Author Archives: Sebastienne Leo

Ghost Appearances

SL: So do you have a ghost story or a legend that you would like to share with me?

VS: Kay so, the house that I grew up in, the house that I still live in, um my family has lived there for like 50 years now, and my grandma would always tell me that the people that they bought it from, um the wife of the guy died in what was now her bedroom, and that the reason why they were selling the house was because it was just really sad for him to be there, and all that stuff. So they bought the house, and after a while they’d been there, they’d like hear things and hear weird noises and they didn’t really think much of it, but my grandma would tell me that this one night when she was sitting in her room, and it was dark out, and she was looking out into the hallway and she saw like a person walk past her room in the hallway. And um, my grandpa came in and she was like ‘Oh you were in the hallway,’ and he’s like ‘No I wasn’t. I was sitting in the living room. I just got up and came in here.’ So she thought that was really weird, and he used to work at night, so she was laying in bed and she felt like someone was sitting on the edge of her bed, and she looked up and there was nobody there. And so, she got kinda freaked out, but my grandma’s the kind of person that just gets really angry, so she yelled at my house and said ‘If anybody’s here and they wanna leave me a message or give me a sign then they need to do that, but you need to leave now ’cause this is my house, it’s not your house anymore so you need to go away.’ And after that nothing else happened anymore.

SL: Have you ever had any experiences in there?

VS: Um, I haven’t. My mom said that they saw one of my aunts that had died just kinda hanging out in the kitchen, but I haven’t seen anything. I don’t think so.

SL: What do you think about the story? I mean, what is your take on it; what do you think it was?

VS: Um I think my house was haunted, and I have no issue with that because nothing bothers me in the house right now so, if they wanna stay there, if they’re still there, that’s cool. But, I think there were ghosts there.

In this case, it is very clear that the individuals in the situation believe they are dealing with ghosts. A somewhat spooky background is given to the household, including it’s apparent age and deaths that had occurred within. Despite this, the family of VS still bought the house and proceeded to live in it for many years and still are to this day. The main part of this story focuses on the grandmother of VS confronting what she believes to be lingering spirits within the house. The things that happen to her are strange, and even though she was momentarily frightened, she confronts the unknown and takes charge of the situation. After this, the haunting apparently stops.

VS later mentions that her mother witnessed a dead family member standing in the kitchen one day, but this occasion is not elaborated on. It could be said that this event was of a different kind because the ghost was a family member, so the sighting might have presented itself as safe or even comforting. However, no one in this story seems to be seriously afraid or effected by all of this paranormal activity. The grandmother, mother, and VS all seem to openly accept that which they cannot explain or see. They acknowledge that they are in control of the situation, and therefore they are not intimidated by what they believe to be ghosts. They seem to be perfectly fine living in a home in which restless spirits might also dwell or visit occasionally.

A Buddhist Folktale

SL: Okay so, would you like to tell me your story?

QL: Sure. Um, okay so this is an old Buddhist story that I also heard from somebody else, I never read it so, I might mess it up a bit. Um so, in Buddhism um, a lot of us are vegetarians because, I think, many times killing is considered like the worst thing you can do, so the story is about this butcher whose job obviously is to slaughter animals and, um so one day he decides that he wants to change his ways, and um, he approaches a monk who passes by his village um to ask him if he can tag along to go see the Buddha with him. And this monk says, like ‘No, you’ve done so many bad things in your whole entire life, and you can’t come, like you don’t deserve it.’ So the butcher, um tears out his heart and he gives it to the monk and says like ‘Can you please bring this to the Buddha, and he’ll see that I mean what I say.’ So the monk takes it reluctantly, and on the way he uh, throws it out because he just doesn’t think it’s worth his time, and when he reaches the Buddha, um he is not accepted as much as the butcher. And um I guess the moral of the story is um, no matter how long you’ve been doing bad or how long you’ve been doing good it doesn’t matter, and like every action counts. Yeah, that’s the story.

SL: So who told you the story?

QL: Um, this older person in my poetic cinema class actually. Um she’s also Buddhist, and we were just telling stories.

SL: So what is your take on this story? Like what do you think of it?

QL: I think, in certain ways I question it, like ‘How did the Buddha know?’ and stuff like that, because I think um, Buddhism is not so much about gods as opposed to like teachers, so it’s kinda like this omniscient guy is kinda concerning to me, but I do, I am very interested in the idea of like, forgiveness. I agree that um, nobody’s beyond like, forgiveness or changing their ways, or rehabilitation, whatever.

SL: So is this story kind of related to like, the after life, since like the butcher wants to make amends so that he can die and be at peace? Like I don’t know how Buddhism works, so.

QL: Oh, um I think, in this way, yes, or um…although like I don’t think we believe in kind of like, an after life but there is kind of a, rebirth into this life again, so it’s to make amends with the life he’s lived and to live out the rest of his life doing things that he believes are good, and if he did believe in rebirth, I’m not sure I think some Buddhists don’t, then um, it would guarantee that in the next life he has on this world that it would be a better life.

Although this story is not one that can be directly related to ghosts, it does seem to have some similar themes. The tale centers around the idea of making amends for one’s wrong actions. In Western culture, this might be done so that one can be at peace in the afterlife, possibly to avoid being stuck in the realm of ghosts or suffering in hell. However, in Buddhist religion, beliefs are somewhat different, which is why I asked QL if this story is meant to be related to the afterlife. In learning that for Buddhists the afterlife is simply another life to live in this world, it was easier for me to understand the story. The butcher wants to be forgiven for his wrongdoings so that he is not haunted by them either in this life or any to come afterwards.

QL never implied that this story was spooky or strange, but to others not familiar with Buddhism it might be. The butcher tears out his heart so that he can be absolved of his sins by the Buddha. Although it never crossed QL’s mind, it might for someone else who hears the tale. One might understand this part of the story to mean that the butcher is now dead; he has killed himself in order to prove that he was a good man at heart. The purpose of the rest of this story could be seen as the butcher’s hopes of being forgiven and relieved, thus able to rest peacefully and not remain as a distraught soul on the earth. It is clear that the point of this story is to prove that one always has a chance to change his or her ways, whether that be for good or bad, but to other listeners, the story could have been taken as something much closer to the paranormal genre than to fables that teach a moral lesson.