Author Archives: Shea Brennan

Sewer Girl Copy Pasta

Main Piece

Informant: “In Middle School, I saw this story on Instagram about this girl named Carmen, who was being bullied at school. One day they were trying to embarrass her and pushed her down a sewer. But she did not come back up, so the police came. So, the police come, find her body. Broken neck. Face ripped off. The girls who pushed her said she just fell. So, then we go this boy named David, who heard about this story and laughed about it. He did not send the story to 15 people, as instructed”

Me: “Instructed by who?”

Informant: “He saw the story on Instagram, and you are supposed to share it to avoid her fate. So, then he gets in the shower and he hears laughing from the drain. And he got really freaked out, so he sent the story to 15 people. But it was too late. The next morning, the police found his with his neck broken and his face ripped off in the Sewer. The End.”


My informant is a 19-year-old female who attends the University of Southern California and is currently living in Los Angeles. However, she is from Chicago, IL and lived there for the first 18 years of her life. She first saw this story on the Instagram app in Middle School, around 2013. The informant says that although terrified, she does not remember reposting and survived. She thinks that is was simply a scary story that a Middle Schooler came up with to get repost on social media.


I collected this story through the informant, who is my roommate, while asking about any folk stories she has ever heard.

My Thoughts

This story is a prime example of how the internet, most often older children, create and use chain mail to spam people’s messages. Most of the time the origin of these posts is untraceable, yet they reach all ends of the internet and are mostly passed along by children. They seem to use scare tactics to encourage certain ideas and to increase repost on social media. In this instance, despite the negative energy surrounding the post, it seems to encourage at least some semblance of consequence from “bullying”, as the ghost in the story wants revenge for her story not being truthfully related as a murder by her bullies. Upon research of the name Carmen Winstead on the internet, it does not appear that she was a real person, so the story is at least in some degree untrue, however whether it was influenced by another story, no one knows. The story seems to possibly be a type of contagious magic, where contact with the story results in bad lucks/unfortunate consequences unless properly rid of.

Norwood Park’s Haunted House

Main Piece:

Informant: “Okay so it’s the house two doors down from me”

Interviewer: “Where do you live”

Informant: “Chicago, Illinois”

Interviewer: “Ok continue”

Informant: “So the neighbors who used to live in the house, before they bought it, an old lady died in it. And I guess she always had change on her, or coins, and so when they moved into the house they began hearing weird noises and weird voices that sounded like an old woman’s voice. But the weirdest thing of all is they would find coins random scattered on the ground and they could not figure out where they were coming from”

Interviewer: “Would they wake up and find these coins around places that they previously cleaned?”

Informant: “they would just be walking around the house and find, in random corners, a bunch of coins and whenever the wife asked the husband if they were his he would say no and they were not hers either. So then one day, they couple had a toddler who tried to pick up the coins from the ground and upon doing so, put them in her mouth and began to choke. So then like the mom got the coin out but got so frustrated that she yelled out to the ghost “Leave my family alone”. So, then the ghost left them alone after that. Eventually, they moved out of the state, but eventually moved back nearby and began to talk to the new people living in the house. So, they were talking to the people that lived in their old house and unprompted, the new owners brought up how a bunch of weird stuff was happening in the house and they kept finding coins in random areas of the house. They also heard weird voices and stuff. It’s also important to note that the house has been a revolving door, with people continuously moving in and out. Nobody lasts long. Now whenever a potential buyer views the property, the relator has to warn them that the house is reportedly haunted.”

Interviewer: “Did people specifically move out because they were so uncomfortable by the energy of the house/ its spiritual presence?”

Informant: “No but like a lot of weird shit would happen. For example, after the original family moved out the new family moved in and their furniture burned down and they went broke and had to move. Then the next family that moved in had martial issues and the father was arrested for domestic abuse. It seems that every family that moves in there has some tragic event occur shortly upon moving in,”

Interviewer: “Do you know who currently lives there?”

Informant: “I don’t really know them or anything about them, no. A few weeks ago actually though, my mom told me there was a coyote reported to be in their yard.”


My informant is a 19-year-old female who attends the University of Southern California and is currently living in Los Angeles. However, she is from Chicago, IL and lived there for the first 18 years of her life. This house was two doors down from her childhood home. She heard about these hauntings when she went to house for dinner in the Summer of 2020. Upon googling the house, nothing came up about its haunted origins although the house has gone down in value since 2018. She believes that the house is haunted.


The informant is one of my college roommates, who I asked to relate any folk beliefs or legends she had for the purpose of a project.

My thoughts:

This story appears to be a typical ghost story where someone dies, and their spirit continues to haunt the property. I do not think that the informant knew enough information about the house, however, to come to any deeper conclusions about the story. For example, I think if we were aware of how the old woman with the coins died, it might’ve been helpful in deconstructing the story. Nonetheless, I think the fact that coins are a prominent part of the story indicates some relation to the neighborhoods thoughts on money, maybe that they more conservative with their money, saving every last penny, and find importance in private property that is not trespassed upon by others, even after death. The house also itself might be part of what is considered a contagious magic item as relation to it is rumored to bring about bad luck, as seen through all the family’s who live there undergoing some form of tragedy.

