Author Archives: Lauren Tam

The Ghost of 12th Street

My roommate was at first hesitant to tell me her ghost story, but once she started, she did so with enthusiasm. We were sitting at the table in our living room having dinner when she finally agreed to tell me about her supernatural experience. Of course, the lights were dimmed before hand to achieve an appropriately scary atmosphere.


“A couple of years ago in New Westminster, on 12th street, there was this 13 year-old girl who was living with an abusive foster family. She had tried to run away a couple of times, but the people she was staying with would call the police each time and they would just find her and bring her back. No one believed her when she said that they were hitting her and stuff.

Eventually, she committed suicide by riding her bike into oncoming traffic. They say you can see her ghost in a red hoodie when you drive by there sometimes. A guy once supposedly saw her heading right at him, but he didn’t have time to stop or swerve, so he just drove right into her. He went right through her like she wasn’t even there.

I’m not saying I saw her or anything, but this one time, I was in the car with my mom, and we were driving down the street, and I saw this girl in a red hoodie riding a bike towards us on the opposite side of the road. I couldn’t really see, but from where I was it looked like her face was totally messed up; she was all white and she like had no nose. She passed by us, and I turned around in my seat to look back at her, but she wasn’t there anymore.”


When asked if she really believes that the 13 year-old girl haunts the street she died on, my roommate remains adamant  that she’s simply saying she saw something that resembled what the legend says the ghost looks like, and refuses to explicitly state that she either saw a ghost or believes in them. Still, it is interesting to note that this is the story, along with her own personal account, that she volunteered when asked for a ghost story.

My roommate is from Vancouver and says that this story is a favorite among local high school students living near the area. The story about the girl committing suicide was apparently on the news in the weeks that followed her death, and according to my roommate, sightings of her ghost by friends at school followed shortly in the months that passed and were extremely common the spring of 10th grade, a little over two years before she recounted the story to me.

In my roommate’s opinion, the meaning of the story is clear. The girl should not have killed herself, and the fact that people claim she’s now stuck on earth as a ghost reflects the societal disapproval of her actions. More than that however, she believes that the story resonates with so many young adults because, at its core, it is the tale of someone who was their age when they made the grave decision to take their own life. Turning the incident into a ghost story provides a way of discussing that very serious issue in a manner that is considered more casual to talk about, and can sometimes even be entertaining, which might make young people feel more at ease as opposed to a somber conversation.

I think the story is interesting because it perpetuates the common ghost story motif of spirits being created out of traumatic deaths, and the aspects of the abusive foster family and no one believing or helping the girl also add to the idea of a wrongful death. That the girl was a child being mistreated makes her one of the many ghosts that was created out of someone who was disempowered while they were alive. Though she may have been powerless to escape her aggressors while living, in death as a ghost, she is able to bring fear to people regardless of what control they might have had over her while she was living.

The Ghost of Lanai

“There’s this island in Hawaii called Lanai, which is really sparsely populated and rural. It’s really small, and you can drive across it in like an hour. On the island there’s this lodge that’s said to be haunted. Everyone on the island knows the story.
The lodge used to be a hospital during WWII, but now it’s rented out for large groups on vacation, and a lot of schools bring students there for hiking. There was once this class of third graders from Oahu who went on a field trip there, and on their first day, these two boys thought it would be fun to play a joke on one of their classmates.
While everyone was unpacking, they went to the back of the lodge where no one went and tricked one of the girls into a closet. They locked her in there, and since it was far enough away from the other rooms, no one could hear her pounding on the door to get out.
After that, the class left to go explore the island, and by the time everyone got back, the boys had forgotten about her.
Three days later, when the class was preparing to leave, the teachers realized she was missing and searched the lodge for her. The boys didn’t want to admit to what they had done, so they pretended to search too.
Finally, the teachers saw the blocked off closet and found the girl inside, still alive, but really scared. There were scratch marks on the inside of the door that she had made with her nails.
She never spoke after that, and eventually she killed herself once she became a teenager. Her ghost haunts the house now.
My school went on a trip there one time, and I didn’t see anything, but when we first got there, before any of us had ever heard the story, the two girls that had been assigned to the room where the girl had been locked in the closet asked to be moved because they felt too uncomfortable to stay there.”

This is the first account that came to my neighbor’s mind when I asked him if he knew any ghost stories. Born and raised in Hawaii, he first heard the story when he was in fifth grade, around seven years ago, during a campfire story-telling session when he was visiting Lanai with his school.
When asked whether he believes this story is true, he responds that though he never saw anything himself, he does believe it because of all the people who say they have felt the spirit’s presence. According to him, the tale is a way of giving the very secluded island its own sense of history and heritage, something that is distinctly theirs that everyone claiming to come from Lanai is familiar with.
Something of interest to note is that when recounting the story to me in our well-lit study room, he seemed insistent on mentioning the two girls that were in his class on the trip with him as a form of evidence to verify the story. The perceived need to provide proof for the story could come from the fact that the context of the interview wasn’t one which is usually considered conducive to belief in ghosts (i.e. in darkness or somewhere considered “scary”), therefore perhaps increasing the need for rational evidence to base belief upon instead of fear.
Mentioning that everyone on the island is also familiar with the story also serves as another way of rationalizing the tale; since so many other people share in that belief, it helps to make it seem less strange.
I think this story is interesting because, as the lodge is currently often rented out to schools, it serves as a warning to both students and teachers not to misbehave. Students shouldn’t wander away from the group or play nasty tricks on each other, and teachers should be mindful to keep an eye on the children. Whether or not the account is true, it serves as a cautionary tale for those visiting.
Another function the story might provide could be to bring tourists to the island and the lodge. A ghost story is a good way of bringing attention to an unknown location, and the fact that the characters in the story are students and teachers like those that would be staying in the cabin could make it more intriguing to those considering visiting the location.