Haunted house

Background: Shivani Patel is a 19-year-old student living in Los Angeles, CA. She is a student at USC. She is currently studying Business Administration.

Original script: “Back in my neighborhood, there was this really old, abandoned house that all the neighborhood kids swore was haunted. Like, really. It was creepy even in the day, because the fence was all broken, the grass was dead, the door was open all the time because the hinges were broken… it looked terrible. People would walk past it and there were rumors that there was a girl at the window sometimes. Ugh, I can’t even think about it without getting a little spooked again. Anyways, once I got into high school, there was this whole thing where groups of friends would go to this haunted house at night and camp out there for the entire night. After one group had done, more and more groups of friends were doing it and at this point, it was almost like a ritual because groups that had done it were deemed ‘cool’ and ‘independent’ like adults, basically. We were just in high school but I remember everybody just wanted to be seen as cool adults. So, the answer is yes, I did go to the haunted house with my group of friends. I didn’t personally stay the night and none of my friends did. To be honest, I’m not sure if any group of friends actually did stay the night or if they lied and said that they did. Either way, once we had said we had done it, upperclassmen were willing to talk to us and share about their experiences when they camped out at this haunted house.”

Background Information about the Piece by the informant: My informant went to a school in Georgia. She was born and raised in Atlanta with her parents and younger brother.

Thoughts about the piece: This ritual sounds absolutely terrible. I doubt that any of the kids actually stayed the night and if they did, major props to them. I don’t know how staying overnight in a haunted house makes you an adult, but I can definitely see how high school kids would see this as just another challenge/dare to prove themselves to their peers.