Three Knocks

Interviewer: Do you have any ghost stories from your family or any personal ones?

Informant: I do remember one. This took place during 1973 in China.

Informant: My father was raised by his grandmother for most of his childhood, and so he was very close to her. My mother was also close to her. One night, my father was out of town, and my mother heard a hard knocking of three times on the window late at night and saw a shadow appear. She yelled “Who is it?” No response. She went outside to see who it was, but no one was there.

Interviewer: Did she find out who it was?

Informant: In a way. The next morning, a messenger arrived at the home, and passed on the news that my father’s grandmother had passed away. To this day, my mother still believes that the knocking was the spirit of my father’s grandmother, to say goodbye or send a signal or warning.



The informant believes that there’s a possibility that the ghost of the grandmother is involved, but it’s not entirely impossible for all those events to happen by chance. If we pay attention to the details regarding the knock, we can find that the that the knock occurred three times, showing us that the original storyteller (informant’s mother) believed that it was a real knock, not something made up or just a random object that created the noise, compared to a knock that occurred only once or twice Clearly, we do not know for sure where the knock originated from, but this is just the experience of the informant’s mother. In addition, the fact that the grandmother had passed away was unknown to the informant’s mother makes the story seem more real. The “ghost” in this story also is not very corporal and was not seen visibly aside from the shadow; however, the ghost (the grandmother) is of someone that the narrator knows and was close with. Since she was familiar with the ghost, it can be assumed that the ghost is a “good ghost.” Seeing deceased family members is quite common, yet the unique part of this story is how the original narrator was not aware that the grandmother had passed away. This ghost story also shows prevalence of ancestral ghosts and the closeness of family ties. In Asian cultures, ghosts of family members and ancestors are quite common, especially due to beliefs in ancestral worship and influences from Confucianism.

I find this story believable because of the coincidental nature of certain events. For example, it’s such a coincidence that the knock occurred right before she was informed of the death of the grandmother. On top of that, the original narrator had checked to see who was knocking, yet no one was there, despite the appearance of a shadow. The possibility of all of this occurring together, with no other meaning or explanation to it does seem very low.