“Peeking Heads” Ghost Story

Main Piece:

AL: This was back at my old house where I lived in. A duplex, essentially. And it was night time, and it was probably around midnight to like 1 or 2 which is I guess late for me as a child.

Me: How old were you do you think?

AL: Uhm… I think I was in like fifth or sixth grade. And I was still afraid of the dark, and so I slept with like a night light… And my room was… [across the hall] from my parents room… Connected through a hallway, a very short hallway, and both [our] doors were open. And it was dark. It was late. My parents were asleep. I was asleep. My brother slept in my parents’ room, and so… I just woke up… and I was really tired but I was peeking out at the door, and I thought I saw my brother. I assumed that this person was my brother—who had their head sticking out of the door.

Me: *in disgust* Ahhhhh!…

AL: But It was so dark because they had no light [on]… And so I was kinda like shocked, but… it was understandable in my head… I called out my brother’s name like “Jonathan!” (Silence.) “J- jonathan! W- what? Hello?” And they would just stare back at me. It’s like where—in cartoons—you would see the silhouette of their hand peeking sideways? And I would see like a hand, waving, and I was like “Jonathan! It’s late!”

Me: *laughing* Like “What the hell is this, Jonathan?!”

AL: And I kept at it. And they would not go away…. They stopped waving, and I was like “Okay, okay. Good night!” And so I would roll over and try to fall back asleep… And then I’m assuming like 10 minutes passed… I roll over again, and they’re still there with like another person. And I’m like “Mom! Hello?” *laughs* But all I could hear was my dad snoring. And so I kinda just gave up on them, and then I eventually fell asleep. And then, the next morning, I talked to them, and I was like “What were you doing? looking out the door at me?” …I spoke this to my brother first….

He was like “Huh? What do you mean? I didn’t do anything.”

AL: I was like “No, you did. You had your head out and your hand and everything… Do you not remember? Are you dumb or something?”

And he was like “No, I was sleeping!”

I was like “Mom, do you remember? You were doing the same thing.”

Mom: “Huh? No!”

AL: “What do you- what do you mean?”

Mom: “What did you see?”

I was like “You and Jonathan were like literally… Staring at me and waving… You don’t remember anything?”

Mom: “No.”

I was like “Oh… Who were they then?” (jokingly) Hello? *laughs*

Me: *laughs* So, what was their initial reaction to it? Did they not believe you?

AL: They were kinda, like, laughing at me for thinking these things— rather than like believing, which I would also understand…

Me: So, did it scare you? In retrospect? Or in the moment?

AL: In the moment, it did not freak me out… Just like really tired… It could be just my tiredness and just like hallucinating. Do you know like when its dark and you see like grains [in your eyes]?…

Me: Yeah!

AL: It could just be that… Or actual people. Who knows?


An interview I had with my roommate in the Cale & Irani Apartments at USC Village late night, with the lights out to set the mood. He is of Vietnamese descent. His younger brother, Jonathan, was five to six years old at the time.


I love ghost stories, especially the way in which people perform them. This is a piece of self-proclaimed folklore, and his family still laughs about it till this day. He has disclosed to me that he was deathly afraid of the dark as child, but has since grew out of it. This experience was more confusing to him than anything. Children are often associated with ghosts or spirits because they are more ‘innocent,’ and therefore can see the paranormal easier. However, they are seen as more naive, so this lends itself as to why no one believed him. Perhaps, if he were to say this today, his family would. This brings into questions the credibility of folklore and personal narratives. Is folklore just as valid when it comes from children, themselves?