Tag Archives: female ghost

Mad Bess: A Ghost-Story

The informant heard this ghost legend in elementary school, particularly from the older middle schoolers and the old principal. It was a legend to give the campus character and teach the kids some history as well through talking about the mines and buildings around campus. It was an entertaining story from childhood intended to scare young kids as well. Now, the informant tells it to reminisce on childhood and to entertain friends, usually around a campfire or during other such story-telling times.

“The school I went to for elementary through middle school had a lot of old buildings that used to be people’s houses, like people used to live there because they’re super old old mining houses. There’re a little, like, I don’t know, like, kind of like victorian-ish era and from mining times. This family lived in the old lunchroom because the old buildings that the campus was made of were originally old mining homes. Her father worked in the mines that are located around campus and her mother was a stay-at-home mother, doing the cooking and cleaning. There was that collapse in the mine, that like 10 other ghost stories are about, that killed her father. Her mother was, like, older and got very sick and also died. So the young girl was left as an orphan and lived in the house still, but because she was so young couldn’t take care of herself and she just died a bit later because she couldn’t provide for herself but she still stayed in the house after all those years and now she haunts it and protects the house in a wrathful, mean way.”

Although this story teller did not really tell a story so much as a recount of the story, one can still get the general idea of what the story was supposed to be. The story was likely intended to entertain children as well as teach them about the history of the school campus. Being a mining town, the campus is surrounded by mine shafts (safely covered for the children) and all the school buildings are old houses from the mining days. Ghost stories are a good way to teach children about the place they inhabit as the legends reinforce that there were times before the kids got here. They will certainly remember history if it has an exciting story that goes with it. Thus, this culture values remembrance of place and times before. They value history, especially of the relevant place in which they reside. The culture values teaching children about said history, which is unsurprising considering that it is a school, and they realize that stories help knowledge stick. If nothing else, the culture values entertainment for children and thus created the story to do just that.