“So you remember Papa’s (your grandfather’s) house right? Papa lived right where the road should keep on going, but it doesn’t because it is a T junction, you know, even like Aunty Piak’s house where the road is coming to an end. Anyway he…well, we lived in the house right where, at the T junction, it comes exactly at the point where the two roads intersect, right where the two roads are perpendicular to each other. So you have a house at the end of a road, like a cul-de-sac, but if your house is right at the end of the road at that path, it is not a good thing because that is like where the spirits come through. The spirits travel down the road and are hit with the road that is perpendicular to the road on which they travel, and without time to stop they automatically hit where our house is supposed to be. I guess the better way of saying it is that is where the passage way of spirits to go and when your house in in the way, it is not a good thing. You need some sort of statue to protect the family or the people who live in the house. My mom put statue by the window in order to protect people in the house. She put a Chinese tiger statue, she just believed…she knew something about the Chinese folklore that she used, you know, how certain animals represent certain characteristics. It was either a tiger or a lion. I never really knew where this belief came from but she was very superstitious about it and always had this little statue sitting by the window so that it would protect our house and our family from the many ghosts who were supposedly headed straight towards our house from their voyage up from the street that extended out beyond our house.”
Background information: my mother originally told me a much briefer version of this story because always had this little statue of a tiger or a lion sitting on our countertop, and I never understood why it was there. She then told me about how her mother had this belief about ghosts, and even though we now do not live on a street at the cross of a T junction, my mother still kept it in our house. My mother told me this story in person and I think since it was such a long time ago, it was hard for her to remember certain details, so it was a bit of a slow process for her to tell me, but it was very interesting to learn more than I had originally known about this little statue that had been sitting in my household for such a long time. It was very interesting to learn about some of the beliefs that are associated not only with my family but with my nationality and ethnicity as well.
“La Llorona is the story of a mom whose kids died… and I think it’s like her kids died, and she sent them down the river and was crying and killed herself because her kids died … and like her spirit resides by that riverbank in Mexico and apparently people can hear her cries, and “crying” in Spanish is “llorar” which is where the name “la Llorona” comes from:“the crier.” So yeah apparently people just hear her crying by the river. That’s all I really know. I have just heard it a couple times briefly from some of my older cousins and aunts over the years so I don’t really know too much about it.”
Background information: When I interviewed the informant about this story, I had already known a little bit of background information since we had covered this story during class and had to read up on it. It was very interesting to note how someone from whose culture this story stems hears about it personally and through he family members, and how she has come up with a general sense of the story, even though it may not be entirely accurate or detailed. I interviewed her in person because she lives across the hall from me.
There is a Thai proverb, which, loosely translated to English is, “When the dog shits, the dog has to lift its own tail up, nobody lifts his tail.” This basically means being independent and doing your own thing. You must help yourself. You have to do things yourself. Nobody will do it for you.
“Oh my god guys no this was like actually so scary. Okay I was like eleven years old… how old are you when you’re in sixth grade? I was at sleepwaway camp in the middle of bumfuck West Virginia. One rainy day me and my friend were looking for board games to bring back to our cabin because all of our activities got cancelled for the day. And we found a Ouija board. Me and my friend had never used one but we had heard about them. This was an old closet. Like Ouija board tucked in the back of it. We bring it back to our cabin, and convince everyone to do the Ouija board with us. The counselor was like, Yeah lets do it. So we go in our cubby room, which is a small dark room in the back of the cabin, sit in a circle with candles. My counselor was the only one who had ever used a a Ouija board because we were all eleven and no one had used that shit. So my friend and my counselor go on the Ouija board and start to ask it questions, like you’re supposed to. They ask pretty normal questions, like “what’s your name,” and the board spelled out Card, like C-A-R-D, its name was Card. Um… it said it went to our camp and it lived in cabin 25 in 1989. And then we made the mistake of asking “Did you die here?” Card said yes. So we just put it away, we were like whaatt … we were these eleven year old scared dweebs and we just put it away. Later that day we go to the dining hall for dinner and my friend who I found the Ouija board with, we were in line to get food and in the dining hall… each summer makes a plaque for their cabin and they can decorate it however, and they’re attached to the rafters in this huge dining hall. Hundreds of them. My friend pokes me on the shoulder and points to one specific plaque. This is where shit gets wild. The only thing painted on the plaque was a Ouija board, with all black letters except in red was CARD 1989 and at the bottom it said Cabin 25. And I just ran away I was freaking out. I was crying in the dining hall. Everyone was just like what? We couldn’t even express ourselves. My camp is haunted by Card. Next time I went there I tried to find the plaque and it was fairly hidden amongst the other hundreds of plaques. We just happened to see it that day, which is scary.”
Background: The informant told this piece with a lot of excitement because everything in her story had happened in such a creepy, ironic way. The fact that she was able to spot out the plaque right after this Ouija board experience was very creepy. Now, it doesn’t mean as much to her as it did back then, because she now believes it could have been a trick played on her by her counselor, but she is still unsure and remembers very vividly how terrified she was of what had happened that day. I think this piece is very interesting and I like the aesthetic presented of a boring, rainy day at camp turned into a creepy ghost story. This seems very typical of a bizarre experience that a young child might experience at a camp, those of which have been told many times and exaggerated, about for example ghosts haunting certain cabins and such. This was a very interesting story for me to hear as I did not attend summer camps like these every summer as the informant did.
“What happened… so I’m a camp counselor at a campsite along the Allagash River, its in the Maine forest… so um… its mostly… the campsites are enclosed by streams, and this is the only one that is completely open. So I guess the story is that these two men…they went to sleep in their tents, everything was normal, but then they woke up outside their tents without their clothes. Both of them had memories of going in a UFO off to another universe. The people who found them pulled them aside separately, and their stories were exactly the same. Both their individual stories matched up completely. It’s a weird campsite, just really weird vibes, most people are scared to go there alone. All my campers always freak out.”
Background: The informant told me this story in person; this interview was conducted live. She knows this piece because she works in the area where it happened, and she learned it from the other older camp counselors there. I thought this piece was very interesting and a specific example of the cliché disappearance of people in the woods by mystical creatures. This is interesting to see the after effects and how the little campers freak out whenever they are there and how even people are afraid to go there by themselves, which shows a certain amount of belief in these stories, so much that people are afraid to trespass alone.