Tag Archives: Children Ghosts

Hide and Seek

Background: The informant recalls a personal experience that occurred in 2002 in Manila, Philippines, months after her son had passed.

Me: I remember a few years ago, when you told me this story you had with BC and I don’t really remember all the details aside from the fact it had involved you two somehow, and maybe it was a foot? I would greatly appreciate if you were able to retell this as you remember it happening.

AC: Of course. So, um, my first-born son, BC, was very much a mama’s boy. He loved playing hide-and-go seek in the small spaced we lived in. It was his favorite game considering how, you know, here in the Philippines, especially at the time, television and video games were not a very affordable or common option for children’s entertainment. Anyway, of course, I’d always play hide-and-go seek whenever BTA would ask.

Me: That’s so cute, I love that.

AC: Yeah haha, so did I. Um, so one of the most memorable times we were playing the game, I could not find him hiding while I was seeking. I ended up sitting in the bed when I felt a tiny hand squeeze my foot. I threw the sheets off the bed as it was so unexpected just to find BC laying at the foot of the bed, erupting in giggles. This was when he was four years old.

AC: He then passed away in December, uh, 2001 at the age of five, from a heart condition and that was the most difficult time in my life. Months after that I just remember this one particular night when I was unable to sleep due to being so overwhelmed and continuously overthinking. I kept tossing and turning around in bed when I suddenly felt the warmth and the presence of a tiny hand squeezing my foot. After that, I instantly felt comforted and at ease to finally sleep because I knew in my heart it was him. And to this day, I still believe it was BC’s spirit with me that night.

Context of performance: This experience was shared over a recorded phone call.

Thoughts: This informant shared a personal, intimate, and comforting experience with the spirit of a loved one. Just based off this short moment from years ago, I’d also confidently agree that it was BC with AC that night trying to comfort his mother.

My Mother’s Favorite Ghost Story

Context

This is a tale that my mother often told me and my sister when we were children. Tales like these are common especially during the Hungry Ghost Month or Ghost Festival. The Ghost Festival takes place on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar and is a time to pay respect to one’s deceased ancestors. The term ‘jie’ refers to my elder sister.

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Performance

The following is transcribed from a conversation between me, (M), and my mother, the interviewee (I).

M: Can you tell me the ghost story that you always tell jie and me when we were younger?

I: Which one?

M: The one I hated the most.

(I laughs)

I: Yes. So, you used to get a lot of bruises on your arms and legs when you were younger.

M: Why did I get so many bruises?

I: You just ran around a lot I think. But so, I used to tell you that whenever you get a bruise and you don’t know why, it’s because you did something wrong that day, and there’s a ghost living under your bed that comes out during the Hungry Ghost Month and pinches you in your sleep. And you get one pinch for every wrongdoing.

M: That’s terrifying. Why did you tell jie and I that story?

I: It was funny, you girls always get so scared. It also wasn’t real, and I didn’t think you girls would believe me.

M: What things would we do wrong that would warrant the story?

I: Small things like picking up your clothes or finishing your food.

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Analysis

This story has always frightened me as a child, but today I can look back and laugh at the tale and also understand where this myth comes from. The myth of a ghost pinching children at night for their wrong behavior is to encourage good behavior. The behaviors that were encouraged were never significant things of not hurting someone or not lying, they were often smaller things like finishing all the food of your plate or learning to tie your shoelaces properly. I think with smaller behaviors, it’s often harder to justify because there isn’t huge moral reasoning behind it. And thus it can be easier to come up with a myth and use fear to get children to behave well.

Ghost in the Gym

The following is a ghost story from a friend of mine.  I am represented by the letters KP and he is represented by the letters KM.

Piece:

KP: Okay, go ahead and tell me about the time you saw a ghost.

KM: So, I was in first grade… I was wasted. No, I’m just kidding.  I was in first grade, and it was like that after school thing where none of the parents wanted to pick us up, so we’d all just chill. And, there was like a- I was hanging out with a fifth grader I thought was so cool- I was like Oh my God, y’know, and he was like “Oh my God, like let’s go into the gym when there’s no one in there, and it’s like the lights are off.” And I was like, “yeahhh, like let’s go into the gym.”  And so, we went in there, and the lights are off, and we’re just like fucking around, and I was like, “ooh, like I feel so like … rebellious… mehhhh.” And… so, I got up on the stage ’cause our gym also had a stage- it was like a multi-purpose room- and… I was like.. “ohhhh! I wanna get up on stage where the principal stands,” like I’m making fun of- and then I look inwards at the stage and it’s like pitch black, and there’s like- ’cause there’s no light.  And- when I looked in, I saw… the like-like this image of… a woman… and she was like- crying. I could hear her too, like… crying.  She had her arms outstretched and she was just slowly walking towards me, with her arms like this… and I saw it, and I stood there for about 5 seconds ’cause I was just like frozen and then I said – “okay, we’re getting out of here,” booked off the stage as I was running across the room, I remember looking back and still seeing her. And then, when I got to the door, I looked back one final time and she was gone, and I pushed outside, and there was daylight, and I was like – couldn’t breathe- and I was like “Oh my God.” And everyone came outside and was like, “what’s wrong?” and I was like “y’all,” like, “I don’t know what the hell I just saw, but huhdehmeh,” and they were like, “whaat?” and I just was like- it was- and I couldn’t sleep for like two weeks… so… yeah.

KP: Have you had any similar experiences since then?

KM: No, not with ghosts

Context:

The informant is a 20-year-old sophomore at USC.  We were sitting in a room of friends and we were all hanging out and relaxing.  He had told me about this ghost story before, so I asked if I could record it for this project and he agreed.  Again, we were with friends, so everyone felt a little creeped out by the end, but we were all fine.

My Thoughts:

I think it was super interesting to collect this data from a friend.  As we talked about in class, hearing ghost stories from your friends makes the stories a lot more believable and realistic. Because the informant is my friend, I do believe this story.  The woman he mentioned did kind of have a lot of similarities to La Llorona, and when I asked him about that, the informant did mention that it felt somewhat familiar.

La Llorona: A Hispanic Woman in White Tale

The Folklore:

E: What is the story that you wanted to tell me about?

A: What I’m about to tell you is the story of how a popular ghost phenomenon came to be.  So there was once this woman who had gotten so distraught at her husband’s infidelity that she drowned her children. Realizing what she had done, she began to be consumed by regret. Eventually the woman took her own life in the same manner in which she took her children’s.

E: There are a plethora of woman in white ghost stories worldwide, are there any qualities specific to La Llorona?

A: This is a woman in a white who hunts children. Children as seen as having a more keen sense for the supernatural. Also, if she’s got you as her target and you hear her sound far away that means she’s close. The same is applicable in the reversed case.

E: Typically in what context does the story get brought up?

A: Usually it’s brought up by children and family events or just in any social situation.

E: How did you first hear about this?

A: My cousins were actually the first people to tell me about this woman in white. Two of my cousins said as they were driving down a dark road one night when they were children out of the window they saw a woman very vividly, she was in a white dress standing on the side of the road. They asked their parents if they saw what the children had seen but they said that no idea what the children were even talking about.

Context:

This is the transcribed conversation I had with a friend of mine as we shared ghost stories from our cultures. My friend is of Latino origin. He grew up in Texas and was still very close to Mexican culture. 

Analysis:

This is an interesting twist on the woman in white story. Though her origin story has been seen before I don’t think I’ve heard of an instance in which the woman only hunted children. In addition I think the auditory component to the story adds symbolic meaning in the sense that danger can be anywhere. It’s a precautionary tale to instill within kids that yeah going out at night alone is maybe not the best idea.