Tag Archives: personal narrative

Conversations with Spirits during Dreams (Memorate)


Collector: “Have you ever been contacted by a spirit?” 

Informant: “With loved ones that I have lost, I have had experiences with them partially in the physical world and a lot in the metaphysical slash dream world. When our Nana died, I started having dreams about her and they felt immensely real. I’ll still have some every now and again. I’ve had experiences with my father’s grandfather who passed away. Immediately after he passed away, he came to me in a dream and told me things about myself, gifts that I had, and I felt like he was very at peace with his death. I only experienced him once, same with my great-grandmother. Two days prior to her physical death.” 

Collector: “What made this experience feel different than other dreams, your normal dreams?” 

Informant: “In these dreams, I felt paralyzed like another force was holding on to me. Almost like my soul was in a different place and then needed time to get back to my body. I found myself lying in bed. I heard the sound of static like a television channel. It grew louder. I grew more uneasy. My body felt celestial is the best way to put it.” 


The Informant is a 26-year-old man. He’s had several spiritual interactions through intense dreams and episodes of sleep paralysis. Each interaction was with a deceased family member after or nearly before their time of passing. The Informant expressed he could have full-length conversations with the dead through this medium. 


I found it interesting that the Informant’s spiritual interactions took place during vivid dreams. This reminded me of the article, “Ghostly Possession and Real Estate: The Dead in Contemporary Estonian Folklore” when the author Ülo Valk explains that, “visual and auditory experiences with spirits can also occur in dreamlike states.” (Valk 34) In this dream space, both parties could say their peace. These encounters also happened near the Spirit’s time of death. This could be interpreted as the Spirit “finishing business” with loved ones before moving on to the afterlife. Valk also notes that spiritual interactions commonly occur in transition periods where there are feelings of, “disorientation, uncertainty, discontinuity, [and] unrootedness.” (Valk 35) Those emotions are common during grief. For the Informant, these spiritual conversations helped both parties to emotionally move forward and find peace in their respective realms. 

Christian Faith Testimonial


My father faced a lot of difficulty in his early life. Born in the same Southern California town that I was, his mother died at 11 and his father at 17, leaving him orphaned and couch surfing immediately out of high school. He had been raised Christian, but fell hard into the Evangelical Christian revival of the 1980s. Although we no longer attend church and his views have softened drastically since I was a child, he maintains a strong tie to his faith. I first heard this story about a week before I asked him to record it. We were having a lengthy discussion about the world, and he told this story as testimonial for his faith. This recording occurred over family dinner at my parents’ home. The events that are described likely happened in the year 1980 or 1981.


SS: We were–my wife and myself–and, and a good friend of ours were young Christians. And we traveled everywhere together. And I had nothing. I had no job, I had nothing. And my father and I lived together and he was he was getting ill, I really realized it. But I came, we’re living in this little one bedroom. I would call it a shack. And I was sleeping in the bedroom, he slept on the couch. And my–I came home one day back to the little shack. And my brother had been there–when he lived in Arizona, and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. And he left a note saying, I took your dad and, and took him back to Arizona because he’s sick. Need to take care of him. And because you have nothing here.

SS: And basically, we spoke with the–the owner of this place who owns the house up front, “You’re gonna have to move.” I had no job I had no nothing. And I was–was damn I didn’t know what I was gonna do. And, and I just–I basically went and, and laid on my bed and, and cried out to the Lord, I just said, Jesus, I can’t do this. I can’t, I got no place to go. I’m done. I, you know, I wept and prayed. And then I went into a really deep sleep, like a nap but deeper.

SS: And I was awakened by banging on the door. And it was our friend that came to the door. And–and he was always optimistic, positive, full of the Holy Spirit. And he–and he said, he said, “The Lord told me to come here and said you needed me to help.” So he said, “Let’s walk.”

