Tag Archives: Horror Story

Ozok

Background:

The informant grew up in Chicago in the 1960s. There was an abandoned elevator for trash called a “dumbwaiter.” It was used by residents to send their trash down to the basement before the informant lived there. It went out of use when residents began carrying their own trash down themselves. The informant’s older brother would scare her with stories of a crazed man, named Ozok, who lived in the abandoned dumbwaiter and carried an axe through the halls of the building at night.

Context:

This piece was related to me over a Zoom call with the informant, discussing her childhood in Chicago.

Main Piece:

E: No one used the dumbwaiter when I was living there. It used to be used to send trash down apparently, but eventually people just learned it was easier to their own damn trash out themselves (laughs). But the trash room was in the basement, and the dumbwaiter and the basement were mostly abandoned. There was a legend that a spirit used to live in the abandoned dumbwaiter. The story was that there was some sort of crazy man named Ozop… no Ozok, I think it was. But the story was that Ozok lived in the dumbwaiter and the basement, and he used to carry an axe when he walked the halls of the apartment building at night.

Me: All the kids in the apartment building believed this?

E: I don’t know about all of the kids, but my siblings and I certainly did. Our oldest brother told us that Ozok lived in the dumbwaiter and the basement and haunted the building. He took me down to the basement one time during the day and showed me an axe leaned up against the wall as proof. I don’t think I slept for a week after that! My parents allowed us to believe it and even told us when we were being too rambunctious at night that we better get to sleep before Ozok came down our hall. I had these wild visions of what he looked like. My younger siblings and I would talk about it. We thought he looked like something out of that movie, the old vampire one…

Me: Nosferatu?

E: Yes! I conjured up some image of the vampire from Nosferatu in my head. That movie was the scariest thing I had ever seen as a little kid, and I thought there was a crazed vampire living in my own apartment building!

Thoughts:

The tale of some deformed creature haunting a residency is a legend as old as time. It is a theme well known to all, and it naturally takes on its own variations as people author their own variations of ghost stories and hauntings. In this case, the informant’s older brother authored a variation of a crazed man, Ozok, who haunted the halls of the informant’s apartment building. Children, as my informant was at the time, are particularly susceptible to the tales intent on scaring. The informant’s older brother applied much of a classic ghost tale’s motifs to Ozok and their environment. He pointed to the axe as evidence of Ozok’s existence, and claimed that Ozok inhabited the abandoned dumbwaiter and basement, just as a ghost or creature of the night might live in the attic of a haunted house. Folk beliefs regarding ghosts have existed for centuries. The legend of Ozok living in an abandoned dumbwaiter and basement was simply a new variation of an age-old legend.

The Elevator Story

Main Piece/Story:

A young woman is returning home after a busy day of work at night. She managed to avoid the worst of the rain but she had to run a bit to get to her apartment. Slightly exhausted, and with even slighter foot pain, she pressed the button to call the elevator and waited around. The elevator doors opened, she stepped in, but before she could press her floor, she heard some fast-paced steps. “Hold the door!” rang out a young man’s voice and she pressed the button to allow the boy into the elevator. “Thank you so much”, he said, grateful.

“What floor are you on? I’ll get the button for you” said the man panting for breath.

“Oh, it’s the 10th, how kind of you” replied the girl.

“No way! I live on the 9th!” said the man, in a surprised tone.

The two engaged in short casual conversation, how work was killing her feet, etc. The girl noticed that the boy had some pretty looks to him and was teetering on the edge of asking if he was free anytime soon. She was puzzled at how she never met him before especially when they lived a floor apart. The elevator reached the 9th floor and the man stepped out.

“Goodbye!” said the man. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again…”

“…really soon”

As soon as he muttered those words, the man turned around. The pleasant and reserved visage now was grinning ear to ear with a wide, eerie smile, his eyes bloodshot. In his hands was a bloodied kitchen knife and he dashed up the stairs as the elevator doors closed.

Background:

My informant is my brother who told me this story when we lived in South Korea which was around 18 years ago and clearly it was effective in its fright factor if it stuck with me for this long despite my entire family not being particularly good with horror stories. He states that he read it online and was particularly spooked and began spreading the story around by himself.

Context:

My brother retold me the story for good measure during the time I asked him to share folk stories with me when I brought up how I remembered this one in particular because of how it frightened me when I was younger.

