PAO Superstition Night

On Saturday, Oct. 28 from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Pan Asian Organization (PAO) hosted their second annual Superstition Night in the Mead Witter Room of Warch Campus Center. The event was an open forum inviting students to tell horror and ghost stories, mysteries and folklore from different cultures. The stories ranged from mysteries of sleep paralysis, unexplained bad luck and cultural superstitions. It was a spooky night with friends in front of the fireplace with the lights out and creepy music.

Here are a few of the scary stories that were told by the members of PAO:
Junior Sam Bader shared a spooky Hawaiian folklore: “Many people only think about Hawaii as an island paradise with beautiful scenery and a laid-back lifestyle. Growing up here I know that this place is not without its more haunting moments as well. Some of the spirits of those who have lived in the islands before us, and many of the living have been lucky enough to have experienced ghostly encounters and lived to tell the tale. The most famous of these stories come in the form of ‘Night Marchers,’ the spirits of Hawaiian warriors protecting the lands that they fought for. Legends say that their coming is marked by ominous drumbeats and flaming torches from a distance when you’re in a remote area of the island. They come process across the footpaths in formation, but one must never look at them directly, or they encounter will be deadly; people have disappeared after reported encounters and never seen again. Instead, one must lay on the ground face down until they pass, and sometimes even naked to take an extra precaution, as a form of respect. There are other spirits that roam the islands, including the volcano goddess Pele, who can appear to humans in different forms without them knowing, yet command lava at her will to destroy or create life. Regardless, there are many more stories that are abundant in Hawaii, and most end the same way: have respect to the people and the land you visit wherever you go, and no harm will be done to you.”

Sophomore Stephon Berry said, “As early as I can remember, I had the ability to lucid dream. When I was in eighth grade, prior to the therapists and the doctors and my depression diagnosis, in between frequent transplants of what my family deemed home. I lived in a house on the south side of Chicago.

“For the major portion of my life dealt with sleep paralysis. The family physician said it was the result of my mind waking before my body, and prescribed that I break the 7 p.m. fast and drink more fluids. I did and eventually the problem went away. But when we moved into this house, coupled with depression and insomnia, it crept back.

“In this house I would wake from a quarter night’s sleep, and a silhouette somehow shadowed by the light of the TV, and it would just stand at the end of my bed. It would just look at me, and back away toward the closet. I would shut my eyes tight and the next time I opened them it would be gone. The next morning I would wake up and check the closet with flashlight and knife from the kitchen in hand.

“I awoke at around two or three in the morning to the thing standing directly next to my bed, in line with my stomach and looking down at my face. Through my eyelashes I still could not see a face. It looked down, is if it knew I were looking back it. I shut my eyes as it backed away toward the closet and when I opened my eyes again it was gone. When my aunt came over to spend the night she stayed in my room. She woke me in the middle of the night to the jiggling knob of my closet door. The door had stopped after a while, but the next morning we told my mom about it and she took it a bit more seriously. That night after my aunt went home I put a broom beneath the knob of the closet door and jammed the handle end against the floor to try to keep the door shut. When I woke in the middle of the night the closet door was closed, but the broom was missing. The figure stood facing my ‘sleeping body,’ directly in front of my legs. It reached out and it seemed like it brushed my leg. It looked up at my face, rested its hand there for a bit, and finally backed away toward the closet door. When I opened my eyes it was gone. The next morning I woke up and the broom was replaced. I honestly started to think I was imagining it all. The whole thing never got explained. But when we moved it stopped.

“Even stranger was that last winter I joined a group on Facebook with a thread on sleep paralysis, and I decided to share my story. I got into a dialogue with an artist who lived on the East Coast and had painted all the places from his dreams in which he had sleep paralysis. One of them looked exactly like my room from the house in Chicago.”

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