Ghost Neighbor in Rippon, CA

  1. Details
    1. Collected on 03/23/2024 
    2. Genre: Memorate
    3. Language: English 
    4. Nationality: Mexican
    5. Relationship to Informant: Friend’s Father 
  2. Text
    1. Summary
      1. When the informant was growing up, he and his brother would help out their older neighbor named Billy. The night that Billy died, his brother felt a strong presence over him that he believes was Billy’s spirit trying to tell him something. 
    2. Direct transcription of folklore:
      1. “In Rippon, where we grew up, there was a time when our next-door neighbor, Billy, died. That night – we didn’t know he had died – my brother felt a presence come over him and he couldn’t speak. Finally, he started screaming because he felt this presence – which was Billy. Later, we found out that he died at the time [my brother] felt the presence. Billy was older and his wife’s name was Nelly, and we would help them out. My dad would always send us over and ask if they needed anything, so if they had anything heavy they needed us to bring into their home we would help out or one time Billy fell off his horse and we had to go help him. They were great neighbors and we knew them. It wasn’t an evil presence, but it was something that came over him and he couldn’t speak. He wasn’t sure if Billy was trying to tell him something.”
  3. Context 
    1. This story was a personal experience from the informant that has become an oral tradition within his family. 
  4. Analysis 
    1. In this story, the informant’s brother felt the spirit of their neighbor trying to connect with him before they knew that the man had died. They believe that this presence was Billy’s attempt to communicate with them. This story indicates that there is a belief that spirits can attempt to contact the physical world during their passing to the afterlife. This story also expresses the cultural value of helping out neighbors and having a tight-knit community because it connects you to those around you.