. During that tunnel traveling people have found that the common thing is they have always met this grandpa biking. When they see that grandpa, it takes a longer time to travel. For some reason when you drive, you may be going 50 miles per hour, but the Grandpa is still biking fast enough to pass you. “

Car rides can be very boring, and in order to pass the time it is common to tell exciting stories. Providing a supernatural explanation to why your trip was is taking so long could be a welcome relief from that same monotonous travel.

Rice Ball/ Human Heart.

Background: The Informant was enlisted in Taiwan’s Military for two years, where he heard this story from his fellow soldiers.

Context: This story was performed in an Architecture studio, for an audience of two, in order to pass time while working on projects.

Body: “I learned this in the military in Taiwan. When you are a scout especially at night there are not many residential areas around the base. There are mostly old people around the base, who make money by selling food to the military people. Sometimes when you are scouting you will see a granny with a little cart selling rice balls. When a scout asks to buy a rice ball, the grandma says “OK” and takes out a human heart. ”

This was likely a scary legend told amongst soldiers in order to create a sense of solidarity regarding the eeriness of their situation, considering that many of them relocated from more populous areas.

The Old Lady, and the Siblings

Background: This story was told to the informant by his parents.

Context: This tale was performed in the Architecture studio, for an audience of two, in
order to pass time while working on projects.

“So when kids don’t want to go to sleep in Taiwan, their parents tell this to them. A brother and a sister when their parents left for the night hear a knock on the door. An old woman comes in. At night the old woman eats one of the siblings. One night the old woman woke up and ate the brother. The sister hears the sound of chewing, so she woke up and asks the woman what she is eating. The old woman says, “Oh, I’m eating peanuts” and then she just throws the sister one of her brother’s fingers, “Oh, here’s a peanut”. The sister freaks out because of this, and says “Oh, I need to go pee” and then she goes outside and climbs a tree. The old woman comes out and says “I want to eat you too.” The sister tells the old lady “First I need a pot of hot water.” So the old lady takes the hot water outside, and brings it to the sister. The sister says, “Ok, Im going to jump.” The woman opens her mouth so that she can jump in, but the sister pours the hot water into her mouth instead. “

This tale is likely a cautionary one told by parents to convince their children not to trust strangers, and let them into their house. It also encourages creative thinking on the part of the sister to get out of a sticky situation.

Vanishing Hitchhiker Pele

Context: This myth was performed in an apartment to an audience of 3 people.

Background: The informant is from Hawaii, where this myth is popular.

“Pele was the goddess of Lava. One of the things that goes around that’s like a, I don’t know if it’s a myth. She was into some guy, but the guy was getting with her sister so she became some lava monster and chased him away. But they say if you’re driving under the mountain, because there’s a tunnel that goes under the mountain. That if you see an old lady with like white hair there and she’ll try to hitch hike. They’ll say that that’s Pele and sometimes she’ll just appear in your back seat.”

Car rides can be very boring, so it makes sense that the legend of Pele would be adopted into the form of a hitchhiking old lady: It serves as an interesting story which can help to pass the time during monotonous car trips.