Author Archives: Nabiha Najjar

The Faceless Ghost


“This happened back in 2021 and it was when me and my friend were having our own dorming experience up in Santa Barbara. One night my friend woke to a man-like voice. We had curtains in the room dividing the room, and she saw a hand grabbing a curtain. At first, she thought it was me but she looked over and I was asleep. She called my name to wake me up and told me that she saw someone’s hand on the curtain. I said I didn’t see anything and I went back to sleep. She later said that the ghost showed his face and it didn’t even look like a person. It was a really tall figure, almost like monster-ish. It looked at her and it said one word and the one word it said was “shoe.” We didn’t know if that meant a real shoe or shoo, get away. This freaked her out and she started crying and woke me up again. The next day she was so scared and she said that we needed to sage the house. I got an incense-type stick and I lit it and walked through the house and asked any ghosts to leave the house. She didn’t see anything after this.”


The informant was a person in the story. The informant wasn’t the one who saw the ghost but she helped participate in preventing the ghost from coming back by sageing the room. The informant was in the same room as the ghost and the informant’s friend originally thought that the ghost’s hand was the informant’s hand. The informant stated that she felt uneasy being in the same room as a ghost. The informant says that her friend is susceptible to paranormal activity and that’s why the ghost was there. The informant noted that it was just her and her friend in the house.


I didn’t know what to make of this story so I started by researching what a ghost pulling back a curtain could mean. This action is open to interpretation but one of the most popular ways to interpret this is that it’s a way that ghosts are saying they want to make contact with the living. The other thing to note is that the ghost didn’t have a face. Faceless ghosts may represent a fear of the unknown or a sense of loss/disconnect from oneself or others. A faceless ghost may also mean that the person died without receiving justice. The faceless appearance is a sign of their anger. This appearance is usually associated with fear and dread of the unknown. 

The informant stated that this happened in 2021, which was still the COVID-19 time. A lot of people were feeling uneasy leaving the period of quarantine and starting to get back to life as we knew it. There were a lot of unknowns at this point. I’m not sure if this is related to what the informant and her friend were feeling at the time but it could be a possibility. Maybe this is why the ghost was faceless. 

The informant’s friend described the ghost as monstrous and tall. This may tie into how sometimes a faceless appearance may be a sign of anger. If I saw this ghost I would probably think of either anger or fear. Maybe the friend was fearful because she was away from home. It’s hard to say what the ghost meant but the ghost’s appearance is very intriguing. 

Ghost from the 1800s


“My mom and dad went to Santa Barbara and they stayed at this old hotel, it wasn’t really known for having ghosts but my mom is super susceptible to ghosts. They checked into this room and my mom already got pretty bad vibes from it. She felt uneasy. When she went to sleep she kept having nightmares and then she woke up and on top of her there was this man with a hat and glasses and a suit. She started screaming and my dad woke up and he couldn’t see him. And she kept telling the ghost “Go away you’re not wanted here” and he did go away. And then the next night she saw him again but he was standing in the corner watching her. She told him to go away and he finally went away for good. She says that the ghost was dressed like he was from the 1800s.”


The informant heard this story from her mom right after her parents came back from the trip. The informant trusts her mom and is very close with her mom so she believes she’s telling the truth. The informant made a point to talk about the clothes that the ghost was wearing. The ghost was dressed like he was in the 1800s. That could have some significance. 


I don’t know why a man from the 1800s would haunt the informant’s mom. The first thing that comes to my mind is the Gold Rush that happened in the 1800s. Gold was discovered in California in 1848 and this spurred a lot of development in areas, including Santa Barbara. Maybe the ghost was a businessman who had moved to the area and passed away. Maybe the ghost was looking for the gold and he’s haunting the area because he still wants the gold. It’s interesting that the informant’s mom felt uneasy from the beginning because it was as if she could sense something. Maybe the informant’s mom had some sort of unknown connection to the ghost.

