Churches and Ghosts

Nationality: Chinese/Vietnamese
Primary Language: English
Other language(s): Mandarin, Cheo Chow (Chinese Dialect)
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: LA, California
Performance Date: 3/16/2024


My informant, AC, is a friend of mine from my freshman year at USC from Los Angeles, California. I talked with her one day about crazy stories that any of us might have from our childhoods after talking about injuries and so on. After the injury stories I remembered a crazy ghost story of mine and told her about it. She then offered to reciprocate and told me about one of her ghost stories. It was pretty crazy and also interestingly not tied to her own culture, past, or beliefs. Here is what she said:


“So I had this catholic friend who believed in all kinds of spirits and stuff from his catholic school, and while with him and a few other friends, most of whom believed in ghosts and spiritual stuff except me and another friend, because we were skeptics, experience the craziest and scariest thing we’ve dealt with in our lives. I’m a skeptic yes but in my culture, we don’t really have spooky scary ghosts, we have native spirits and more conceptual stuff so I didn’t think any of my friend’s’ ghost ideals were actually real. But all that skepticism kinda went away when my catholic friend jokingly asked us if we wanted to explore the church basement of his catholic school as a way to make us believe ghosts were real, as he’d claimed before that he’s seen and experienced ghost activity around that building. All of us were bored, (we were children at this point, maybe around 12 or 13), so we said yes and we went up there midday to check out this basement and well, stuff went down. We all went in, the basement was extremely dark, not even a phone flashlight, which we were using, could shine far enough to see ahead of us, only slightly though, plus, the basement was huge, like a large cellar, a sort of maze. As soon as we got in, the door slammed behind us and one of my friends sprinted over to open it and it seemingly locked itself shut. We then started hearing footsteps in the distant darkness coming from far away but seemingly getting closer. We all start to freak out, huddling next to the door, most of us trying to open it as fast as we can to escape but to no avail. Then suddenly we hear whispering noises and faint wind blowing all around us which is strange because there was and was no breeze in or outside previously. As this is happening, one of my skeptical friends said they saw something, like a silhouette in the distance and it’s they said that it was just standing there in the darkness staring at us. At this point I was probably crying out of fear and everyone was freaking out equally, which just made everything worse, until finally the door cracked open, seemingly without any of us touching it, and we all sprinted and fell out of the basement and onto the grass outside. The moment we got outside, the door slammed shut once again and we all ran home and never really spoke of that moment again.”


Wow, I mean, personally I’ve experienced some interesting seemingly ghostly tales but this one is crazy to explore and hear. First off, the connection between catholic churches and ghost hauntings goes way back, I mean seriously. The beliefs and folklore surrounding ghost hauntings in Catholic churches can be traced back to centuries ago, with stories and legends often rooted in historical events and cultural traditions dating back to medieval times and earlier. In my own research of this ideal, apparently, the connection between Catholic churches and ghost hauntings is often rooted in cultural beliefs, historical significance, and popular folklore rather than official Catholic doctrine. Many Catholic churches have a long history and rich cultural heritage, making them popular settings for ghost stories and legends. The presence of burial grounds or crypts within or near some churches, along with the religious symbols and rituals associated with Catholicism, can contribute to perceptions of spiritual or supernatural activity. Cultural beliefs about spirits and ghosts, as well as popular media portrayals of haunted locations, further shape public perceptions of ghost hauntings in Catholic churches. However, it’s important to note that Catholic doctrine does not specifically address ghost hauntings, and individual interpretations of such phenomena are influenced by personal experiences and cultural influences rather than official teachings of the Church. Now that this info is out of the way, I personally found this story and the acute history of ghosts and catholic churches to be extremely fascinating. I mean who really knows if this is real, but AC hinting at the fact that she doesn’t believe in ghosts and experiencing what seems to be a ghost encounter in a culture and religion that she doesn’t even follow is what interests me so much. The idea that ghosts aren’t really tied to a specific culture, but all cultures, where each one has their own interpretation of ghosts, and even so, the idea of hauntings, skepticism about said hauntings, sightings, and even experiences, all still managing to have no ground or real meaning when faced with unexplainable phenomenon and encounters with something mind blowing or scary and spooky like with AC’s story, is so awesome. It seems that no matter your belief, ghosts will always find some way of haunting your mind.