Tag Archives: encounter

A ghostly interruption

  • Informant: AW
  • Nationality: American
  • Primary Language: English
  • Other language(s): n/a
  • Age: 19
  • Occupation: student
  • Residence: Bay Area
  • Performance Date: November 29, 2023


“One time when my dad was a teenager both of his parents were working at like midnight because his mom was taking the nursing shift and his dad was working too. It was the middle of the night, he was home alone, and his door was closed and he was playing video games and then he stopped, and he heard footsteps coming down to his room and then he heard breathing on the other side of his door, and he was really scared he was like ‘Oh my god what the f-’ and then he was just like scared and didn’t know what was happening so he was just like frozen. Then later when his dad came home they looked around and obviously there was nothing there, there was no one there, but my dad thinks it was a ghost”


This story was shared with me by a peer at USC who had mentioned that her dad had some ghost stories from his childhood. The informant’s father told her this story a while ago, and she believes him because it seems to her like this would be a weird thing to lie about. The informant shared that this story took place in a small community in Western New York.


This story is a great example of people using ghosts to explain things they can not otherwise explain. While it is possible that the informant’s dad heard both footsteps approaching and breathing outside the door, it is also quite possible that he heard a creak on the stairs and filled in the rest with his imagination. As humans we are all naturally curious about the phenomena of the world and instinctively pair them with whatever explanation brings us the most comfort so as to avoid living in fear or uncertainty. Ghosts and ghost stories often function as a means to that end, as the ghost in this story likely did for the informant’s father.