Tag Archives: flowers

Graffiti Ghost Story

Context:

J is an 18 year old from Canada who has parents from the Philippines. 

This conversation took place over a zoom call after I asked her if she had any ghost stories that she knew of. The story is from her cousin and was told to her at a family party. 

Text:

J: I remember parts of it, but there’s not a lot of details.

Me: That’s okay!

J: Let me think from the start, I first heard this story like a couple of years ago, when I was younger cause my uncle was like do you wanna go visit a haunted park. And it’s not like a forestry park it like by the, because they have lakes, it’s this nice park area around a lake. And um… I was curious because I had never heard of this. And he was like Oh, here I’ll tell you the story um, it’s from one of my Kuya’s friends, and my Kuya is my cousin. They go driving places, so obviously his friend was with his other friend and their girlfriends. So they were like, it was like late night, probably in the summer time, around the time I heard it. What happened was, they were just there for the evening but obviously it got dark really quickly and the girlfriend, the main guy’s girlfriend had been picking flowers so she had like a few in her hand and she was sitting passenger seat. And they were about to go. But like, it was really weird because their cards weren’t starting. And obviously you know when you get that vibe that something feels really off… but you can’t really tell what’s up?

Me: Yeah.

J: It’s- it’s summer, it’s warm and foggy and for some reason the car headlights are on but the car isn’t starting. So they’re on a call with the people in the car beside them, trying to start, and theirs isn’t starting either. And then um, what made this even weirder is that before they had been going to their cars, there’s like this warehouse for like government supplies or something by the lake. And this is like the most important part of the- the second most important part of the story because on the outside there’s graffiti on those walls of like… you know like… a stencil?

Me: yeah!

J: It was graffiti stencils of like, there was an AR gun, like a rifle type, and at the end there’s a flower symbol beside it. And then, so there’s just a flower and the gun. That’s what they saw the time before. And while they were starting up, their lights flicker from one of their cars and then, apparently they said they saw a figure. Like someone standing there. They didn’t really describe if it was like, in heavy details, but like I think it was a woman like type. But all they said was they saw someone vaguely shaped like a person in those shadows.. Which is kinda like.. Sus. 

Me: uugh.

J: So like obviously, you’re really scared. And like apparently the girlfriend’s flowers had wilted like.. A lot when they saw the figure. And they were freaking the heck out. But they managed to start the cars and they left-they left. They’re fine. But obviously you have a scare if you see a person at night.

Me: is this in Canada?

J: yea, this is in Canada, sorry my bad.

Me: it’s okay

J: I don’t remember the specific park name because I don’t really go there. It gets worse, cause like, see I wish I could show you the picture but I can’t find it. But it was kinda black, and kinda smudged. And creepy vibes. In an abandoned warehouse. And apparently, I was talking, we were talking to the same friend recently, like the guy, like this year at my cousin’s party and um, he said that you know, there was graffiti beside it when they went back, and you know what it said?

Me: uuuuhhhhh

J: It said- it said, have you seen him. 

Me: STOPP

J: In big fucking like jagged letters, it’s like UGH.

Me: I would never go back.

J: I would go back at night.. Just to like.. See it. 

Reflection:

Like many, this informant was more likely to trust the ghost story because it came from a familial source and because it came with a recent follow-up that was accompanied by a photo. Photographic evidence as well as something being persistent or consistent across multiple occasions makes ghost stories much more believable. This may be due to the fact that it appears to be less likely to be an isolated incidence but rather one that may have a common source to a couple of incidents. Graffiti and abandoned locations tend to have a reputation of being haunted, possibly because people are expecting that other people are inside of the location. After its abandoned, your mind and your senses are hyperaware of the fact that it used to be inhabited and may use this against you to cause you to think that you see someone or a shadowy figure. The wilting flower was also an interesting piece of symbolism towards a ghost, something that is no longer alive much like a wilted flower. I also think that it was very interesting that my initial response was that I would no longer visit that park, while my informant seems intrigued and wanted to find more proof for themself of the ghost. 

The Legend of The Lindworm

Performed Piece:
Once upon a time in a far off kingdom there ruled a king and queen, who were plagued by a terrible sadness. They mourned the fact that they could not have a child. One day the queen went for a walk in her garden. There she sat and cried. A witch appeared before her, hearing her sobs and asked ‘why are you crying, my dear?’ the queen explained that she was sad that she will never be able to have a child and the kingdom would be left without an heir. The witch then told her, ‘come back this evening and place the smallest teacup you own upside down at the bottom of the garden. The next morning, before anyone else wakes up, return to the cup. Underneath you will find two roses, a red one and a white one. If you eat the red one you will have a boy and if you eat the white one you will have a girl.’ And with that the witch disappeared. 