My Thoughts:

While not a memorate, the paranoia instilled by this story can affect any regular person who frequents the use of an elevator, as it has spread from my brother, to me, and hopefully to anyone reading. The greatest way to experience this story is through Korean message boards and blogs where people have drawn comics to illustrate this story and the final panels become animated to properly convey the shock factor. Unfortunately most of my access to these sort of sites are through my brother and I haven’t been able to find them. In this way, it would be difficult to assign any one person as the author to this story as someone who makes the scariest comic could become its sole owner just by being the one who owns the version of the comic that is most shared across the variations. Among other types of real life horror stories about dying in an steel cage of death called an elevator, I was convinced pretty early in my life that I was just way better off taking the stairs and get some exercise while doing so. It’s effective in the Asian apartment context as it is an incredibly common sight in South Korea so it works off its mundane set-up for something horrifying. The point of the story is to lull the readers into a false sense of security with superfluous little additions to the setting detail when really, the most important part is the end. I think there was a string of elevator murders in Japan around the early-mid 2000s, which is where the story might have originated.

“Click Clack”

The following is a scary story told to me by my friend Claire, who learned it at a summer camp where they have been a counselor for a few years.

“I’ll start at the beginning, which is World War One. In Virginia, there was this family and they had, y’know, wife, husband, son, daughter. And they were a family of farmers–they were like, subsistence farmers; they were not incredibly wealthy at all. And so, when World War One happened, the husband and the son both went to the war…And so, y’know, the war was a big toll on them. And the father and the son both came back alive, but um…the father came back a little off. And a big part of that was the fact that he’d had an accident, and he had had to have both of his legs amputated above the knee. So he um, was in low spirits, and he became incredibly antisocial. He would just stay up in his room, he eventually kind of stopped coming down for meals…

So then many years later, um, World War Two happened and then the son had to leave again, and the family had to give away all of their metal. But um, before that happened, in between the wars, the husband had taken two tin cans, and he had taken the wrapping off of them–the labels off of them–and he had stuck the cans to the stumps of his legs. And so um…then fast forward again, so the son is gone now and the family has had to give their steel to the war, um, to the army, so they can melt it down to make weapons and whatnot. So they had to give away their, um, their light fixtures and the rest of their cans and their, um, scissors and their nail clippers and y’know, some silverware, stuff like that.

And so um…the husband all this time had been falling sort of into a deeper reverie. And the only big change was that he moved, um, into the living room. And so he would sit in the middle of the living room now instead of in his bedroom, ’cause y’know, he and his wife shared a bedroom and she was kinda getting creeped out by him. And what he would do is he would just sit in the chair and he wouldn’t really look at anything, he wouldn’t say anything, he would just sit there in silence and then whenever somebody came into the room he would just start staring at them without saying anything…And so, y’know, since they had to give away their metal, they had to get rid of their scissors and their nail clippers, and the wife and the daughter, they were, y’know, in sane states of mind, so they found ways to remain hygienic. But the uh, the husband, his hair started to grow very long and it would mat. And he had a thick beard and he had really long hair and it was scraggly and messy and he wouldn’t ever clean himself or–more importantly–he wouldn’t cut his nails or do anything about his nails, so they grew incredibly long. And um, eventually he actually started moving around a little more but um, he would get out of his chair, and he started to train himself to walk around. But at first it was very difficult because again, he only had tin cans on his leg stumps, above his knees. So he would walk around and it would sound like the click clack of his fingernails against the hardwood floor, and then a long drag of his legs behind him…Um, but he still would not speak to the family, he still didn’t say anything, and he still let all of his hair and all of his beard and all of his nails grow out incredibly long and he was slowly day by day starting to look less and less human. And um, then he started to change his behavior even more, and now he could get around pretty well on his just his hands and it was just a really fast click clack click clack click clack throughout the house, and he began to move away from the living room, but in a very strange way because he would only ever move in the shadows…And what he would do was, he would follow someone around, and they would just hear a slight click clack click clack click clack and any time they turned around it would stop. And they would keep walking and then…he would jump out at them! He would just leap from the shadows and surprise them.

But um, he never really did anything until the family got a notice from the government that they were going to build a marine base on their land! So, they had to organize to move. And this was now, World War Two was over and the son is back, and so the whole family is back together, and he’s obviously very disheartened to see, y’know, what his father has turned into. And so when the government marine base was about to, y’know, start and they seized this family’s land, and um…it came down to the night before they [were supposed to] move, and then in the morning there was nobody leaving the house. And um, the construction company and the project manager and everyone, they they came to the house and they came prepared to tell these people like, ‘you have to move out right now,’ prepared to help them move out their furniture. But they entered the house and it was a massacre. And there was blood everywhere and the wife the daughter and the son had all been murdered and they had just been mauled, they had been maimed, they had been cut into pieces. There were like, splashes of blood everywhere, it was incredibly gruesome. And there was no sign of the husband.

