“My Immortal is a Harry Potter fan fiction that um is famously very bad. It trended and was popularized because of how famously awful it was. And one of the aspects that made it very popular in addition to its awfulness was that nobody knew who the author was. And for years in fan fiction it was a form of folklore *subject winks* who the author of My Immortal was, and people thought we’d never get the answer. But one morn….one week in 2017 a woman on Tumblr claimed that she was the author of My Immortal, and that her name was Rose Christo, and that she wrote My Immortal to be intentionally bad so it would become popular so she could reconnect with her long-lost brother who she was separated from in foster care. She made a bunch of wild claims in addition to that, um, like how in her foster care she was, she was abused for being Native American before it was revealed that she was a white woman completely lying, having never been in foster care. Um, to this day it’s still not known whether she actually wrote My Immortal, because she did have documents hinting that she did. But we do know that she was lying about all of her reasons for writing it.”
This is one of my favorite pieces of internet folklore. The author has gone through many permutations, from the screen name of XXXbloodyrists666XX to Tara Gilesbie to Rose Christo to once again a big question mark. Additionally, there’s the fact that it reportedly got deleted of of fan fiction.net, the original hosting site, twice. It’s one of the first pieces of internet folklore I can remember hearing about as a young teenager, after it’s deletion but before Rose Christo came out as the “author,” so I got to watch her rise and fall in real time. It’s certainly interesting — who would make the claim to be the author of such a notoriously bad piece of work? It’s fascinating to keep up with, and I’m eager to see who comes forward to claim it next.
For more on My Immortal, click here.
“At my high school, there was this teacher who taught literally since the school was founded. Um, her name was Rose Gilbert, she taught English, she married like a billionaire, still ended up teaching, reached the age of retirement, still kept on teaching, her husband died and left her so much money and she donated a bunch of it back to the school — um, our, we have a pool named after her, we have a theatre named after her. And she was the inspiration for, um, Maz in the most recent, uh what’s it called, Star Wars movies because JJ Abrams went to Pali High. But a lot of people think…oh, and then she died. She died in like 2011. And a lot of people think that her old classroom is haunted, myself included. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Um, I had my 11th grade AP Lang class in her old classroom, um, in the A building, and um all the doors and windows were closed and all of a sudden a bunch of papers just flew off the desk! A bunch of books sort of fell off of shelves, and we were like “Oh that…that’s Ms. Gilbert! She is…she’s not happy with us!” Um, yeah. People called her Mama Rose. She’s a…she’s a…a big presence at my high school.”
Notes: People love a ghost story, and it’s made more real when it’s the ghost of someone in the community. I do have a question, however. What’s her unfinished business, the reason most ghosts in ghost stories stay? Is she not done teaching English? Or is Pali simply not ready to give up Mrs. Gilbert, even though she taught there for 60 years?
It’s a fascinating case study of how communities will cling to people long after their departure.
“So in the theatre you’re not supposed to say the word Macbeth ever. And that is because in legend, Shakespeare used like actually witch spells in the beginning of Macbeth, um, and so the witches cursed him and cursed the play so every time it was said in the theatre like something would go wrong in the production. And I’ve heard stories of like this happening to, you know, not to my school but like my friend’s school or a friend of a friend’s school, where like someone said Macbeth like 40 times in the middle of the theatre, and, like the pipes burst during opening night and like the lead broke their knee or whatever. And the only way to reverse this curse is to go out of the theatre, spin around three times while spitting over your shoulder and saying Shakespearean curses, and then ask to be invited back into the theatre. That’s the only way to reverse the curse. And so um for a lot of thespians, they try and find new and creative ways to say Macbeth. So I’ve heard the M-Word, I’ve heard Mac Daddy, I’ve heard the Scottish Play…Mac Daddy is a funny one I heard that at a like regional theatre competition like out of the mouth of like a grown man so that’s fun.”
Notes: This is a tentpole of the theatre community. I’ve never met anyone who was tangentially involved in theatre and hadn’t heard of the M-word. I’m not particularly superstitious, and even I jump at hearing the word Macbeth. This is a long-persisting legend, I feel in part to the universal “friend of a friend” that we can cite as our real-life source. I do think its interesting that this is the play that was chosen to be taboo as opposed to any of the other tragedies, which can be more gruesome and more supernatural. Perhaps this is the most well known tragedy?
For more on the curse, click here for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s article on the M-word.