Spook around the world: International students share creepy stories

Israel Ashby

Staff Writer

With Halloween just around the corner, many Trojans are arming themselves with their favorite ghost stories to scare the freshmen. And while many know and talk about the ghost of Shackelford, the international students bring in a whole different level of creepy to the campfire.

Xiaojia Yu, a student of English as a second language from Wuhan, China, shared the legend of Bus 375 in Beijing.

“It is an old city, so there are some weird things there,” Yu said.

According to Yu, it is an actual story that happened in 1993, on a dark night when the bus was empty and had only the driver, the ticket collector, an old man and a young man on board.

“The bus was driving a long way,” Yu said. “They stopped at a station, and they see there are three guys, and the guys get on.”

Two of the newcomers, according to Yu, were carrying the third one by his arms as they made their way to the back of the bus.

“Then the old man grabbed the young man and told him, ‘You, thief, you stole my bag!’ ” Yu said. “The old man made the driver stop the bus and got off with the young man.”

“After the bus drove off, the man told the boy he had saved his life,” Yu said. “The man explained that he accidentally saw that the middle man had no feet; he was merely floating.”

According to Yu, the bus disappeared the next day and was found flipped over three days later with all the passengers’ necks snapped.

“It was in the newspaper, and many people know this,” Yu said.

Many scary stories in different countries involve children, including the Chinese story of the ’90s TV commercial ghost child.

According to Yu, the commercial was for the government-operated railway station. In the footage that exists to this day, six children are seen lined up, hands of each placed on the shoulders of the next one in line, forming wagons of the train, except for the shot where a seventh child, a girl, appears to be in the row. The boy who followed her is said to have died soon after the commercial aired.

Yu said the story goes that when the producers found out about the extra child, they canceled the advertising.

Some stories don’t make headlines but are still part of folklore. According to Thuy Nguyen, a senior financial economics major from Hanoi, Vietnam, parents scare children with an evil figure, an equivalent of the boogeyman, when the children cry at night.

“The parents will say, ‘I will bring you outside and give you to Ong Ba Bi!’ ” Nguyen said.

“We haven’t seen that person, that kind of witch or evil person,” Nguyen said. “It’s just something we imagine in our minds — someone that’s really evil, maybe very old, very scary, wearing dark and dirty clothes, just waiting out there for any disobedient children, crying children, to be thrown out there and grabbed. That’s what children are afraid of.”

Disobedient Belgian children have their own version of a boogeyman who comes once a year. 

“In Belgium, instead of having Santa Claus, we have Saint Nick, and he comes on the sixth of December,” said Emily Foster, a freshman English major from Waterloo, Belgium. “There’s a theory that along with (Saint Nick), there is his helper, Black Pete, and he will kidnap any bad little children.”

Children in Vietnam, according to Nguyen, are said to be extremely sensitive to the supernatural due to their intuition and open-mindedness.

This quality also seems to be important to children in Malawi, where, in the old days, children were taught witchcraft for protection, according to Martha Njolomole, a senior economics major from Blantyre, Malawi.

“In the past, you were only allowed to teach your clan,” Njolomole said. “The grandparents were allowed to teach witchcraft to their grandkids ’cause it was used for protection. That’s what they say so you couldn’t go around teaching people from other clans.”

According to Njolomole, one legend says that a girl went out at night and saw witches grind bones from the arms of dead children into floor to make mandasi, a type of bread cake.

“The kid said when you see them making mandasi, she’s not actually making it because she already made it during the night, and she was just finishing it.”

Other objects can also have an unknown dark history. In China, some dead are buried with a jade stone in their mouths, which traps their souls in the body.

“If they have jade in their mouth, that will keep their soul in the jade, or a part of their soul, and that jade is bad luck for people,” Yu said. “If somebody wears the red jade, it can make people sick. That’s true.”

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