Tag Archives: white dress

An American Ghost Story

“There was a man who lived in a house in the middle of the woods. There weren’t any neighbors. I don’t remember where it was. It was like the middle of America. So he was getting construction done, they wanted to build like another house for their wife and the construction workers were having problems because there was always this girl like who kept showing up. And they would be like “Hey you know you need to leave. You need to get out of here. You need to leave.” 

And one day they like went up to him and they were like, “Hey sir, you need to tell your daughter to like stay in the house.” Like and he’s like, “Oh that’s not our daughter she visits from time to time.” And they were like, “Oh, what the frick?” Because there’s no houses around there or anything you know. 

Anyways, so the guy’s grandson goes to stay at their house, um after like everything is done. And he’s like sleeping in the living room kitchen area, all the lights are off. And at like five in the morning he hears like the light turn on and someone’s in the kitchen and he’s like, “Oh that’s weird, Imma go check it out.” Um cuz it’s like the same kind of room. And like he goes in the kitchen and the light turns off and he sees somebody walking in a white dress. And so he thinks it’s his grandmother… or grandfather, he can’t really see them and so he goes back to bed. And then wakes up in the morning and is like, “Grandfather why were up so late like what… like what were you doing?” and he was like, “Oh that wasn’t me like, that was like”… I don’t know what he named her like Tiffany or something and he’s like, “Who’s Tiffany?” and he’s like, “Oh she’s a ghost who visits from time to time.” 

Like what the?”

Context: The piece was collected during a casual at-home interview. I knew the informant loves horror films and ghost stories so I asked her to tell me her favorite ghost story. 

Background: The informant is my twenty-two year old sister. She learned this piece from someone she used to date. She and the person who originally told her the story live in San Diego, California. She is an avid metal and alternative music fan with a love of body modifications including tattoos and piercings as well as horror films. She claims the story functions for her as evidence for the existence of ghosts.

Analysis: I find this ghost story to be especially ominous because so many components (for example, the girl’s back story, how the grandfather knows her and why he isn’t afraid) are unexplained. Although the transcript may not reflect this, the story was told in a very similar manner as you might expect to hear gossip from a close friend or sister. Surprisingly, the tale is not cautionary. The little girl doesn’t really do anything grossly disruptive nor does she demand vengeance for past events, but rather simply asserts her presence. Instead of justifying the ghost’s existence or its purpose, the story merely asserts that supernatural forces exist whether you choose to view them as such. The characters’ reactions are contrasted with the grandfather’s seemingly calm demeanor, suggesting that the more common reaction is fear of the supernatural. Since the initial assumption of the construction crew and grandson were that the ghost was not supernatural but rather was a real person, the audience’s potential skepticism is addressed. All of these elements are heightened by the storyteller’s fervent belief in the veracity of the story which serves to reproduce the belief.