[A]: I grew up in like an 8 house horizontal neighborhood, you know like 8 houses and they were gated off, and when I turned 5 or 6 the last house at the end, the people left and the house was just there sitting for like 3 years between the period that the family was living there and the next one. So me and my friends that lived in the other houses always used to say that that house was haunted and that’s why they had left. So when Halloween would come around we would walk over to the house, ‘cause there was also like…it was at the end and it was blocked off with big hedges so you couldn’t totally see it like the rest of the neighborhood. So we used to go in there and grab little stones from the pavement and toss them at the windows to see if a spirit would appear or something. So for that whole time we used to say that the house was haunted.
[Me]: Did you guys just decide one day that the house was haunted or was there something specifically that happened?
[A]: I think we always used to just say it…I don’t think there was anything specifically but we used to say a bunch of stuff about why it was haunted. It was the last house, number 8, and we used to say that 8 was a haunted number and that we had seen the number in the night and that the house would spin in circles and the lights would flicker on and off…allegedly…we were probably just little kids making up stuff
[Me]: Did you ever go on to the property?
[A]: I don’t think we ever broke into the house but we definitely went into the yard and on to the patio and the driveway and we used to again throw rocks at the windows then one of us would scream that we saw something then we would run away or whatever
A is 21 years old and grew up in a small town in Mexico. He told me this story after I had asked him if he remembered any scary or ghost stories from when he was younger, but as he recounted it like more of a happy memory than one that still scared him—as most scary stories from youth seem in adulthood. Afterwards I prompted him to tell me a bit more about the role the number 8 played in the story, but the details were unfortunately lost to time. Regardless, reflecting on our class discussion about the “luckiness” of numbers in certain cultures, it got me thinking about how the number 8 is perceived in popular American culture; typically it’s considered a lucky or at least auspicious number (i.e. magic 8 ball), so I’d be interested to dive deeper into whether this was just an instance of kids being kids or if there’s some deeper significance in Mexican culture.
A’s story contains many motifs common to the general concept of a haunted house: blocked off from the rest of the community, a mysterious backstory, etc. I found it interesting that both of the haunted house stories I collected for this portion weren’t necessarily well-known in the community but were instead primarily known and/or created by a group of young kids.