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2008, September: The Thing in the Stall

On November 25, 2008, a thirteen-year-old from New Zealand by the name of Lovale (and username of walangk3) posted a strange incident in the Your Ghost Stories website that they claimed had occurred just two months earlier.

        Lovale was at a summer camp where rumors were going around about there being a ghost in one of the toilets... which Lovale thought was likely the funniest idea they'd ever heard.

        On the night in particular, it was around midnight and Lovale had to use the toilet, quite urgently; rules stated that to go use the toilet, you had to take a friend with you, but due to how late it was Lovale was unable to wake anyone and eventually gave up trying. With flashlight in hand, Lovale headed off to the toilet alone. Every stall seemed empty but there was one stall that was locked, so Lovale assumed someone else was there also and picked a stall next to the locked one.

        As soon as Lovale occupied the stall, there was a loud banging on the wall from the stall next to them; Lovale shouted "would you please stop doing that?!," and the banging soon stopped. But then came a different noise... whoever was in the next stall was trying to climb over the wall!

Thing in the Stall
Climbing over... [Larger version here]

        Lovale was horrified as they saw black hair appear at the top of the wall separating the two stalls. For an unknown length of time the hair was visible -- Lovale said "I swear it felt like forever until it disappeared" -- at which point Lovale pulled up their shorts and ran screaming from the bathroom, waking up the camp.

         Everyone tried to calm Lovale down, and when Lovale was finally able to describe what happened the people who actually worked at the camp became unusually quiet. Lovale reported that one of them them stated: "We should have all told you all this but... Four years ago a girl died in that exact same toilet that was always locked, then five days later people smelt something bad in that toilet but thought nothing of it until a girl looked underneath the door and screamed to see the dead girl's body lying there..."

        Lovale left the camp the next day.

Did It Happen?

        Always the tricky question. Perhaps the main complaint against the report that was raised by commentors in the original website was that it seemed clearly impossible that a dead camper could be undiscovered in a public restroom for five days; of course, the story doesn't say the girl was a camper. Perhaps someone died in the camp's off season and was discovered after campers arrived.

        While in this case I can neither confirm nor deny the report itself, I am able to supply a little more information about the poster of the story, user 'walangk3' who may or may not be Lovale. This user in the Your Ghost Stories website only posted two stories, one being the account above. The second story was posted on September 15, 2009, a little under a year after the first story... and this time they listed their country as Thailand, instead of New Zealand as it was listed for the first account above.

        This second incident was said to have occurred "a while ago," when the poster -- presumably Lovale -- was in a car one warm night with their mother, father, and sister, on the way to a family friend's house outside the city (which is not named) where "there weren't many houses about anymore."

        On the way there, they came across a girl about Lovale's age -- presumably young teenager -- who was walking along the side of the road in the dark. Lovale's parents decided to offer the girl a ride, since it seemed odd that she would be out alone at night that way; and, despite Lovale's expectation that the girl would refuse a ride from strangers, she said 'yes' and hopped in the car in the only free seat, next to Lovale.

        Lovale tried not to stare at the girl, but several things about her were strange. The girl had long brown hair tied back very neatly... but her skin was pale, and she had scratches on her; worse still, she smelled quite badly. When Lovale's arm accidentally brushed the girl's, she was shocked to discover the girl was freezing cold, "like touching ice." Lovale's sister, who was sitting to her left, kept trying to tell Lovale something, and was clearly scared of the strange girl.

        The girl didn't act as if she even noticed that Lovale was next to her; Lovale's parents tried to ask the girl why she was out walking on the road at night, but the girl didn't respond to the questions... she just kept staring straight ahead up the road. Eventually Lovale's parents stopped trying to ask.

        Eventually, the car arrived at the girl's house; Lovale's parents made her get out of the car to open the door for the girl. The house was very old. Lovale opened the door, and the girl got out and walked to the house... and then walked right through the still closed door.

        Perhaps not surprisingly, Lovale states that she screamed and hopped back in the car insisting they drive off immediately. Apparently her parents had not seen the girl pass through the door, for they didn't believe the story when she told them what she had just seen. Her sister believed her, though; her sister thought the girl was a ghost all along.

Vanishing Hitchhikers, and Continuing Questions

        Many of you will recognize this second report as a variation of a legend known as the "Vanishing Hitchhiker," which means the experience has the distinct possibility of having been constructed around pre-existing legends... which is to say, it is quite possibly a made-up story. My main difficulties with this tale comes down to two things: Lovale insisting the strange girl was silent during the ride yet the family knowing where she was going, and Lovale having to get out to open the door... if, as the story implies, Lovale was in the middle of the back seat (the girl to her right and her sister to the left), then wouldn't it be hard for Lovale to get out of the car in the first place to open the door for the girl next to her? And doesn't that sound like an odd request from Lovale's parents, when the girl is sitting next to a door to start with?

        So what I mainly gather from this second account is that it is likely invented... which means the first account might have been also.

        Oh, and one more matter in relation to the first account you should know. I first ran across the story of the ghost in the bathroom in the fantastically titled The Dead Roam the Earth: True Stories of the Paranormal from Around the World, by Alasdair Wickham [2012]... a title which implies, of course, that the incident is 'True'. Keeping that in mind, here's how Wickham told the story.

        In 2007 an un-named boy at a holiday camp in New Zealand ran to the camp bathroom late at nigh, when he got there he was relieved to see that one of the doors was shut, so he knew he wasn't alone in there late at night. Unfortunately, once settled in his stall, the person in the stall next to him started banging on the walls. When he asked them to stop, then his odd neighbor started to climb the wall of the cubicle... and when he saw filthy black hair appear at the top of the wall, he ran screaming from the bathroom, waking everyone in the camp up. The camp supervisors then told everyone that a girl had died in that stall three years earlier and had been undiscovered for four days until the smell of her rotting body was noticed by police. Since then, they had kept the stall locked -- theoretically to keep the dead girl out -- but she still somehow got in and continued to try to attract the attention of her neighbors.

        As you can see quite a few details changed, most notably having the body found by the police rather than campers, which implies the girl died at a time the camp was unoccupied, and which is an easier story to believe than a body not being noticed by campers. Wickham gave no source for where he garnered the story, which is an odd habit for someone presenting 'true' stories... so I searched the basic details and discovered Lovale's posting above. Given that Wickham changed the details and didn't state where the story came from, it's probably safe to say he can take the word 'True' out of the sub-title of his book!