Tag Archives: ghosts

Taviano’s curse

Background: Informant is a Mexican-American college student. He believes strongly in his superstitions and magical energies. This story takes place in Las Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico. It’s a village right outside of an area with hot springs. This happened when the informants grandmother was 7, so in the 1960s. 

Informant: There was this guy, his name was Taviano. They would come to give this woman bats to counteract a curse. So, Taviano would always come at night because that’s when they caught the bats, and my great-grandmother Josefina would always let Taviano sleep in their house, but Taviano would always sleep in the kitchen. And after a while they got suspicious like, “why would he always want to sleep in the kitchen?” And, turns out that when my grandmother went to a medium to kind of find out because– instead of going to the doctor’s– they don’t like the doctors, cause the doctors always try to– the scientific part. Like, over there it’s more spiritual, like they believe in more the spiritual world. So, they always go to mediums and those kind of things, yeah like mediums. So when the medium revealed to my grandmother why her daughter was sick, he mentioned that a guy who was your neighbor got her sick. So, Josefina guessed it was her neighbor because he was the only guy, but since he wasn’t there she didn’t know. So Taviano, even though they like don’t have pronouns, Taviano was still a guy, so suspicions went to Taviano. So then like, sleeping in the kitchen, what is he doing in the kitchen? So, um there was like uh, flame. There was one night where she had a flame in the kitchen, right. And, like, you know when dust kind of hits metal. Like dust particles are kind of hitting metal, the sound it makes, so she heard that in the middle of the night and she was like, “wait what’s going on”. And then she got up and she saw Taviano sitting in front of the oven with all this like, Carbon stuff and burning things and he had dead bones with him, and she was like “I got you!” And grabbed him by the ear asking “who told you to do this? Why are you doing this?” And they never found out why he was doing this but they found out that it was him who was doing the curse. 

Reflection: This story was so interesting because the informant talked me through the entire process of the creation of the curse. I loved seeing how they lighted up as they told the story, and how emotional they were. The part where the informant talks about mistrust of doctors told me a lot about their culture and community. Their community relies on folk medicine and ritualistic practices done by mediums rather than Western medicine, and it was evident in their account. I learned so much more about cultural differences and how they affect people’s problem-solving throughout the world.

The Bloody Pit

Text/Context

RG – This place is called “the bloody pit.” It’s the Hoosac train tunnel in North Adams (Massachusetts), and it’s called that because it took the lives of hundreds of construction workers while being built because it was a nightmare of a tunnel to build. It’s really long, and looking in it’s just black. We went to check it out. It was the same summer we did a bunch of other stuff (like visiting graveyards or other supposedly haunted places at night) because we were really attracted to death for some reason. C was just staring into the tunnel as if he were in a trance. I tried getting his attention, snapping, saying his name, getting in front of him and waving, etc. Suddenly he got really angry, pushed me aside and started walking in. He eventually snapped out of it but it was all really uncharacteristic of him.
The tunnel is still an active freight route. It’s 4.75 miles long, and when you go a decent amount in and turn around, it’s just a pinprick of light. And it’s a mess in there. The walls are pretty decrepit and leaking, and it sounds really ominous and wet in there.
We knew the history of the tunnel. It’s called the bloody pit for a reason. But we went in anyway. And C acted all weird when we were heading in. But we weren’t super freaked out until on our way out we all noticed, quite at the same time, a penny lying heads up on the rail. We hadn’t noticed it going in. And it freaked us out because a penny lying heads up is a symbol of good luck. But right before one of us picked it up we all realized, again at the same time: ehhhh don’t touch that. It’s like if you think about an angler fish, there’s something so tempting and shiny in front of a great dark maw. We didn’t want any type of luck that tunnel had to offer, if that makes sense. We didn’t really think about what-ifs, we just knew not to touch it.

Analysis

The informant enjoys telling the stories of their various adventures each time we speak. This time was about one summer where the informant went to graveyards, haunted construction sites, and The Bloody Pit. It takes a certain kind of person to knowingly go into a place named so threateningly. The informant has had several encounters with ghosts. They are not the most nor the least superstitious out of the group they went with, but all of them agreed there was something not right with the location, in a way that they could not logically explain away. This story combines ideas of haunting, historical events, and the non-localized folk belief of finding a penny lying heads-up being good luck.

Anti-Imperial Ghost Story

Text:

“Well, there’s this one that I do know. I don’t know the details but there’s this one well inside the palace museum in Beijing. So there’s this well that makes strange noises at night or something and people say it’s because there was this one princess, or–I don’t think it was a princess–I think it was a servant for the nobles and what happened was she was mistreated and she was very young and she just decided to kill herself in the well, and that became her spirit there, and people say they can see her ghost wandering around the well late at night.”

