Occupation: Status Coordinator at Walt Disney World
Residence: Orlando, Florida
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/8/2018
Primary Language: English
Informant Info: The informant is a 26-year-old female who was born in raised in Hickory, North Carolina. For the past 3 years, she has lived in Orlando, Florida and has worked for Walt Disney World as a Status Coordinator.
Interviewer: Have you ever had anything strange happen to you, like stuff you can’t really explain?
Interviewee: We actually did have a “ghost” in the dark room in photography class in high school. they called it the boohag! (Laughter) Anytime something would go wrong with a print in the wash stage of developing, they blamed it on the ghost — Because you literally just let your print sit in the water and nothing should ever happen to it in that stage.
Interviewer: Do you have any idea where the story of the boohag comes from? Is there any background to it?
Interviewee: Mrs. Gow, the photography teacher, started it to scare students into not taking her class for an easy elective. She only wanted students that were dedicated to photography and art.
Interviewer: So it was completely made up? Or did you ever have any experiences with it personally?
Interviewee: Well, it happened to me and a friend in the smaller darkroom one time when we were by ourselves and we purposely ruined our prints by opening the door before they were done because there were these creepy knocks on the wall going back and forth and then there was a dragging noise from one wall to the next and it was literally the most terrifying thing. We opened the door into an intro to art class of all freshman with the most horrified looks on our faces and no one knew what was going on. To this day, I think the boohag was actually a real ghost.
This story has all the motifs that a typical ghost usually contains. The story is set in a darkroom, which is a room with no light and is usually quiet and isolated. It can be argued that the dark room is a liminal space. I find it interesting that she mentions the teacher completely made up the ghost, but then that she later had an experience of “creepy knocks” and “dragging.” Since the ghost is made up, it could just be old pipes or a rodent in the walls that scared her… or maybe there really is a ghost! It is also worth noting that there are other stories of a “boohag” ghost, such as the one documented here: http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/05/boo_hag.html, but the stories are radically different and likely don’t share any connection other than the name.