Main Piece: “So at this barn where I would always go to ride horses, there was one corner of the ring…where shit hit the fan every time. There was nothing different about this corner than any of the other corners, but every time I would ride my horse around the ring the horse would either tense up, or the horse couldn’t go near the corner of the ring. So one day after a ride I was complaining to the barn owner about how the horse was acting, and I mentioned the fact that it kept happening in one very specific corner of the ring. The barn owner said that she was very familiar with that issue, and it wasn’t just me that was experiencing problems with it. Practically every horse, regardless of who the rider was, would have a really visceral reaction to that corner of the ring. So the barn owner told me one that she went to a psychic as a family. They told the psychic about some other things that were happening, and without being told about the corner of the ring and without ever seeing the property… The psychic said that there is one place that everyone gets scared of, and that it is causing problems for animals and the people. The barn owner said she was shocked that she knew about this, and then the psychic after doing a couple other rituals came to the conclusion that…. the recently deceased grandma was spending her days sitting in that corner of the ring watching the horses and the trainers riding them. The barn owner told me that the grandma rode horses as well and so the barn owner accepted it just tried to avoid that corner whenever she rode so as not to disturb her grandmother or spook the horses.”
Background: GR spent so much of her time at this barn training horses and riding them in events that this story really stuck with her and made her a little uneasy at first. GR said the idea of having the ghost of the grandma watching her was a bit unsettling, but at the same time she got used to the idea since there was never any threatening actions that were being made against her or the horses. GR talked about how the whole family that owned the barn all rode horses, so this idea of the grandma spending her time sitting in the corner of the ring and watching the horses made a lot of sense to her. Because horse riding is such a huge part of that family and the community, it was seen by the barn owner and GR as almost a beautiful way for the grandma to spend her time in the afterlife watching the thing that she loved so much while she was alive.
Context of the Performance: GR told me this custom, while we were talking about the things we would do in our free time, and what types of hobbies we like to do. Since GR is from an area where horse riding is far more popular than in California, GR had a lot of stories to tell about the barn that she used to ride at. And when we were talking about some of the ghost stories from around the world, she mentioned that she had one from her barn.
Analysis: Ghost stories are always fascinating to dissect as they generally have so many elements working throughout them, that may not be readily apparent. In the case of this particular ghost story, I think that this one is functioning as a way to help ease the pain for the family that owns the barn after the passing of the grandmother. Losing a family member is always hard, and after the loss it is incredibly difficult to cope with that pain. I really liked hearing this story, and it was told so well that I honestly got goosebumps when hearing the reveal that the grandmother was expected to be the reason for the horses getting spooked. I also find this to be a rather beautiful way to memorialize their grandma as white the pain of losing a loved one cannot be erased, knowing that she is happy and spending her days watching the thing that used to bring her so much joy is rather heartwarming in a way.