Context:

Informant (XY) is a student aged 19 from Changsha, China. He spent a few years going to elementary school in Canada but has spent almost his entire life in China. He currently goes to USC. This piece was collected during an interview over dinner in the dining hall. He learned about this from Chinese TikTok. To him, the story is an example of the evils of the past nobility.

Interpretation

This piece demonstrates how new stories are told as a result of modern media. TikTok has created a new medium for folklore to be communicated amongst people. It is also rather interesting to note that this story came to (XY) not from family or friends, but from strangers on the internet. The story also demonstrates anti-imperialist ideas amongst the Chinese people. It is even possible that the story’s circulation was positively impacted by its anti-imperialist nature. It’s a well-known fact that the Chinese government has a group of people creating fake pro-CCP posts on Chinese social media. Could this even be an example of a fake ghost story being circulated by such groups? That question is beyond the scope of this interview.

Ghosts of Interstate 295

Content: 

D:  I didn’t really hear about it growing up because 295 wasn’t built until I was in high school. 

And the sightings of the ghosts and stuff really started happening after, you know, I moved away, but then, you know, I started hearing about ’em when I was going home and you know, then they started showing up in newspaper articles and stuff like that. But you can, you can research that, you know, online. 

Me: Where did you hear about the ghosts?

D: I think family. Yeah. I mean, people that lived in the area. This would be more like they might know somebody that saw a sighting or, you know, or saw it in the paper or, um, you know, saw the police down there and stuff like that. I think my dad, you know, knew about sometimes when the police were called to the area and stuff. Um, because they would see these Indians on horseback and, you know, people would, would call and report just like, “Hey, some kids are out here, you know, playing around on horses, you know, by this highway and they don’t need to be down here, you know?” And then, um, but other sightings of ’em, they were clearly Indians, but 295 was built over an Indian burial ground and they discovered it when they were building the highway and they managed to get the approval to just keep going anyway and finished it out. And so it disturbed a lot of graves and a lot of activity was kicked after that, but they claim that people can hear the chanting and stuff like that too. 

Me: Chanting in the same area?

D: Oh yeah. I mean the same, the same apparitions. They hear the chanting and they follow the chanting and then they see apparitions of these, you know, Indians on horseback and stuff. 

And there’s, and there’s multiple sightings. It’s not just one or two people that have seen it or one incident that happened. I mean, it’s happened over and over and over. 

Background: D was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1963. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1981. Virginia’s Interstate 295 was completed in 1987. 

Context: This story was told to me over a phone call. 

Analysis: In my conversations, I found that stories of ghosts traveling along highways and interstates is relatively common in the United States, particularly in the southern states. However, most of that lore revolves around one major story that someone experienced, and the following stories of others. This one, however, doesn’t seem to have a central or first experience. Like D said, everyone knew someone that had seen the ghosts of Interstate 295, but no one knew who saw them first. 

See also: D directed me to the following link, which she felt accurately illustrated her memory of the lore: Posted by blogger in RVA Ghosts. (2021, November 8). The Haunting of the Pocahontas Parkway. The Haunting of the Pocahontas Parkway – RVA Ghosts. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://rvaghosts.com/the-haunting-of-the-pocahontas-parkway/

The Woman in the Kitchen

Background: The informant recalls an experience in an old home of hers in San Jose, CA, in 2016.

JO: Well, I’ve told you before about the possible haunting of my old house when I still lived there.

Me: Right. Is there anything specific you can share that you recall from this time?

JO: At the time we still lived there, our neighbor had told us about how a previous resident passed away in the house. From time to time, the kitchen door leading to the garage would randomly open. Everybody would be upstairs, all of us in our own rooms and we’d hear the door downstairs open. My mom’s boyfriend went down to check it out but he saw nobody down there. While residing in the house, I overheard a conversation between my mom and her boyfriend about how my mom saw an elderly woman in the kitchen.

JO: She said she didn’t know this woman, and this woman was not solid. Like, this elderly woman was nearly transparent.

Me: That’s so creepy.

JO: I know. But my mom told her boyfriend to not say anything about it to us [JO and her siblings]. I think she just didn’t want us to be scared of our own home. We’ve moved out since then, thankfully. I’m still convinced that house was haunted and nothing will change my mind.

Context of performance: Recorded over a facetime call.

Thoughts: I think this experience is interesting because I still remember when the informant was telling me of these experiences, as it was happening when she lived there. Having been to the house once before, I can offer the memory that I remember feeling a bit unsettled upon setting foot in the home due to a weird energy.