Information about the Informant
My informant is the father of a high school girl who was visiting USC campus for a college tour.
“And then her mother passed away just a few years ago. Um, and she was close to her mom. And her mom, you know, died suddenly. They didn’t expect her to die. And she may have been not taking her medication or something of that nature. So it’s like maybe preventable. Preventable. Um. So her old–and this woman’s fifty, so she’s not like a kid. Um. The mom–the woman–her mother was in her…maybe close to 80. Um. So she went to a psychic. Someone had said, ‘Oh, maybe you’ll feel–get closure from this woman,’ so she goes and listens to this woman. And the woman said, ‘Oh yeah, your mom’s here with you and she’s sorry that she had to leave. But she’s looking over you,’ and all that stuff. And the– my friend was still thinking this was just kinda, ‘Ok, this woman’s just telling her [inaudible].’ And then she starts saying–she said, oh, there was things that– she left some stuff in her house for her. But they had already gone to the house to clean it. Um, clean the apartment. Um, so she said but there was things that were left there for her. So she said, ok, whatever. So she went back to the house. Another day, not even that day. She was–a couple of days later. And there was–there was things sitting on the…the dresser. That weren’t there. I mean, she says they weren’t there before. She says, ‘I’ve–we cleaned, everything was in boxes.’ And it was a brush, like her mom’s brush, that she would brush her hair, like, my friend when she was a little girl, her mom would use this brush. And there were a few other little things that were sitting there. On the–on the dresser. And, like she said it was–it–the whole house had been cleaned and packed up. So she went back to that woman–the woman. She says, ‘Oh, can you tell me more?’ And she says, ‘Oh, she’s always looking out for you,’ and all that kinda stuff, ‘and will always be here.’ That was like two years ago. So she’s…totally believes all this stuff. You know, my friend believes that, oh, her mom’s looking out for her.”
This is a prime example of a memorate. The friend in this account experienced the events in the account for herself, but her story is also part of a larger narrative about ghosts and contact from the afterlife. The significance of the experience for her is pretty clear; she was close to her mother and most likely was grieving the loss of such a beloved figure. The possibility that her mother could still interact with her even after death is a comforting one, especially reinforced by the hairbrush being left on the dresser, an item that she associates with her childhood experiences with her mother taking care of her by brushing her hair for her. My informant, however, when telling this story, sounded less than convinced that there was a supernatural reason behind the experience. I felt that, to him, this story was more important because his friend was involved in it and it marked a turning point in her life, as my informant stated that after this incident, his friend did start believing that her mother was looking after her from the afterlife, when, in his story, she too had been skeptical of the psychic being able to offer her anything substantial.