Tag Archives: guardian spirit

The Ghost of Her Grandmother at Death

--Informant Info--
Nationality: USA
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: Seattle
Date of Performance/Collection: October 26, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Transcription:

Collector: Hello JS, so I know that you have mentioned before that there are ghost stories and interactions in your family. I would really appreciate it if maybe you could share some of your experiences.

Informant: Okay so when I was little my family had like a lot of encounters with ghosts and spirits; it’s happened for me a lot. I will share a story that happened with my mom and myself. I think it’s like the craziest experience. So when I was little I was looking out our window just like looking outside like anyone would do, I was maybe 10 and I saw this person walking down the street and we lived in a pretty small neighborhood so everybody pretty much knew everyone.  I saw this person walking down the street and I’d never seen them before, so I called to my mom who was in the kitchen and said, “Mom, who’s the pretty girl walking down the street?” My mom was doing something and could not see out the window, so I yelled to her explaining what she looks like. I said “she’s in this red dress with flowers on it, she had long brown hair and she’s really pretty.” At that moment my mom walked over and looked out the window and was like “Oh my God that’s exactly what my mom, your grandma, wore when she died”.  I supposedly had seen my grandma that I’ve never met before in the clothes that she died in.  I find this really creepy and my mom tells that story all the time that it looked like real life and we thought it’s a real life person that we could touch, but no one else in our family had had any other encounters with our grandmother.

Collector: Do you think are any reasons in particular why your Grandmother showed herself to you and your mother?

Informant: Well I think that my mom and my Grandma are really similar and my mom talks about my Grandma as like she is her Guardian Angel. My mom attributes small occurrences to her mom.  Little super random stuff like if something like drops in our house or sometimes like come up in her dream. My mom can connect those things, but my mom also sees auras around people.  The auras are the colors that you associate with people and it allows my mom the extraordinary power to know how someone is feeling or if something’s wrong.

Collector: Does she think this ability comes from her grandma? 

Informant: No, I think she thinks that she has like this connection with her, but I don’t think she got it from her.

Collector: Have there been other times where you have experienced other sorts of supernatural events?

Yeah, my sister and I often have the same dream and wake up seeing figures of old people standing in the corner. This makes me sound actually insane, but more often than not, my sister sees the person and I could like feel the spirit. I think it’s crazy and not a coincidence that both encounter similar things at the same time. Okay, that sums up most of it.

Collector: Would you be willing to share any more of your experiences?

Informant: Ummm, for the most part I have told you the interesting parts.

Collector: Well, thank you so much more sharing and I really appreciate you taking the time to tell your story.

Context and Relation:

JS grew up in a small town outside of Chicago. She later moved to Seattle for high school. There are pieces of her story that are from her time in Seattle, but the first encounter about seeing her grandmother took place in a small suburb outside of Chicago. She remembers this story because of the abnormality of the situation. It was extremely strange for JS to see an accurate image of someone that she had never met before. JS is a caucasian teenage girl who is attending an American university.

Personal Reflection:

Personally, I have never had an experience quite like JS’s with seeing a dead grandparent or parent or experiencing a spirit. I found it interesting in JS’s story that her Grandmother was wearing the clothes that she died in and that the grandmother took the body of a younger girl, similar to her age. I don’t know exactly what this detail means, but it is definitely worth mentioning. I agree with JS that these events are scary, but I find it really interesting how nobody else in her family has connected with her Grandmother except JS and her mother. Personally, it would make sense to me if other family members came in contact with the Grandmother ghost being from the same family, especially if her sister has had visions of figures from dreams. In conclusion, JS had an amazing encounter with a ghost of her grandmother that she will never forget. 

Na Tuk Kong

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Malaysian
Age: 52
Occupation: Finance Manager
Residence: 60 TR 9/2, Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, Selangor, Malaysia
Date of Performance/Collection: October 24, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese

Context:

My informant, YM, is a 52 year-old woman of ethnic Chinese background who grew up in a small town in Malaysia called Taiping in the 70s. This story was told as a re-telling of an experience her father had during a nightly excursion. Throughout the story, there will be references made in other languages, so a glossary will be provided for better understanding. The interview was done over the dinner table, as I asked my informant if they recalled any ghostly experiences.

Transcription:

Informant: Oh yeah, I remember last time gong gong saw before. You know, last time gong gong was a part of Rukun Tetangga right. So last time they will always gather around at night to patrol, and it’s always late at night. So they went on one of their patrols, they do that every night. At like 4am, he saw this one man, he was dressed in all white, just walking in the middle of the road in front of them. You remember the corner road there?

Me: Is it, like, the intersection?

Informant: Ah yes, so there’s this one man, very tall and thin, dressed in white, just walking in the middle there. Who would walk alone at that time right, in the middle of the night some more? So the group tried to follow him when he turned the corner. You would think that if he was a real person then they will still see him walking ahead of them right? But when they turned the corner, the man disappeared. He wasn’t there anymore. How can?

Me: So it was a ghost?

Informant: I think it was Na Tuk Kong. I don’t know whether that’s a ghost lah.

Me: What’s Na Tuk Kong?

Informant: It’s some kind of god or spirit that is supposed to protect your land. Do you know those santoi that you see at those buildings? Around the corner there. That one is for Na Tuk Kong so that he will protect the land or the building. I don’t think he’s a Chinese god, I think we only have it in Malaysia. He’s supposed to be a Muslim man I think. Na Tuk is supposed to be datuk, that’s where it came from.

gong gong: grandfather (Mandarin)

Rukun Tetangga: a neighborhood initiative where men of the household would patrol the neighborhood during the nights

Na Tuk Kong: Malaysian local guardian spirit

santoi: altar

datuk: people of a high social standing; elder, usually a male (Malay)

Thoughts:

I think this is a classic story of a sighting of this particular spirit. There are also notions of the spirit to be considered: He is dressed in all white; in Chinese traditions, white is usually associated with death. He is seen at an intersection; an intersection is a liminal space. He is seen at 4am; a number that in Chinese culture is synonymous with death. It also contributes to the idea of a localized spirit. He is a guardian for the area, so he is only seen in that area. The spirit itself also shows that for this community of people, the peace and safety of their land is important, to an extent that a spirit is worshipped to serve that purpose.

Also, it is interesting to see that this lesser deity was a result of a syncretic culture. He is exclusively worshipped by the Malaysian Chinese community, but in folklore, he is a Muslim Malay man. This is a testament to its origins in Malaysia— a country that is multi-ethnic and multi-religious. In a way, it also speaks to the fact that spiritual identity and belief is not necessarily cemented in one religion, and can borrow elements from different religions and cultures.