Date of Performance/Collection: October 24, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Burmese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Background: My informant is my aunt, a woman in her late 50s who lives in Henderson, Nevada (L). L is Buddhist and of Chinese and Burmese descent.
Context: This conversation took place one night over Zoom. L’s experience took place in 2003, her second year in pharmacy school, in the apartment that she rented with her roommate in Worchester, Massachusetts. She occupied the master bedroom, where most of the haunting took place. I reached out to L because I knew she had been haunted by a ghost while in pharmacy school, but I had never heard the full story.
Me: Can you describe what happened to you?
L: That happened in 2003 in Worcester. I was in pharmacy school, my second year. Me and my friend, we rented a room, two bedrooms for $1200. The week before we moved out, the apartment manager called us. They had a furnace room at the 26th floor. Really big rooms, really good everything. They offered us $900. I did not have suspicions. We are students, we are cheap, we didn’t have beds. I looked at it: we’re lucky!
Me: How was your life there?
L: I lived in the master bedroom. The first couple of months were good. In the sixth month, whenever I opened the closet, I just felt like there is a kind of force. Something pushed me! It looked like a wind… I just said I am superstitious because it is snowing, and all windows are closed. Right around 9 months, I knew. My friend slept in a sleeping bag. She said, “L, last night someone pulled my sleeping bag.” I said, “No you studied so hard that you don’t sleep well.” She said “No, it pulled my sleeping bag down six inches.” I said, “put the night light on and sleep.” The second night she told me again. “I saw the guy! He is white, not too tall, 5”2, 5”3. He pulled my sleeping bag to the waist.” I said, “You need a good sleep.”
Me: Did anything happen to you then?
L: After two days to her, the third day happened to me. I finished studying. I did not sleep yet. I put my books on my bed at around 4:30. I pull my blanket to my chest. My blanket is a king size blanket, 7 or 8 pounds. I did not close my eyes. Then the blanket got pulled up.
Me: Like floating?
L: (Eyes wide) Yeah.
Me: What the—
L: The blanket get pulled up four feet high, and you know your aunty is not out of mind, him and me we were pulling and then the blanket was pulled towards the corner of the room. I pulled it back three or four times, and my feet kicked to that corner. And I said “Come! Show me who you are!” and when I kicked, the blanket fell down. I did not see any person walk out, but I was so angry. I just went all over the house. My mouth is yelling. I said, “Show me, show me! Come out!” After that, I came back to the bed. This guy is so crazy! My hands just pulled from me forcefully! I said, “Come out! You come out!” It looked like I saw somebody walk out into the closet. I cannot sleep anymore. From that day, whenever we got home, it looked like panic, you know? I cannot sleep. I’m too tired, but my eyes were wide open.
L: I went down to the apartment manager the next day and I said, give me the room story. She pretends to be innocent; you know because we’re Asian. I said, “me and my roommate, we got haunted. You need to disclose the history to me.” And that girl said, “A guy hanged and died inside the room.”
Me: Oh my god.
L: I straight said to her, “Is he hanged inside the master bedroom closet?” She said yes. That’s why I said, my bedroom, in the closet, I feel it. And I said, “is that the white guy approximately 5”2 or 5”3?” She said it’s that guy. Hanged in the closet and die.” I said, “I need the return. I can’t stay in that room.” And she said, “You signed the whole year contract. You cannot.” Our school is sponsor, so the case go back to the school. I insisted to get a refund. The dean called me. He told me I cannot break the contract. We just have to stay there for three more months.
Me: How’d you even survive for three more months?
L: That professor at my school helped us. He is Catholic. He said, “L, you just invite that guy to the church on Sunday. At church tell him to get peace. He is in limbo.” I called my cousin and he called the Burmese monk and sent me a cassette and the holy water. And the Buddhist monk just teach me “don’t fight with him. He is already in the bad stage.” We went to the Walmart and bought the recorder and we played the monks chanting the Dhama. When it stopped we had to flip the tape (laughs). Then we sprayed the room with holy water.
Me: Wow. You tried everything huh.
L: (laughs) Yeah. After that the ghost did not bother us anymore.
Me: What do you think about it now that you’re older?
L: I feel sorry for the ghost. It was in limbo. You know now I am praying more and more religious than back then. Now I pray for those type of people that are stuck in the limbo.
I was surprised at how extensive and scary the haunting was. I have always known L to be a very confident and logical woman, so the fact that she was so terrified of this ghost scares me. While I do not doubt the authenticity of her experience, I wonder if stress played any role in heightening her fear. She was attending pharmacy school while working at a restaurant, only getting around 5 hours of sleep every night. I also wonder why she did not sue to get out of her contract. As we learned in class, failing to disclose a death on a property can get a realtor in legal trouble. Nevertheless, it was an interesting story from someone that I would have least expected this kind of story from.