Tag Archives: paranormal

Chinese Sleep Paralysis Apparitions

This is a story that I heard from a barber when discussing folklore origins. S is a middle aged Chinese woman who used to live in China before immigrating to the United States.

C: My sister used to have pretty bad sleep paralysis when she was little. She got scissor lock, right, so she can’t move, sleep paralysis. She said that she couldn’t see, er, in her head I think she said there was a small girl running around her bed trying to give her an apple.

Me: Huh, an apple?

C: Yeah, like trying to give her an apple. I think her bed was in the center of the room so the girl would run around her bed and try to hand it to her. Another time, my sister used to have a lot of sleep paralysis, and she could only move her eyes. And she said during that time, in like a dark corner, she could see, you know in cartoons like the bad guy when they go Ha Ha Ha (menacingly)? She would see a shadowy figure and she would hear him laughing. After the first few times, I think she got used to it though. Thankfully, I’ve never gotten scissor lock before.

Me: Wow, that is so scaryyy. Ahh. This is kind of weird but do you know if someone has ever died in your house or on the land around you?

C: No, sorry I never heard anything like that before.

Me: All good, I was just wondering. Thank you for your story!

Even though I have heard and read many stories about sleep paralysis demons, I have never heard of an apparition of a little girl with an apple. The contrast between a somewhat innocent-seeming girl and a laughing dark figure is very interesting, though what is more intriguing is that someone could get used to the sleep paralysis demons and the feeling of not being able to move your body while mentally awake. Since Asian countries are more open to the spirits and ancestors than in many western countries, people in these Asian countries are less likely to be frightened by the apparitions and instead see them as some spirits who simply want some company or have some fun.

Whistling witches in the trees

A. is a 55-year-old mother of two in San Antonio, Texas. She grew up in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, a small town nearing the center of the country. She immigrated in her mid-twenties to join her husband in Chicago. She claims in this story that she saw a witch and describes the personal experience in detail every year near Halloween or Dia de los Muertos.

This performance was over the dining table. I was bringing her family conchas and other traditional Dia de los Muertos’ breads like pan de muerto.

Intv: Ok entonces, puedes reiterar ese cuento que siempre me contaste? / Ok then, can you reiterate that story you always told me

A: Claro, claro. Primeramente, el cuento tomo lugar en San Luis Potosi, mi hogar. Allí, viviamos en este casa de dos niveles y dentro del centro habia un patio real lleno de arboles de fruta. En el segundo nivel habia un pasillo que siempre recuerdo nuestro perro, Willie, corria por para saludar visitantes, tambien se podia ver los arboles de nuez que crecieron alrededor de la casa y tambien la entrada de la casa. Claro que esos arboles crecieron un poco mas alto, y por ese pasillo dormia Willie anoche. Acuerdo este noche donde cual Willie no tranquilizaba. Le invite dentro mi cuatro que mi mama, la abuela de Mili, prohibia pero sabia que ella pusiera de peor humor si le deje ladrando. Willie no quizo, y finalmente sali a media noche en mis pantuflas para ver que se notaba Willie. Al abrir de mi puerta escuche un silvando. Acerce al frente del pasillo y vi una figura donde escuchaba el silvando. De repente acorde de un cuento de mi ninez del vecindario. En las noches acerando la noche de todos los santos salian sombras en los arboles que silvaron. El cuento seguia que esos fueron brujas o gente embrujada invitando ninos para sequestrar.

//

Of course, of course. First, the story took place in San Luis Potosi, my home. There, we lived in this two-level house and inside the center there was a courtyard full of fruit trees. On the second level there was a hallway that I always remember our dog, Willie, ran through to greet visitors; you could also see the walnut trees that grew around the house and the entrance of the house. Of course, those trees grew a little taller, and willie slept down that hallway at night. But one night Willie wouldn’t calm down. I invited Willie into my room, something that my mother, Mili’s grandmother, forbids but I knew she would be in a worse mood if I left him barking. Willie didn’t want to, and finally I went out in the middle of the night in my slippers to see what Willie saw. As I opened my door, I heard a whistling. I approached the front of the corridor and saw a figure where I heard the whistling. Suddenly I remembered a story of my childhood. In the nights approaching the night of all the saints, shadows came out in the trees that whistled. The tale followed that these were witches or haunted people luring children to kidnap them.