The Curse of the Billy Goat

Main Piece:

“So, it started when this guy named William was going to go to game 4 of the 1945 Baseball World Series in Chicago. He was going to bring his goat, Murphy. The goat had its own ticket. Anyway, the goat was pretty smelly so they would not let it in the game, so then our good friend William said, “You are going to lose this world series and you are never going to win another World Series”. So then after that, the curse was placed. Even though the Cubs were up two games in that World Series, they ended up losing. And the Cubs didn’t end up winning a World Series for 108 years. But yeah, that’s the curse of the Billy Goat. I guess it ended in 2016.


My informant is a 19-year-old female who attends the University of Southern California and is currently living in Los Angeles. However, she is from Chicago, IL and lived there for the first 18 years of her life. She first heard this story when the Cubs were playing for the World Series in 2016, where they finally broke the curse. She heard it from her father, as many around were nervous of whether the curse would allow the Cubs to win. She believed in the curse due to extreme dry-spell that the Cubs went through in terms of winning the World Series and also because they came very close to winning in that time but would lose because of odd circumstances.


The informant is one of my college roommates, who I asked to relate any folk beliefs or legends she had for the purpose of a project.

My Thoughts:

I enjoy this curse, I think that it is less relevant now considering it was eventually broken in 2016 after over half a century but it still is a good story. While I do not know whether the events of the story are true, I think that the story was likely in some way, a coping mechanism for the city of Chicago, who could not deal with holding the longest record for not winning the World Series and wanted some way to explain it. This curse is well known around Chicago and is representative of the embarrassment that they great city felt about their baseball team. I wonder if there was any event that triggered the curse being broken, like a new goat allowed into the stadium or William’s spirit somehow being appeased.

John Wayne Gacy’s Haunted House

Main Piece:

“Serial Killer. John Wayne Gacy. He one’s of the most prolific serial killers in the United States and killed over 30 people in his house. Anyway, so a lot of the houses surrounding his have reported to be haunted. I know two people who live a few houses down from him and they’ve seen ghosts in their house in the middle of the night & heard strange voices on several different occasions. One of my friend’s younger sister used to always talk to someone in the corner of her room,  even though no was there. A lot of people in my neighborhood have suspected that the area surrounding Gacy’s house is haunted since not all of his victim’s bodies were recovered, so it is possible that there are still remains buried underneath his property.”


My informant is a 19-year-old female who attends the University of Southern California and is currently living in Los Angeles. However, she is from Chicago, IL and lived there for the first 18 years of her life. John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer who lived at in Norwood Park at 8213 W. Summerdale Ave, Chicago, IL. He is known to have at least 33 victims, many of whose bodies he hid under his house in a crawl space. Around the area, it is commonly thought to be haunted even though Gacy’s original house was torn down. My informant has heard about these events through her father and friends that live close by the house and does not know whether she thinks that house is haunted or not.


This legend was brought to me after I inquired whether the informant, my roommate, knew any legends from around her area. She remembered the story from her earlier life.

My Thoughts:

This legend seems typical of many haunted house stories where after a traumatic event occurs, the land surrounding it is haunted. John Wayne Gacy was one of the first major American serial killers and had many victims who were children so it is unsurprising that the city might have a major negative response to even the location where he committed his murders. Furthermore, the fact that Gacy kept most of his victim’s bodies on his property, even long after they were dead, creates a stronger tie between the crimes and land which would make the neighborhood even more weary of the property and maybe cause people to see things. I do not think that there is that big of a lesson behind this Haunted House but more of reflection by the city of Chicago of what happens when people are not paying enough attention.

Kiss A Baby, Win A Game

Main Piece:

Informant: “So, we had like this 2-inch little plastic baby and one of the captains kept it. So, before our soccer games, the captains would pass it around and everyone would kiss the baby. If it was forgotten, you would inevitably hear before the game someone shouting, “WHERE’S THE BABY?”. Looking back, it was very odd. Strange.”

Interviewer: “Was the baby said to bring good luck?”

Informant: “Yeah and also if you didn’t do it then it was bad luck”


The informant is a 19- year-old female from St. Louis, Missouri. However, she now lives in Los Angeles and attends the University of Southern California. She played soccer during her 4 years of high school, in St. Louis, and had this tradition for the first two years before she thinks the baby was lost. She said they might’ve gotten a replacement but it never stuck like the baby did. They would specifically kiss the baby after the pre-game warm-up on the side of the field, a few minutes before the game. She believed in the power of the baby and she says her coach was pretty superstitious as well.


The informant is one of my college roommates, who I asked to relate any folk beliefs or legends she had for the purpose of this project.

My Thoughts:

I think that this is a classic example of a pre-game ritual. The way that the whole team actively had to kiss the baby before the game in order to participate indicates to its nature as ritual. The baby itself seems to be acting as an object of contagious magic. Physical contact with the baby brings good luck to those who participate. The ritual also appears to be consistent almost of an occupational superstition. Although high school soccer is not an occupation, similar to what would existent in professional sports, the ritual would act as a way of bonding the team together, exposing outsiders and bringing overall good luck.