Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Terry Utterback is my paternal grandmother. She was born and raised in southern California, but now lives in the northern part of the state. She is currently retired but worked as a special needs aid in various high schools. After my dad was born, she became a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She loves doing math puzzles, watching movies, and spending time with her five grand kids, four girls and one boy.
This folklore was connected via email, after we had a discussion about ghosts over the phone late one night. She emailed me shortly after. I was sitting in my apartment at Aggie Village, while she was probably sitting on her couch back home in Corning. We don’t ever really talk much on the phone, usually once a week or every other week. I have never heard this story before, nor has my brother or my mom, so I don’t think she shares it very often.
Something I just remembered happened fifty-three years ago, when I was a senior in high school. My bed was situated so that if I raised my head up off the pillow and if my door was open, I could see down the hall of the way to the opposite end of the house. A street light was in front of the house. The light would shine in, illuminating anything in the hall. I woke up one night seeing the figure of a man, wearing a coat and a wide-brimmed hat, standing at the end of my bed, slowly pulling my covers toward himself while I was grabbing at them. I thought that since my parent’s room was next to mine, if I screamed they would come running, but if I was dreaming, all would be okay. One way or the other, I would be okay. It was interesting that I could analyze the situation while being so afraid!
She presented this ghost story as though it were a dream and not an actual ghost story. I think this lies in the end of her story, where she provides the fact that it could’ve just been a dream. She didn’t tell me whether she screamed or not. The only exclamation point she used was at the very end, the rest of her story has a more calm tone through the use of periods and fully composed sentences. Maybe if I were able to interview her right after this happened, it would be more terrifying for her, but now I think she believes it was just a nightmare she had.
Introduction to Folklore
Dr. Lynne McNeill
Semester and year
Utterback, Amber, "Man in a Coat" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 551.