So, y’know, after this terror they still had to go along with the project. So they built the marine base, which is now what is the Quantico marine base in uh, very near Prince William Forest Park…um, so for the Marine Base, y’know, they had to train marines obviously. And something that in the park you can do is you go out and there are these orienteering posts. And orienteering, for those at home who don’t know, is using just a map and compass to find your way from a point A to a point B…And so this was really good training for the marines, but what they would do is they would do it at night, um, to make it harder. So they would send these people out and they wouldn’t always come back. And sometimes those who did come back would tell stories of things they saw in the darkness like huge, huge abnormal shapes and really incredibly fast footsteps, and some who came back would come back with long slashes on their face and they would say–if they could even say anything about their experience–they would say simply that they had been out there at night and then out of nowhere something had jumped out at them and tried to kill them. And it had cut long claw marks all over them. And um, it was a miracle that those men survived.

So um, y’know, eventually Prince William Forest Park was built. And there was, y’know, tourism that was established there. And what they do is they have these historical cabins that people can stay in and so, um, one night there was a family that was going to uh, y’know, just stay for a weekend in the park…And so this family, they were staying in the cabin and it was nice. They, y’know, unpacked on a Saturday evening, it was um, the Fall so the sun was beginning to set really early, but it was nice afternoon light, y’know, they were getting their sleeping bags, fixing up a little dinner and um, it fell dark very quickly. And so, as they were wrapping up for dinner sitting around the little fireplace, they started to hear something out on the porch. Um, and it sounded like a little animal maybe, some very light, very quick little scratches. And then they stopped their conversation, they listened, and a few seconds after the scratching was silent again. And they would, y’know, start talking again. And it became slightly more defined of a noise and they could identify it as a sort of click clack click clack click clack as if something was walking back and forth on their porch. And so they stop their conversation again, they listen harder, y’know, trying to figure out what is this animal out there. And the click clack stops. And then they wait a few minutes, and just as they’re about to start their conversation again, the noise begins again before they even start talking. And now it’s faster, it’s more erratic, and um, the wife, y’know, the mother of the family, she turns to her husband and she goes like, ‘honey, you should go see what that is, even if it’s a raccoon we should, y’know, at least scare it away so it doesn’t come in here and eat all our food at night.’ And the husband, of course, he gets up and he goes over and he goes to the door and the noise is getting louder as he’s approaching the door. And um, just as he puts his hand on the doorknob it stops. And he looks out the window, but it’s pitch black, he doesn’t really see anything. So he turns the doorknob and he opens the door…and there was Click Clack!”

The summer camp where Claire learned this legend is held partly in Prince William Forest Park, so it is directly connected to the camp’s location, and could serve as a cautionary tale for campers who want to stray into the woods. Claire has told me various different versions of the story, involving different characters’ run ins with “Click Clack.” I also vaguely remember a friend telling me a version of it when I was a kid, but it had no connection to Prince William Forest or Quantico.

La Leyenda de la Llorona

Informant: Carlota Rodriguez-Benito. 20 years old. Spanish Heritage, born in Miami, lived in Mexico. USC student.

Informant: “There is this very famous legend in Mexico called ‘La Leyenda de la Llorona.’ From what I can recall it goes like this. There was once this very beautiful woman. The most handsome guy fell in love with her and they had three beautiful children. Their life was perfect until one day he stopped coming home. He would only return at times to visit the children and paid no attention to her. One day, while the children were sleeping, she went to town to look for him. There, she saw him with another woman. She followed them for a long time and then… they kissed. She ran back home, woke up the children, and took them out on a picnic near a river. She got in the water and told the children to follow. She carried the children in her arms and told them everything would be alright. She held them strongly and sang them a lullaby. With tears in her eyes, she suddenly sank them in the water. The children screamed..…MAMÁ AYUDA (MOM HELP!)…..but she wouldn’t let go. The children stopped moving and she carried them out. It was that moment when she realized what she had done. She started crying and screamed…AYYY MIIISSS HIJOOOOSSS(OH MY CHILDREN)…. and tried to bring them back to life. She couldn’t live with what she had done and killed herself. Since then, she roams around at night crying for her children. If a child is awake and hears her cry, she steals him or her thinking it is her own. After taking the child and realizing it is not hers, she drowns him or her with grief!”