This myth seems closely linked to the myth of La Lechuza, the bewitched owl women. As aforementioned in the annotation for La isla de las munecas, cultural syncretism plays a large part in La Lechuza’s etymology as well. Owls interestingly are a shared omen amongst many cultures, often developed worlds away from their parallel symbols. This bird of prey with empty black eyes and a scientifically proven silent flight brought chills to dozens of indigenous cultures, being cited as an omen of death repeatedly. La Lechuza moved into Tejano folklore easily with the frequent migration between Mexico and Tejas. As a tejano, I’ve encountered many barn owls near the Gulf of Mexico that glide atop the coastal winds and seem distinctly out of place with their white feathers and habit of flying at eye-level of humans. La Lechuza’s mythology capitalizes off the owls’ nocturnal habits and follows the myth of a persecuted witch that shapeshifts in the night hours and perches in trees as a 7ft tall woman with an owl face luring children. Rumors also dictate the unlikeliness of surviving an encounter with La Lechuza, once again solidifying it as a death omen. Some of her rumored powers are controlling the weather, causing supernatural accidents and deaths and amidst many other claims, gripping a child with their talons and flying off.

To read more about La Lechuza, see “Owl-Bewitchment in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.” Humberto Garza in the Celebrating 100 Years of the Texas Folklore Society 1909-2009 Page 38. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271470/m2/1/high_res_d/9781574413601.pdf 03+

The Return of a Dead Friend?

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a story told by the informant, DH.

DH – So when I was 16, I lost one of my best friends in car crash. And every time my friend and I would drive by the place of crash we would say “we love you (*name*)” and look up to sky. So a year had passed and it was the anniversary of his death. We were driving on that same road, and I had a cassette tape playing. It just so happened to be playing his favorite song. Right when we approached the exact spot of the crash, the favorite line of the song was playing. My friend and I said, “we love you (*name*)” and all of a sudden the tape made a static sound and the cassette popped out of the player.  We pulled over and looked at each other and started to cry. We also looked at the cassette tape, and there was no crease or anything that would have caused it to pop out of the cassette deck.  We put the tape back in and rewound it, and it played just fine.  We think this was definitely a sign from him, as everything had lined up perfectly.  The location, the song, the line from the song, and then the tape popping out.

Background: The informant of the story says to have experienced this first hand when she was 17 years old. She often tells it because it was the craziest occurrence in her life and often thinks about it when she returns to her hometown in northern California. She is also reminded of it when that song happens to play on the radio. 

Context: The informant had told me this story when we drove past the exact spot on our way home from the Bay Area. 

My Thoughts: Personally, this piece of lore creeps me out. I’m not sure wether I believe it or not, but yet again I don’t see why her or her friend would make it up. If anything, this story really makes me believe in ghosts, because there is no way this happened by coincidence. It also makes me wonder if only certain people are able to experience ghosts. This same informant has had many different occurrences like this, and I have another friend who has as well. I, however, have never experienced a paranormal activity like this before. It is also interesting to think about why ghosts would come back and show signs like that. Are they trying to pass a message? Why can’t they just talk? It is an interesting topic to think about for sure.

Haunted Banana Tree

Informant (J.B.) is a 19 year old Los Angeles native. J.B.’s mother is an immigrant from Thailand, and his father is an immigrant from Guatemala. J.B. speaks English, Thai, Korean, Japanese, some Spanish. J.B. and I grew up in the same neighborhood, with mutual friends. One afternoon while overhearing another collection I was conducting, J.B. offered to share a story about his mother.

J.B.: “Back when my mom was a kid she lived in this house that went through a complete change, like renovation. It used to be… a funeral home, but then they turned it into the house. My grandpa bought it without knowing what it used to be, so there would be a lot of weird shit that would happen. Like my mom would wake up by a banana tree, and they would always trip out. A lot of weird shit would happen and they thought it was because it was a death house or whatever. One day she had a really bad fever and she heard a woman crying from out by the banana tree, and she was tripping out. I don’t know what happened after that, she was praying and freaking out and it went away. Nobody else was in the house.”

J.B. is interested in his mother’s ghost story, as it provides a sliver of insight into her youth. J.B. is open to the idea of the supernatural, as both of his parents have witnessed inexplicable experiences which have ultimately become such paranormal memorates.

For children it is common to see or even chase ghosts. I interpret this phenomenon to be not only due to a looser definition for reality, but also the thrill of the unknown (in this case being a banana tree outside the safety of her home).