Tag Archives: virginia

The Haunted Virginia Apartment Unit Pt. 2

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Virginia
Date of Performance/Collection: October 21, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Korean

Informant: I used to live in an apartment when I first moved to Virginia around 2007. I was around 8 years old. I was playing with my friend and my mom had previously gotten me a baby doll (I had about three of them). It was the ones you would get in Easter baskets. My friend did not like the way they looked, so she shoved the dolls into a drawer and closed it. She had to go, so we all went downstairs. It was just my parents and me (only child). When I came back into my room, the drawer was open, everything was trashed, my tea table was turned upside down. There were three dolls on my bed looking at the bedroom door. Slightly irrelevant, but a few years later, my apartment burned down (only my unit of the apartment) and the only thing that survived was our Bible. It was absolutely pristine and unscathed.

Background/Informant Thoughts: The informant lived in an apartment in Virginia when they were around 8 years old in 2007. There were repeated accounts of haunting going on in there. The informant felt unsafe and like something was out to get her. She felt as if it only wanted her out of the apartment. She remembers this because it was so traumatic to her. Seeing dolls staring at the door with her room torn apart shook her to her core. She was even more concerned after seeing the Bible was the only thing left unscathed after her unit in the apartment burned down.

My Thoughts: As with the first story, I am extremely freaked out by the amount of paranormal activity that has occurred just with this apartment alone. I believe whatever was residing in that apartment truly did not want her in there. If I came back to my room being seemingly ransacked, I would be freaked out and move out as soon as possible! Especially as a child, I would be terrified to sleep in that room.

The Tradition Surrounding Mary Draper Ingles in Virginia

--Informant Info--
Nationality: United States of America
Age: 51
Occupation: Owner of Concer Media
Residence: Kansas City, MO
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/25/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main piece:

“There’s this story from my hometown of Bradford, Virginia about this woman named Mary Draper Ingles who, during the 1750s, was kidnapped by a group of Native Americans. She might have had a child at the time, but she was kidnapped by these Natives and then eventually escaped and then followed the rivers from Ohio back to Virginia where she lived in Bradford for a while until she died but there’s several parts of the town that remember her including an annual theater production.” 

Background:

The informant for this piece is a man in his early 50s who was raised in a small town called Bradford in southwest Virginia in the New River Valley. This area had broader ties to Appalachian culture as a whole and he lived there throughout his childhood and teens. This story is a local story about a real woman but whose kidnapping and return is sometimes doubted. Regardless, the town uses the story to establish a local identity, especially in the form of an annual theater production.

Context:

This story was shared with me during an encounter with my informant wherein I asked if he had any examples of local Appalachian folk culture. The conversation occurred in his backyard alongside family and friends.

Thoughts:

I find this story fascinating as the figure of the piece is entirely real. Mary Draper Ingles was a real woman who was kidnapped by Native Americas in the 1750s. However, the story of her return has become crucial for the identity of Bradford, Virginia. She is a proud figurehead for the community, which ties the community to their specific place and argues their right to exist. What is even more interesting is how the town still romanticizes the story. As mentioned above, the town hosts an annual theater production about her. While this might veer outside of folklore because it features authored literature, the traditions done around the piece are more folkloric in nature. This places the story in a strange level of liminality. It is both real and fiction, authored and folklore. This binary is interesting and is used by the natives of Bradford to establish identity.

Toboggan As A Hat Instead Of A Sled In Virginia

--Informant Info--
Nationality: United States of America
Age: 51
Occupation: Owner of Concer Media
Residence: Kansas City, MO
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/12/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main piece:

Toboggan in reference to a hat

Background:

Toboggan is a term typically used in reference to sleds, however my informant who is a man in his early 50s from southwest Virginia told me that in his hometown of Bradford, Virginia, the term is only used to describe a winter hat. It was not until he went to college in Virginia but outside his hometown did he learn the usual use of the word. Furthermore, the informant claims that this use of the word as a hat is unique to only a small Appalachian community consisting of his hometown and a few other nearby areas. 

Context:

This story was shared with me during an encounter with my informant wherein I asked if he had any examples of local Appalachian folk culture. The conversation occurred in his backyard alongside family and friends.