The queen did as she was told and when she returned to the bottom of the garden she did indeed find two roses. ‘If I have the red one, I will have a strong boy but one day he may go off to war and die. But if I have the white one, I may be with my daughter for her youth but I know she will one day have to marry someone and I will never see her again.’ Eventually she decided to eat the white one, but the flower was so sweet that she ate the red one too to combat the taste. The queen instantly became pregnant and went back to the castle to tell her husband the good news.

A few months later the queen went into labor and, to the shock and horror of the many handmaids present, gave birth to a scaly Lindworm. It hissed at the queen and slithered out the window. But the queen gave birth to a second child, a perfectly healthy baby boy. That night the queen and her maids agreed to not tell a soul about the first child. Years later and the boy grew into a young prince and eventually told his father that he wanted to find a wife. His father agreed and sent his son to a neighboring kingdom. 

However, on the ride there, the prince’s path was blocked by a large Lindworm. It hissed at the prince ‘a bride for me before a bride for you.’ The prince was confused so told his entourage to take a different path, but his path was blocked by the Lindworm again as it repeated its message ‘A bride for me before a bride for you.’ The prince tried a third time with the same result, and so returned to the castle to tell his parents of the strange beast. The queen went pale and explained to her son that the Lindworm was indeed his older sibling and in common practice the eldest must marry first. So the king sent a letter to a nearby kingdom, asking for it to send a princess to marry one of his children.A princess arrived and was horrified to see her groom to be: the Lindworm, but it was too late. The morning after the ceremony, the maids went to check on the Lindworm and his bride. They found the Lindworm but the bride was nowhere to be seen. He had eaten her.

The young prince set off later that day to find himself a wife only to find the Lindworm on the road again, hissing ‘a bride for me before a bride for you.’ The prince rode home immediately and told his father. The king sent another letter to a different kingdom and the Lindworm was married again. The next morning came with the same results as last time, the Lindworm had eaten his bride again. The prince set off as early as he could but the Lindworm still stood before him hissing ‘a bride for me before a bride for you.’ The prince rode home again and told the king, but the king shook his head explaining a war has been started between two kingdoms over the princesses. While thinking of what to do the king went walking and eventually stopped by the home of his swine herder, where he saw the man’s daughter. He asked the swine herder to give his daughter to marry the Lindworm. While the man objected he eventually relented. His daughter was horrified and ran to the nearby woods and cried. A witch appeared before her and asked “why are you crying, my dear?’ The girl explains her situation to the witch and tells her “tonight before you enter the bedchamber, wear 12 shiffs, bring a tub of lye and milk, and as many switches as you can carry. By this method you will rid yourself of the Lindworm.’

So on the night of the wedding, the Lindworm said to the girl ‘fair maiden, shed a shiff.’ and the girl responds ‘Lindworm, shed a skin.’ The Lindworm is taken aback, ‘no one has ever asked that of me.’ ‘Well I ask this of you now,’ says the girl. The Lindworm sheds his skin and the girl sheds a shiff, but before anything else happens the girl scrubs the Lindworm’s raw skin with the lye and milk. After she finishes bathing it, the Lindworm asks her to shed another shiff and the process repeats late into the night.

In the morning the maids come to check on the couple and when they look inside, they find the girl, unharmed, in the arms of a handsome prince. The kingdom celebrates and has the wedding anew for the happy couple.

Background: My informant learned this story from a children’s book that she used to read to her children and grandchildren, however she does not remember the title of the book.

Context: My informant and I were discussing my childhood with her and how I used to love a few specific stories. This was one of them and she tells it how she remembers.

Thoughts: I wonder if she is still telling the story as it was originally written, or if she changed it through re-remembering and re-telling it. I remember phrases repeating only three time instead of 12, and the reason why the Queen ate both flowers being a bit more selfish, like she wanted both a son and a daughter.

Ivan Kupala

“Ivan Kupala, which is celebrated on a midsummer night, celebrates the young women of the community. The girls wear flower wreaths on their heads, though at the end of the night they let them float down the river. Everyone, especially the girls, sing happy and innocent songs all day, and they do not sleep for fear of demons or witches that arrive in the night. A bonfire is lit to symbolize purity and renewal as well. Eventually, everyone goes through the forests in search of a fern flower. When you find it, you make a wish and the flower has the power to grant your wish.”


