My informant is a 19 year old student who enjoys creating films.
“Alright, so when I went to summer camp as a kid, we – there was, uh, we went to camp on this, um, sort of reserve in Costa Mesa. And there was this old adobe building that stood there. And it’s probably about a hundred years old. And, uh, it was real dark inside, you know, uh – when you first got to camp, you noticed it, but you didn’t really pay much attention to it… until storytime, when uh, some of the older kids would tell stories about the house. And they would talk about how old it was and how people were murdered on the property and how there were ghosts inside of the house, and that there was one ooold man living inside the house. There were days where me and a couple other kids would go up to the house, and you’d be full of nerves, and you’d just be like really, really… you know – just scared of the house. Um, and uh, one time, one kid was looking in the window, and he, he *laughs* he felt his legs go numb and fell while looking at the house. That freaked the shit outta everybody. And we all ran away. Me and another kid picked him up and carried him away. We were screaming and, um, so for the longest time, you know, I used to think that house had paranormal…connections. Until I worked there as a counselor. And um, I, one day we were outside and I notice a tour group going inside of the house. And um, it turns out that the bodies that we saw inside of the house were just a bunch of mannequins. Yeah, there were like creepy mannequins. It just turned out to be an old historic site. It was like on of the first adobes built in Costa Mesa. The mannequins were just there to be kind of like “this is how they dressed back in the time” you know. But those mannequins, like, it was just silhouettes ‘cause of the light, and sometimes you think they would move. But of course, that was just children’s imagination.”
This story would be performed when sharing scary or strange stories.
My informant, like most children, was taught by his peers to fear things that were out of the ordinary. As humans, we put people and things into groups to better understand and process the world around us. But when we are young, we fear the things we do not understand or do not know how to label. Therefore, we end up assigning paranormal or fantastical stories to the strange. My informant realized this and understood it when he grew older.