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Pop Culture



Stories Inspired by Technology and Pop Culture


    Folk stories are often updated to "keep up with" technological advances.  Cellular phones and movie characters find their way into stories about ghosts and curses. The folklore motifs of "curses" and "guardian angels" still show up in modern stories.

       "Spirits intercept cell phone call"
Molly Sheridan: Me and Bethany were home alone at the lake cottage when the phone rang. Andy was on the [cell] phone and she and my mom were in the cemetery trying to see if the haunts would intercept the call. There was so much static all we could make out was that it was Aunt Andy--nothing else. They were standing at Bob Brindle's grave. Two days later, Mary (Bob's wife) was killed in a car crash.

The grave that "intercepted" the phone call.

"Cell phone won’t work in cemetery"
Bethany Kuzma: Well, once, at Barbee Lake, my cousin Molly was with me, and we were the only ones in the cottage. Everybody else was out on the boat. And we were just eating popsicles while my Aunt Meng, my mom, and some other people were going to the cemetery to see if they could call us on the phone because they had heard that the cell phone wouldn’t work in the cemetery. So they tried it, but it didn’t work. The cell phone wouldn’t work, I mean. And they came back, they were okay, and we were still eating popsicles. We said, "Did you try it?" and they said "Yes."

"Call for help heard across the miles"
Bob Sheridan
:  I was home in Muncie, and Grandma [Betty] and all of the kids were at the lakes. At about two o’clock in the morning I heard Grandma say "Help!" And it was so realistic, it woke me up. I got on the phone and called the cottage, and they were having trouble at the lakes at two o’clock in the morning. I said "What’s going on?" and she said "The boys are outside; we had trouble with a window-peeper." And that is a true story.
Betty Sheridan:  I don’t think that one is a true story either because if there were really a window-peeper Danny and P.V. would have been too scared to run around outside!
Bob:  No, this one is the honest truth; I could never forget that because I sat up in bed, and it was so realistic, I had to call. I thought I would wake them up, but they were already awake.

"Godzilla smiles outside lake cottage"
Donnie Kuzma:  I had Kyle and Ryan spend the night with me at the lake cottage. And what happened was, we were in my room, and we were sleeping, and then Kyle woke me and Ryan up and said "I heard something! I heard something outside!" We walked outside, and then Ryan goes "Look!" and I looked, and it was Godzilla smiling at me!
[Well . . . at least he was smiling.]
Hey! It was a true story! It’s a true story!

"Guardian angel gives sign"
[Pete and Andy Kuzma had owned a cottage on Big Barbee Lake. They sold it, but were interested in buying it back some years later.]
Pete Kuzma:
  I’ve got a guardian angel story about the lakes. This is a true story. I was reading this book on guardian angels. It says that everybody’s got them, and that you can communicate with them. And so, we were all sitting around the table one Sunday morning and we were deciding whether to put an offer on our cottage again. We had it one time, and we were trying to decide what cottage to buy again the second time, and everybody agreed that we wanted to try and get our old cottage back. It wasn’t up for sale or anything, but I said "Well, Monday morning I’ll go talk to the Realtor and see if we can put an offer on the cottage even though it’s not for sale." So anyway, I was reading this book every night, and we called the Realtor, and he said the people were interested; they’d get back with us in a couple of days. We were worried that we might not get our old cottage back. So I decided to ask for some supernatural help. I was jogging, and I asked my guardian angel, I said "If we’re going to get the cottage, give me a sign." Later, I came home from work and Andy had a Captain’s wheel that was on the wall of our cottage when we owned it. We didn’t know where it was; it had been gone for five years. Andy said "Pat Swan brought back our Captain’s wheel today." So I told Andy, "Well, it looks like we’re going to get the cottage back." The next day, the Realtors called and told us that we were.


Guy White's grave.

"Walburn name cursed"
[Vernon Walburn was the original owner of the cottage. After his death, it went to his daughter, Betty Sheridan.]
Gena Sheridan:
  The curse of the Walburns has followed all. Diane Walburn had spent all her summers across from the Tumble Inn. Financial disaster struck that side of the family, and after she was grown, she rarely returned to the lake. Many years later (approximately twenty), her aunt and uncle deeded their cottage to her. Diane returned to the cottage to spend the summer weekends along with her two teenage children, a boy and girl. The second summer the boy was killed in a head-on car collision at the lake. The next summer her daughter only narrowly escaped being killed while sleeping on the front porch of her cottage (across from the Tumble Inn) when a car crashed into the porch.





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Tuesday, June 05, 2001