After further research, there are a few spots in Santa Barbara that are prone to paranormal activity. Some of these locations are the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the Lobero Theatre, the Santa Barbara Inn, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. I don’t know if any of these locations have anything to do with the informant’s story, but there is proof of paranormal activity in the city. 

Grandma the Ghost


Near my house, there’s this really creepy entrance by the street. A lot of cars get into car crashes on that specific road. My best friend’s grandma passed away in a car crash near that entrance and every time she drives by she swears she sees her grandma as a ghost.”


The informant heard about this story from her friend and trusts what her friend said. The informant is familiar with this entrance because it’s close to her house, but she has never personally experienced paranormal activity in the street. The informant interprets this as maybe a place where the deceased can watch over their loved ones since it’s on a road with a lot of crashes. 


I think this story is about how the grandma watches over her granddaughter. She wants her granddaughter to be safe on the same road that she died on. She’s almost like a guardian angel. I honestly find this story comforting. I know that it’s considered a ghost story but to me, the grandma is peacefully watching over the granddaughter. I know that I would love to see my grandma again, even as a ghost. I hope that my grandma is watching over me, but I would like to see it happen. However, we could also view this story in a darker tone. Maybe the grandma is haunting the street entrance. Maybe she’s trying to warn people. Maybe she’s trying to send a message about something. 

Chinese New Year Traditions

Text: “On Chinese New Year, we wish for good luck for the rest of the year as well as health and mental health. Something considered bad luck is cutting your hair before the new year and cleaning before the new year. In terms of food for Chinese New Year, something that my family likes to do is make handmade dumplings. We wear qipaos, which is a traditional form of dress.”

Context: The informant is Chinese-American. Her parents immigrated from China but the informant grew up in the United States in Southern California. The informant is 20 years old and she currently attends the University of Southern California. The informant celebrates Chinese New Year every year with her family. The informant also discussed that she gets a lot of money during this holiday because all of the older family members give the younger people money. Since the entire extended family celebrates this holiday together, the informant usually gets a lot of money. The informant described that she only wears qipaos on this occasion. She also stated that they only make handmade dumplings on this holiday to preserve this tradition. Chinese New Year is based on the Lunar Calendar but it usually starts in late January or early February. 

Analysis: Chinese New Year seems to be similar to the traditional American New Year in the sense that people wish for good luck for the rest of the year. I think the Chinese New Year has more of an emphasis on wishing for good health. We don’t have the superstitions of cutting hair or cleaning before the new year as my friend described. I appreciated the informant telling me about both her family’s individual culture such as making handmade dumplings as well as her telling me about the broader culture associated with the holiday such as the qipaos and the focus on wishing for good health.

Doljanchi Tradition

Text: “In Korea, we wish for health, wealth, and intelligence. That’s something that’s really big when someone turns one year old. There are different objects that you put in front of the baby, whatever they grab signifies something. For example, a string signifies longevity in your life. If the baby reaches for a ball, that symbolizes athleticism.”

Context: The informant is Korean-American. Her parents immigrated from Korea but the informant grew up in the United States and moved around different states as a child. The informant is 21 years old and she currently attends the University of Southern California. The informant has grown up with the Korean culture of wishing for good health and intelligence. The informant participated in the activity described as a baby, also known as Doljanchi. In this ceremony, many objects are placed in front of the baby such as books, a ball, string, a paintbrush, and money. She has also seen some of her younger cousins have a Doljanchi celebration. This celebration is commonly celebrated throughout Korea and among Korean Americans. 

Analysis: This information was very intriguing to me because I hadn’t learned much about it prior to interviewing my informant. I had briefly heard about it but didn’t know a lot of the details. The Dolijanchi is so interesting to me because it brings up the question of how developed are humans at one year old. If the baby can choose an item that determines how they’ll act as an adult, how psychologically developed are they? From what I understand, the parents must love to see the Dolijanchi and then compare the result of the ceremony to how the child acts growing up.