Informant: The informant in question was a sophomore screenwriting major at USC. White, female, and a Los Angeles native. She attended the Archer School, an upper-class girl’s private school in Brentwood.
Transcription: Oh! Oh my god okay. In my high school we had library sleepovers, and um, it was like where nerds went to party and it was like once a semester and we would all sleep over in the library as it sounds but like we would play Bloody Mary in the bathroom because we had a haunted bathroom. Oh god, we had a haunted bathroom which was like folklore of my high school because nobody wrote it down. Like it wasn’t written down like it was haunted but everyone knew it was haunted but they renovated it after I left. This dingy old bathroom and there was like no reason that it was haunted other than that the school used to be a retirement home and they said it was where they kept the dead bodies was like in our bathroom and supposedly if you said “Bloody Mary” there during the library sleepovers you would see Bloody Mary in the bathroom window – mirrors and in 7th grade somebody saw her but it wasn’t me. Somebody saw.
Why was that memory significant?
Cause it was so scary.
Where did you learn that?
High school, middle school. This girl in my grade who also lied a lot
What does it mean to you?
It was fun, like it was something that we all had in common like we all knew that the bathroom was haunted and that Bloody Mary lived there. But then they got rid of the haunted bathroom because they hate us.
Did you pass that story onto anyone else?
Yeah. You had to like tell everyone that the bathroom was haunted. It was the scariest place on campus.
What was it like? Was it different than any other bathrooms?
Yeah it was the only thing that hadn’t been renovated so it was also a storage unit and it was just like really rickety.
Analysis: This story serves as an indicator of the existence of fear as a form of bond-former in human social practices, particularly the fear of the unknown. As the bathroom in question was the only one not to be in the same modernized style as the rest of the Archer School, it immediately possessed an unsettling aura that the sleek, modernized classrooms and hallways did not. The mythos surrounding the school building’s former purpose served to increase the “spooky” nature of the location.
However, while this fear may have been disconcerting to an individual student of Archer, when it was confronted in a large group setting, it served to draw them all closer together. The bathroom served as a perfect location for the traditional sleepover game Bloody Mary, a familiar story to almost any reader. However, by having a particular location in which to play it, the game felt even more unique to their experience.