Author Archives: mandreas

Instances in a Haunted House

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 2015
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Background 

The interviewer and informant, EM, met in college. EM’s mother’s best friend is sure she lives in a haunted house. 

Context

EM tells the interviewer about two ghostly experiences that the lady has told her. Both instances happened in the supposedly haunted house.   

Transcript 

“Basically, she has had so many instances of a ghost in her house. I remember two specific times where very scary things occurred to her. She told me this five years ago, like 2015. In her bathroom, there is a small circular stained glass window that is tinted red and yellow. There is no image in the stained glass, only patterns made with the colors. At night, she woke up to go to the restroom. As she was sitting on the toilet, her attention was drawn to the little window. The outline of a head and neck- like a headshot- the figure of something, or someone, was outlined in the window. She looked away and immediately looked back to find that it was still there. She got off the toilet and looked again. It was gone for two seconds, then reappeared. Of course, I questioned whether or not she was just kinda loopy from being half asleep. She said she went to check the window and the morning and it was normal- no figure. 

The next instance was a little more scary. I am afraid of her house because of this. She woke up in the middle of the night to a strong presence pushing against her. She is convinced she saw the figure of a man above her. She could not get out of bed due to the weight of this body pressing her shoulders to the mattress. She says she ticked and screamed- tried to escape- but was unable to breath. She said the only way for it to stop was for her to give into it. When she stopped resisting this presence, the terror eventually ended. She did not go to sleep in that room after that.”

Thoughts

According to EM, this woman is a very “animated and dramatic lady”. EM explains that she remembers these stories because the way the lady told them was incredibly captivating and spooky. EM has been scared to go into her house since then, because of the ghost the lady is convinced lives with her. EM definitely believes in her, however, because this lady is “so dramatic and loves telling stories”, it makes it hard to believe everything she says”, EM explains. “Everything has happened whenever she has been kind of asleep. With that being said, because she is so passionate about the supernatural and considering she has not been entirely awake, you may question whether or not she has been dreaming.” 

I agree with EM’s interpretation of this lady’s experience. I am sure something must have happened in that house to make these presences felt. Whether or not that it is related to the supernatural and ghosts, can only be interpreted by the people living there. EM also explained that all three people living in that house have felt similar things relating to their house being haunted. However, because this lady in particular is so passionate about these things, I believe she has a tendency to generalize any presence to that of a ghost. Moreover, just like EM said, these instances have happened when the lady was somewhat asleep which may have had an impact on her perception of her surroundings. On the other hand, being half asleep is a very liminal state and I do believe that contributed significantly to the appearance of these ghosts. 

Possessed by a Spirit of a Dead Person?

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Swedish
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Stockholm
Date of Performance/Collection: 2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Swedish

Background 

The interviewer and the informant, LT, are the same age and have been best friends for the past ten years. 

Context

Several years ago, when she was on holiday with a couple friends, one of them started acting as if she was possessed by something out of this world. 

Transcript 

“Me and my friends were in Finland for a week in September 2013. It was about 10 o’clock at night, we had just come back to our hotel room from eating out and we were sitting on the floor chatting.”

“How many of you were there?” 

“It was me and six friends. We were arguing about where everyone was sleeping and who was sharing rooms. We wanted to go outside to the hotel’s roof but there was a storm. The rain was pouring down and we heard thunder. Um, and then this one girl, she’s generally very bubbly and talkative, she completely zoned out. Her grandmother had died a couple months later and we got worried her mood changed because she was thinking about that. My friends and I tried to talk to her but, um, she wouldn’t listen at all. The room we were sitting in was pretty small. Two twin beds and a desk, you know. We were on the 9th floor and one of the windows was open. I remember asking if someone could close it because it was raining so much outside and the thunder and lightning scared me. Everyone was focused on the girl that was zoned out and no one seemed to have heard me. Suddenly, the girl stood up and slowly walked to the window. We were all trying to ask her what she is doing but she wouldn’t answer us. I assumed she was just going to close the window, until she climbed up and placed herself right in front of the open window. I… I have never been so scared in my life, I think. I thought she would jump. She had this empty look in her eyes and all of a sudden she screamed, ‘I am going to jump’. Some other girls started crying and begged her to stop, but the girl in the window wouldn’t move.” 

“What happened next?”

“She reached for the handle on the window and closed it. The noise from the storm outside almost disappeared and the room was so so quiet. I remember being so scared because somehow, the girl looked very different. Almost demonic. She looked numb. We were all quiet and didn’t know what to do or say, until we heard this beeping sound. I have no idea how, but someone’s curling iron had turned on and signaled that it was ready to be used. Scary thing is, um, no one had remembered plugging it in… One girl turned it off and suddenly it was like everything was back to normal. The girl that had stood in the window started looking more like herself and acted as if nothing had happened. She started making jokes and chatted like her normal self.” 

Thoughts

This was a very captivating story and it was not my first time hearing about this. This story has been told many times since it happened, provided that this personal experience is sort of translated into a traditional structure, I would classify this as a memorate. 

I agree with LT that it does sound like the girl was almost possessed by some sort of spirit and or ghost, especially given that her personality and behavior changed so much within such a short amount of time. However, I do believe that this incident can be explained in a logical way. First of all, the thunder and lightning would explain why the curling iron got turned on. Secondly, the fact that the girl’s grandmother had passed away could potentially explain why she started acting weird. As discussed in class, death is, in most traditions, one crucial part of one’s identity (among birth and marriage). Sometimes deaths affect you in ways that do not make sense.