Mr. Sneakers

“In my school there was the ghost story of Mr. Sneakers. It was told by the gym teacher at the primary school, who told all the kids in the class that at the top of the rope we had to climb as part of the endurance test there was a ghost named Mr. Sneakers. He was apparently the ghost of a previous gym teacher who lived in the rafters and could only be seen if kids climbed to the top of the rope to catch a glimpse of the trademark white sneakers. A picture of floating sneakers in the rafters in his office along with testimony from the kids who climbed to the top that the air up there got colder seemed to spur this ghost story into truth, and I remember trying my hardest to climb to the top just for a glimpse of the real life ghost. In hindsight, the photo was likely a photoshop job that could only fool a group of 6-8 year olds along with the fact that the rope was hung down right next to the air conditioner, explaining the cool breeze felt by those who summited the rope. But it was a beloved ghost story that anyone who walks through the doors of Indian Hill Primary School in Cincinnati, OH can attest to.”

Context: The informant is a college student who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Interpretation: This may cross over into fakelore, as it could easily have been invented by the school’s gym teacher as the informant explains; however, it seems to function just like a legend among the kids. The uncertainty of whether or not Mr. Sneakers really exists spurs a curiosity and motivation to find out, reflecting the tendency of children to explore boundaries of play along with taboo subjects like death and ghosts.