Wednesday, June 19, 2013

White Lady vs Jesus

A White Lady is a type of female ghost reportedly seen in rural areas and associated with some local legends of tragedy. White Lady legends are found around the world. Common to many of them is the theme of losing or being betrayed by a husband or fiancé. They are often associated with an individual family line or said to be a harbinger of death similar to a banshee.

In the second chapter of Paradise Squandered, the main character and his best friend encounter a mysterious lady in white while they are smoking a joint rolled from a Bible page and waxing philosophical on a moonlit beach in Kauai. Or maybe they're just talking nonsense--I suppose it's up to interpretation.

Also, for the record, the idea of rolling a joint with paper from a Bible is not something I came up with. I first heard about this when I was in high school and was working at Subway. I had a coworker named Farazz who was a sub-par sandwich artist and very rarely sober at work. His personal hygiene was also well below average, but I suppose that is irrelevant. Farazz did not last long as a sandwich artist, but he did impart his special brand of wisdom unto me before he was fired.

Is it a sin to roll a joint with Bible pages? Probably. This very topic has actually been discussed at Yahoo! Answers. See for yourself.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from the part of Paradise Squandered I'm talking about:
“Death?” I hear David saying, or asking, quietly. 
A wave of panic, or paranoia, hits me, and I turn to look at David.

“Wha—what do you mean?” I whisper. I don't want whoever this woman is to hear me. I don't know why, but something about her terrifies me. My mind reels as David sits there silently, his eyes focused on the creepy woman in white. Summoning courage, I turn back to face her again. 
My eyes are glued to the woman as she passes in front of us. All is silent save for the sounds of the gently churning waves. Even the rustling of foliage in the wind seems to have ceased. All is calm. At least everything around me is calm. My mind is anything but calm. I turn once more towards David, giving him an inquisitive stare, hoping he'll say something to alleviate my terror. 
“Sermon's over,” he finally says, grinning his usual contented grin. He buries what's left of the joint in the sand in front of him. 
I sigh. “What did you say about death?” 
“Huh? Oh. I dunno. I was just thinking about something.” 
“About death?” 
“Sort of,” he chuckles. “The lady in white is supposed to be a death omen,” he says very matter-of-factly. 
I swallow hard. My mind races, all sorts of absurd images flashing before it. 
“Who thinks that?” I ask, feeling ridiculous for feeling so uncomfortable. 
“I dunno. Lots of people, I think. Well, I think lots of people used to think that at least. I remember hearing about it in English class once. The lady in white is supposedly culturally significant to a lot of cultures, I guess.” 
I look back towards the shore, scanning the area where I think the woman should be, but she's not there. A shiver runs down my spine. I look behind me. I look all around, but everything is dark. I turn my confused attention back to David. 
“Who do you think she's coming for?” he asks, nodding towards the condos. 
I look back at the shore to find the woman crossing through the well-defined line of coconut and banana trees, dense foliage, and clusters of flowers that separate the condo's version of a tropical paradise from an actual one. She climbs atop the Mokihana seawall and just stands there, facing the resort, somehow brightly illuminated by the distant outdoor lighting. Her eerie white gown blows gently in the breeze. 
“Hey, man, what are you getting all weird for?” he asks me. 
“What do you mean?” 
“You look like you just saw a ghost.” 
I pause for a moment, thinking about how much to admit. “I sort of feel like I just saw a ghost.” 
David just grins back at me. 
“She's so creepy. Where the hell did she come from?” I ask. 
“I don't know. Somewhere over there,” he says, gesturing with his head towards the other end of the beach. 
I look out at the other end of the beach, but all I see is darkness. 
“Why don't you ask her?” 
Another wave of panic hits me upon hearing these words, and I turn to look in her direction. The direction I think I should look. She's walking towards us again, once more gliding silently over the wet sand. I turn to look at David. He just grins back at me, making me feel even more uncomfortable, making me feel childish, irrational and fearful. 
“Good evening,” David says to the ghost.
On a trip to Kauai when I was 18 years old, I learned of local folklore regarding a White Lady from Ambrose Curry. My friend and I rented surfboards from him. We also asked him questions about things to do on the island, and somehow this topic came up.

I was pretty intrigued by this idea, but, alas, I was unable to find a White Lady myself. This was not due to lack of effort on my part, though; I spent a lot of time wandering around at night on this trip.

I did, however, meet a hitchhiker that looked strikingly like Jesus. That was a small victory of sorts. is a website devoted to, well, things that are weird in Hawaii. I spent a little time there conducting research for the lady in white part in my book. Conducting research is probably overstating wheat I actually did. Really, I just read creepy stories. This one in particular stood out: Pele in the Tunnel of Trees.
As he entered the tree tunnel, he noticed an old lady dressed in white hitchhiking in the middle of the night. He thought it odd, but just kept driving and stepped on the accelerator to get out of the tunnel as fast as possible. He did not recall the events that took place after this; all he remembers is his car had skidded to the side of the road and stalled. When he looked in his rear view mirror the old lady dressed in white was sitting in his back seat. Read the full story


  1. Here in Nigeria, we do have these kinds of myths, though people tend to believe depending on their religion. There's the mammy-water; she's like the normal mermaid everybody knows about. And then there's what some people call spirit husband or spirit wife - you usually hear about this ones from Christians. They claim you spirit wife or husband is jealous whenever you have a spouse in the real world, and would do anything to ruin your life. There are a whole lots of other myths depending on the ethnic groups. We have over 500 here.

    About rolling a joint with a bible page, I think I first came across that in a Jamaican movie I saw - The Last World Cup.

    Nice excerpt from your novel.

  2. Glad you liked the excerpt, Kaykay, and thanks for your feedback.

    I've never heard of that movie before. I'll have to look it up on IMDB :)