SS: So we hitchhiked–and we hitchhiked probably from one city to another, probably 12 miles. And we ran across a guy that was looking for help. I think it was working in a gas station. He hired me. And that same time, I don’t know how it came about. But my godparents’ son contacted me, I don’t know if I he called me. I don’t think you could call me because this was before cellphones, but if I ran across him, I don’t really remember. But he was living in a–in a mobile home park, and he needed to help sometimes with his–help him, you know, clean up around his place because his–’cause his wife and daughter, because he was working so much. And he had a–he had a little travel trailer on the side inside of his carport.

SS: And so by the end of that day, I had a place to live and two jobs. And I always attribute it to the fact that I was as low as I could go. And I think sometimes when you when you cry out from that point–from that position, it’s when God answers your prayers. It’s when you’re–when you’re done and you got no options, because he wants us to cast our cares on Him, so he can carry us. But we’re too proud most of the time.

SS: So that’s that story.


Although I no longer identify as a Christian, I find this story compelling, especially given my emotional connection to the speaker. A testimonial like this has a very specific context. My father is an open-minded man in many respects, and immediately prior to this, I was speaking about my spiritual beliefs that are completely alienated from Christian theology. He brought his story up not necessarily to convince me of the existence of the Christian God, but rather to reaffirm his own faith. Coincidence or not, real life events created this narrative, demonstrating how religious experience is not just doctrinal, but first-hand and emotional too.

Following Propp’s “31 Narratemes,” the narrative can be broken up into key narrative elements: the stakes effecting the protagonist are defined; absentation, someone goes missing (1); villainy and lack: the need is identified (8); mediation, the hero discovers the lack (9); acquisition, hero gains magical item (14); departure, hero leaves on a mission (11); transfiguration, hero is given a new appearance (29); resolution, initial misfortune or lack is resolved (26).



A heard about these creatures when growing up in a rural part of Mexico. In this interview they recount their personal experience with a mythological creature.

The context of this was during a dinner when the conversation of creatures from folklore was asked about.


A: Aprendí sobre los chaneques cuando era pequeño, incluso vi uno una vez. Mi madre me había dicho que no me acercara a un río junto al pueblo en el que crecí, pero no le hice caso, así que iba con otros chicos del pueblo casi todas las semanas.

Me: ¿Es ahí donde lo viste?

A: Sí, estaba jugando a un juego con mis amigos y acabé separándome del resto. En la orilla del río, escondido detrás de un árbol, vi algo pequeño. Podía oírlo cantando o tarareando algo, no lo recuerdo muy bien ahora pero sí recuerdo haberlo oído. Me llamaba y trataba de que me acercara, creo, pero me asusté demasiado y corrí de vuelta a casa.

Me: ¿Lo viste después de eso?

A: Nunca más volví sin mi madre o mis amigos, así que no, no lo he vuelto a ver.


A: I learned about chaneques when I was little, I even saw one once. My mother had told me not to go near a river next to the village where I grew up, but I didn’t listen to her, so I went with other kids from the village almost every week.

Me: Is that where you saw him?

A: Yes, I was playing a game with my friends and ended up getting separated from the rest. On the riverbank, hiding behind a tree, I saw something small. I could hear it singing or humming something, I don’t remember it very well now but I do remember hearing it. It was calling to me and trying to get me to come closer, I think, but I got too scared and ran back home.

Me: Did you see him after that?

A: I never went back without my mother or my friends, so no, I never saw him again.


I found this interview really interesting because it was a personal narrative from someone that had actually encountered a mythical being. I had never met or had anyone tell me about meeting a mythical being so it was engaging to hear such a story. I have read about and watched videos regarding people’s encounters with beings of folklore but it was an entirely different experience to hear it in person. This was because I was able to see the body language and subtle changes in expression when A was telling their story. The experience felt so genuine and the raw emotion they spoke of was really compelling to hear. It was also interesting to hear about how the chaneques would sing or maybe hum as a way to somewhat lure children towards them, as said by A.