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Interview with Becky Chugh

Chugh, Becky
Effren, Jodie
Date of Interview: 
Stories and storytelling; Relationship with People and Places
Becky Chugh talks about stories told by her family members who were injured, caused rules to be changed, and eerie ghost legends.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jodie Effren interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
BC (Becky Chugh): OK this is a story or this is something that I heard from my father and my grandfather. We have a place at home called the bluffs. People used to go down there and have cock fights, that's where everybody goes um to camping and uh making out and [chuckles] all kinds of things but the best thing was the cock fights, it's illegal to have cock fights in those days it is now too. We used to go down there and hide between the hills of the bluff so we'd be in like the little valley of a bluff. There was a time when they were down there and the police raided them and they were all given fines and my dad talked about knowing the back way out but he got out quickly so he didn't get a ticket.
JE (Jodie Effren): Your dad was a part of it?
BC: Yeah he, he was like a gambling thing and he was in the Coast Guard at that time and he was home on leave so something fun to do. But he almost got in trouble for it, but he got out of it. He, he knew all the roads out of there so he didn't get in trouble. There's also uh a place where you can go, there's also a place where you can go, for um like they say that you can see a ghost walking on a railroad track, I don't know where this place is but it's near railroad tracks on the back of a back road but if you stand there you can see it coming, the light coming and once it comes around the curve it disappears. And they used to say that there was a, a man or a worker that was walking on the tracks when a train came and that's where he got killed so that's why you see the light up into there. It's just one of those things. Um ( ) Creek, it's the place where all graduates go when they graduate from high school been hearing this story ever since I was, I don't know eight, nine cause my brother, my oldest brother was in high school. There was a guy that was four years older than us he was a senior and we were freshmen and he went and jumped of the bridge after graduation. He jumped in feet first which is not a good thing because he hit his leg or something and he broke his leg. If he would've jumped in head first we would have been dead. And the guy that jumped off beside him jumped in head first and he jumped in feet first and they were about four inches apart and he was on the other side of him. If he would have jumped on, I think it was on his left side he would hit the same thing he did but he jumped on, off the right side- I forgot about that.
JE: Uh-hmm do they know what it is that he hit?
BC: Um oh pylon of some kind just part of, old part of the bridge but it was cement so I mean the damage was like pretty bad.
JE: Do they still go jumping off the bridge?
BC: Probably they actually forbid it every time someone graduate or a graduating class you usually have cops down there patrolling um [laugh] you know so they don't jump off there. So it's illegal now to jump off.
JE: Because of him?
BC: Yeah because of the accident injuries but then you still have these students fools who do it at night thinking they're going to get away with it so we, that's one of the things. Can I do another story? Um there was this man named Simpson years ago I guess it was before I was born I remember hearing my grandmother tell us. He was after another man's wife and, well [chuckles], they, he disappeared no none could find him um and what was said that happened was that a man, uh another woman's husband and some his friends took the guy into the woods somewhere and hung him he's never been seen or heard from again. And that was one of those eerie stories. Also there's a woman by the name of Miss Mary that when I was growing up um the house that we moved into when I was five years old, was actually um, um it was burnt, it was burnt down to the ground the whole inside of the house and we move, when we moved in we were told later that the woman who lived there um actually was burned alive in her house. Her name was Miss Mary Riddick um and even today you can hear people, we could hear her walking around in the house and the first night that we stayed there was an old wedding dress and we were just anxious to try it on me and my sister. And then we woke up and the next morning and it was gone and we've never figured out where it went. My mother and father never knew where it was, couldn't ever find it. And even today you can still hear her walking up and down the stairs in the house and things like that. And those are just some of the stories that I know-. Here are things that Miss Mary used to do to me I used to get up early and work at a camp and I had to be there at six o'clock in the morning, I would wake up at five o'clock and I went downstairs to get a shower one morning, come back upstairs and I'm the last child in the house I'm the only one that's living upstairs my parents live downstairs I come back upstairs to my bedroom. My bed is in the corner of the room I have a corner shelf above my bed that has my stereo on it. My stereo speaker was on my headboard of my bed which is underneath the corner shelf above my bed. The stuff on my speaker was laying on my bed and that's, that's one of the weirdest things I think that she's ever done that's the only time that I've actually been scared. Other things she used to do while I was growing up was change my radio station. I mean all the sudden I would be listening to something and it would just skip and jump to some elevator music or classical music at that time she did not like rock at all. And uh I would yell Miss Mary put my radio station back and it would go back to the right station that I had it on. And um lights would go on in brother's bedroom I remember hearing, seeing them go on and off when we're not home and you can hear footsteps walking up and down the stairs. And the wedding dress I believe I mentioned the wedding dress we were going to try it on one morning and woke up and it was gone and we never found it, still to this day have no idea where it went. But sitting in the living room sometimes you could hear somebody walking down the stairs and you expect see somebody coming around the corner and no one ever does. And you just feel this cool breeze go by and like well there goes Miss Mary you know, don't know where she's going. But just little things that she used to do I guess that was some major things but-.
JE: Does she visit you?
BC: Oh yeah she visits, she visits me here she visited me at, I think that she's visited me at every house that I have lived in an apartment that I have lived in I have felt her at one time or another since I've moved in. It's kind of like almost a comforting feeling even though I never know who this woman is, never met her or anything-. I just remembered something else um my, my grandmother my father's mother used to tell us about this woman, old woman old man lived in this small little house. I think it was near a creek or something it was kind of isolated out in the middle of nowhere. And they were not a very rich family they were very, very poor and um her husband died and then two, three years later she kept hearing these noises in her house and then she couldn't figure out what they were and she, she seen like a ghost or I don't know how it w-, how it came about but she just see the eyes of a person, just the eyes no face no nothing and she said what in God's name do you want. And when she said that immediately they-, a hand, a hand appeared and it pointed to a board in the floor in, in the floor of the living room or whatever room it was she was in. And so she went over there she pulled up the board it was a loose board and there was a box, old box and she had never seen that box before. And they had actually built this house and no one else had ever lived there so she opens the box and in it is money. It's like a couple thousand dollars and back then that was more than you could dream of. Her husband had little by little always put a little bit away and never told her. Never told her about this, he had actually just- I don't know what he had plans on but he never told her which of one of the boards she never knew. And I guess he was letting her know it was there.
JE: But don't you, don't you think she would recognize the ( ) [beep noise in background].
BC: I would think but apparently she didn't-. This is about um a graveyard. There's a- where we live now there's a graveyard near us and they say that they can never keep it covered. Um it's back in the woods off of a small dirt road. And I guess it's a couple yards in, in the woods so it's not very far but they have cemented it and it keeps cracking open. Um when we were younger we went to go check it out because you know how when you're kids and you want to see those things so we go and see it and sure enough it looks like it had been layered and layered in cement and bricks and all kinds of things to seal it. And there's two of them and I don't remember the names of them. I don't even think there is a name, it's, it's just that old you know and uh but, and uh but, but [laugh] they can, they can never keep it covered.