 

The interlocutor has visited Russia multiple times, and due to her frequent visits, she has become close friends with a particular native Russian. The folklore that she has shared with me is derived from her native Russian friend. The interlocutor stated that of all the holidays unique to Russia, she enjoyed the concept of Ivan Kupala the most because of its positive imagery and perspective on femininity. She laments that she does not know of any event that celebrates femininity in the way the Ivan Kupala does, and she hopes to receive a flowered wreath or herb wreath on her next visit to Russia during the summer. However, she does not know if she could last through such a long event, especially as it lasts through the night.

A prominent theme throughout this holiday is the celebratory sentiment regarding the budding fertility of women. The flowers represent their nascent ability to bear fruit of their own, yet it is not a shameful or ascetic acknowledgement, but one of commemoration and joy. This goes for the fern flower that is sought after as well; its special capacity to grant wishes also symbolizing the power that women have through their fertility.

May Pole

Content:
Informant – “In early May, the Waldorf school hosts a May Pole celebration. In the central courtyard of the lower grades, the faculty erects a tall wooden pole crowned with a bouquet of flowers. Dangling from the top of the pole are long ribbons. Everyone is invited. Grades 1-3 dance and sing songs with their German and Spanish teachers. Then grades 4-6 dance around the maypole with the ribbons. Each grade has a specific dance, but all the dances are spiral. They interweave the ribbons, going in and out. 7th grade plays the music. Each dance has a very specific song.”

Context:
Informant – “The May Pole is a symbolic of the Earth reawakening. The dancing is circular, spiral, going in and coming out. It’s the rhythm of how the world works, an awakening and a sleeping, an awakening and a sleeping. As the outer world becomes more opulent, we see the green, smell the flowers, and inner world becomes sleepier. It’s a very joyful, very OUTWARD celebration. We are recognizing the earth crowned with flowers, the scent, the glory. It’s very very visual.”
The informant learned about this festival when she started teaching at the Austin Waldorf School. She knew about the May Pole before, but not the specifics.

Analysis:
Each grade has a specific role to fill in the celebration. It’s highly regulated. This adds to the community-centric atmosphere of the festival. Everyone has a role to fill. The spiral dancing reminds me of a flower unfurling, going from within to without. It’s interesting that such a joyous, gregarious celebration is so strictly controlled. There is no room for improvisation.

Flower German Legend

The following was recorded from a conversation I had with my mom regarding ghost stories she was told in her childhoods. Our family has German origins, and she specifically remembered an old German myth she was told as a child. She is marked JS, and I am marked CS.

 

JS: “Okay so the other legend I believe was called ‘The Wonderful Flower.” It was about a Shepherd who was in the middle of a difficult relationship. I think they were poor and didn’t have enough money to live a secure life or something like that. Anyways, one day he walked up a mountain and the further he climbed the happier he was, and when he reached the top he discovered a flower that was so beautiful and incomparable to anything else he had ever seen. He decided to keep it to hopefully preserve his relationship with this girl since he was too poor. He then found I think a bunch of bright and beautiful stones and was about to take them when a voice said something like “you’re missing the best one.” Then, somehow, he looked at his hat where he was storing the flower and the flower had somehow disappeared. And then a dwarf appeared and asked what happened to the flower and the shepherd responded that he wasn’t sure. He then went back home and had to tell his fiancé and they both cried together because they assumed that was their only hope of having enough money to get married and have a secure life. However, he remembered he had the stones that were actually gold and the two had a happy life. But the bigger moral of the story is the long-lost flower, and how still, even to this day, people think that they might be able to find it because it is meant for them.”

 

Context:

A phone call conversation with my mom, JS, discussing old ghost legends and tales she’s heard of.

Background:

JS currently resides in Laguna Beach, California but was previously raised in Minnesota.

 

Analysis:

What I found to be most thought provoking of this legend is how it was less of a focus in the end on the shepherd and his wife and instead a focus on the flower and its meaning in Germany. I feel that most legends tend to follow the protagonist all the way through, and those protagonists are likely meant to resonate with the audience and teach a moral lesson in the end. But with this legend, it is a story more or less about how certain people are meant for treasury like a flower or pebbles and it is a greater being that determines that the one who is meant to be with it, will find it.