Collector: “When did you first hear this legend?”

Informant: “So I moved to Mexico in 10th grade. I don’t know exactly how I learned about the legend but if I can recall, it was around Halloween time. I was talking to a classmate and she asked me what I was gonna be. I told her I wanted to dress up as ‘La Katrina.’ She then told me she planned on being ‘La Llorona.’ “Excuse Me?” I asked her.  “What is La Llorona??” It was then that I learned the story and was immediately captivated. As I stayed in Mexico longer, I eventually learned that La Llorona is a legend that everyone knows. It is really part of the Mexican culture.

Thoughts: La Leyenda de la Llorona is really famous in Mexico. Interestingly, there are so many variations of the story. One version is that the woman killed the children because the husband paid more attention to them than to her. She hated the children and hoped that after killing them she would have him all to herself. Something that really surprised me is the intermix between La Llorona and La Malinche. Somehow, I had only heard about la Llorona and did not know about its correlation to la Malinche until I took this class. This story would spook me as a child and it would keep me from walking by myself at night. I think this is maybe because her story is everywhere in Mexico. The media also portrays la Llorona and there was even a ride that told her story at six flags called “La Mansion de la Llorona” – “The Weeping Woman’s Mansion.”

Interesting history of the legend: “http://www.lallorona.com/1legend.html”

For another version please see:  http://www.literacynet.org/lp/hperspectives/llorona.html

The Ant Face Girl

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials JK, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted through initials MB.

 

 

MB:  This one scared me, oh my gosh.  Part of what scared me is what my grandmother said after.  You can add that to the folklore I guess.  So Ann, it was so funny, said “I don’t know if I want to tell you his story because it’s so scary, it’s been bothering me”.  And I said “Cmon cmon just tell me.”  This is when we were kids keep in mind.  And she says “Ok fine.  It’s this story about girlfriend and boyfriend and the girlfriend goes to the beach and she falls asleep there.  And when she woke up there were ants all over her face, all over her face.  Like red ants, stingy red ants all over her face.  So her face ballooned up, she got them all off.  And her face ballooned up, I mean have you ever been stung by a red ant?

 

JK:  Yea I think I have.

 

MB:  They can sting you and she got stung all over the place.  So she goes to the hospital and they bandage up her face.

 

JK:  Did this take place anywhere specifically?

 

MB:  My sister told me Galveston, Texas, right on the water.  So they bandage up her face and they’re like, “Whatever you do, DON’T itch.  DO NOT ITCH YOUR FACE.”  But when you’re healing like that, oh my gosh, it’s just indescribable, just irresistible to itch.  I mean it’s just like ahhh, all you can do.  But they had her face bandaged up, they even tied her hands, they’re like “DON’T ITCH YOU FACE.”  They tied her hands.  And um, but she had a boyfriend and she begged her boyfriend, going nuts, just going nuts that she’s not able to get at her skin and it itched so badly, because it was healing we think right?  But she convinces her boyfriend to undo her bandages and undo her hands and she started itching her face….. and ants…. crawled out.  And they had made all these tunnels and everything in her face….. like an ant farm.  Isn’t that awful!?!?”

 

JK:  Wow yea, that is nasty.

 

MB: Ohhh yea, it always bothered me.  So Ann told me cause she was so disturbed by it and then once she told me she felt better about it, and I was so disturbed by it then– I was like carrying it.  So I told my grandmother– Granny, who i called Granny– and um, the funny thing, what does my Granny say but, “Well, I suppose that could happen.”  Haha.  Which totally freaked me out.  There were so many red ants in Arkansas and you would get stung and it would itch, it would really itch a lot.  It hurt.  And the recovery itched.  But the itching she was feeling was the ants crawling around in her skin.  My imagination would think there are all these channels and tunnels in her skin.”

 

Conclusion:

This story comes from my mother’s childhood friend, Mary.  She was originally told it by her older sister.  It was crazy to hear her tell the story in person and watch her face contort when she talks about the ants crawling out of the girl’s face.  It’s been almost 50 years since she first heard this, and it still fully geeks her out.  This story has the one aspect found in any great horror story: it is believable.  What’s more, Mary could relate to it because she grew up around red ants.  The cherry on top is her grandmother telling her, “Well, I suppose that could happen.”– Just the worst thing to tell a scared little kid who is looking for some kind of comfort/adult wisdom.