Thoughts:

While this piece might not be as groundbreaking as other examples in this collection, I find the parameters of this unique saying fascinating. First of all, toboggan is generally understood as some sort of sled. This begs the question of why, regionally, it changed to another winter-based object. Furthermore, the area affected by this saying is rather small. According to my informant, the use of the word is regulated to small communities in the Appalachian area. So much so that when he went to college, still within Virginia, using the word toboggan as a hat seemed ridiculous. This, in my opinion, shows extreme examples of regional distinction as only someone directly from one of those typically isolated communities would refer to toboggan as a hat.

Common DMV Slang: Sice

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 18
Occupation: student
Residence: MD
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/27/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Arabic

K: Every time you can tell someone is just straight-up lying or exaggerating over a situation, they’re sicing it. Sice is just slang for excited or exaggerated. It’s almost like lying but not quite. They’re just making a bigger deal out of what’s really going on. So whenever I hear someone just being overly dramatic, I tell them to stop sicing it up.

DMV= DC, Maryland, Virginia

For the DMV area, this is a very popular slang term. According to the context given by K, it’s safe to say that the culture associated with this region definitely has strong feelings towards dramatic actions. This isn’t something that is at all tolerated which says a lot about how important full honesty is for this group. It’s a good thing to speak your truth but save yourself the embarrassment of being called out for any obvious embellishments.

“Click Clack”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 17
Occupation: High school student
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/23/2018
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

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.

Bunnyman Bridge

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 9, 2015
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

The legend:

“So the story is of Bunnyman Bridge, which is like this bridge in Virginia that’s supposedly haunted, is that…there’s this guy, the story changes depending on who you ask, but he was like the Bunnyman, who’s like this serial killer or like child molester, one of those like Freddie Kreuger kind of things. And he would like wear a Bunnyman suit to lure the children. And so the legend is like he…was either in a nearby jail or insane asylum, I wanna say it was like a psych ward or like…one of those kinds of things, that’s now like not in existence or shut down. And he like, he escaped and like hijacked a bus, and like drove it to Bunnyman Bridge and like hung himself from Bunnyman Bridge. And so, that’s why it’s haunted, so people always like…well maybe the legend is that he’s still alive and comes back? I don’t know, the point is, someone hung themselves from Bunnyman Bridge related to the Bunnyman, and he like haunts it or something, so like my sister in high school would go with her friends to Bunnyman Bridge, like so badass and scary. And she like, my mom got so mad at her, and it’s like a thing that like Northern Virginia like teenagers do and know of.”

 

The informant is a freshman at USC originally from Virginia. She learned this legend from stories that her older sister (five years older) used to tell her. This legend is passed through high schoolers in the surrounding area. I imagine it’s just a fun scary story to tell each other, and especially to younger kids, as the informant was in middle school when her sister told her about this legend. She told me that she had never been to Bunnyman Bridge herself because she was always too scared to go, so it’s clear that the legend had a profound effect on her.

Blue Bend Cold Water Jump

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Ohio
Date of Performance/Collection: 4.19.2014
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Item:

Me: “So was this like the big ‘you’re a man now’ moment or something?”

Informant: “Not quite that but, I guess, it definitely was a change and I felt like I was considered older by my parents because I was allowed to do it.”

The informant’s family participates in a tradition at a river camp named Blue Bend in West Virginia. Years ago, the informant’s father’s family began visiting the location. In the winter, the river isn’t frozen over but is brutally cold. At one point, the kids (including the informant’s father) noticed people would jump into the near-frozen water of the river. This was taken as a challenge, and became a tradition to do so once every trip up there. Over time, this expanded into excursions with many families going up during the cold season and jumping into the water at least once.

 

Context:

The informant began going with his family at at young age to the location. But only upon reaching a certain age was he allowed to jump into the river, since it’s a little dangerous to jump into an ice cold, moving body of water as a child. His first time was like a rite of passage. In subsequent trips, it simply became a personal challenge that also connected him with the other people subjecting themselves to the frigid water.

 

Analysis:

It’s interesting to see an event or tradition that serves a dual purpose of being somewhat of a rite of passage but also a yearly act by everyone involved who has passed that period. Perhaps it’s like “going on the hunt” for the first time. In any case, the deliberate discomfort of jumping into cold water is a moment a lot of families have come to look forward to in this tradition. It’s also pretty fascinating that it did start with kids, but now kids have to be a certain age – likely older than the originals – to participate.