Tag Archives: authored literature

Revisiting a Ghost

Main Performance:

The M family loved visiting Yellowstone, making the trip almost every other year. One year, P bought a Yellowstone Ghost Story book to pass the time driving. As a majority of the family trip was local to their rented RV. After a while, the family had to make a pit stop and found a rest area in front of a huge lake reasonably closeby. As the van stopped, P opened the book to a random page and started reading the pages’ story about Maddie, the singing ghost. After a few paragraphs, the setting and location seemed too familiar. The family, now returning to the car, asked what was wrong. They looked at their highway map and it turned out they were close to the ghost’s supposed home. Sure enough, 10 yards behind the rest rooms was Maddie’s grave. History says that many hiker and travelers have heard singing or talking in the area. In fact, a few people have drowned looking for the source of the voice out on lake. The family returned to the car and started to drive away, but P felt that they should go back and take a family photo to commemorate the day’s funny events. They hopped back to the spot to take a photo, then got back on the road. It wasn’t until later that night that P finished the story and read that most visitors feel a need to revisit the grave – almost universally. Ever since, the family visits the grave every time they visit Yellowstone.


The informant, MK, is one of my close friends from highschool who had heard this story from his wife’s family and their encounter with ghosts on their many travels. P is MK’s wife and is from the M family. Being Catholic, the realm of spirits, souls, and ghosts would not stray too far from his world views.


Looking to expand my collection’s scope, I contacted my friends from highschool through Facebook and asked if he had any he could share with me. By coincidence I contacted him in the middle of his trip to visit some of his in-laws and he promised to deliver some of the ghost stories he had previously heard from his in-laws.

My Thoughts:

A more traditional ghost story where the named ghost has gotten popular to have a book published about her. The way the story is framed almost feels as though the ghost, through its own book, has led P’s family to its old home and made it a tradition for them to visit its grave every time they’re in the area. It isn’t so much about being haunted than it is about compelling others to come visit it instead of the ghost making the visit to them. The tourism board for the Yellowstone Area probably had a hand to play in the sale of Maddie’s book as to drum up more supernatural intrigue for the area, especially suggesting to the audience to return to Maddie’s grave. The last thing I would have associated Yellowstone National Park with would have been ghosts since I’m more worried about Yellowstone’s dormant super-volcano. Maybe this focus on ghosts was to either drum up renewed interests in the area to promote further tourism or try and help people forget the grim fact that some catastrophic force resides below the park.

James Bond’s Backup Crew

The informant is a graduating senior at the University of Southern California, studying Creative Writing and Social Sciences with an emphasis in Psychology. She was born in Egypt and originally held Egyptian citizenship, but moved to the United States when she was quite young and is now an American citizen.

This piece relates to the informant’s father’s variation on James Bond stories.

“He also told me his version of James Bond stories, like to the best of his abilities. My dad’s not very good at remembering things. So, essentially, he made up a James Bond crew, um, including, what was his name? Moustafa Lookatmymuscles. [laughs] And he was basically this guy, who was um, he was the brute strength of the group, and he just lifted doors and opened things. And his last name was Lookatmymuscles, so. Aaaand, what else?

He [her father] was, he would just tell me and it started out with, “Little did you know about James Bond that he had a backup crew.” Cause we knew James Bond just fine. Um, and he would tell me about his muscles, and there was this brainy girl who like operated all the computers, and there was this other guy who rode horses, I think. And there was this other guy who was the guns, basically. Basically he was the physical gun. So, they all followed James Bond around and basically did his dirty work after he, like infiltrated things. And Moustafa Lookatmymuscles always opened doors cause his muscles were very useful for that. And he sounded a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger.”


James Bond’s backup crew interests me because it originates from authored literature rather a variation on existing folklore. What I find most notable about this piece is that the informant’s father brings in a female character and a character whose name suggests he may be from a similar ethnic background as the informant. This might allow the performers of this tale to feel more like an integral part of the James Bond narrative, which is known for featuring white men.