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Legends

Haunted Hollydale Mental Hospital

My friends and I were hunting for haunted houses and after googling haunted places in los angeles, we decided to go check out the abandoned Hollydale Mental Hospital in Downey, CA.

We drove around the hospital campus for a bit, and then decided we should probably leave considering all of the buildings were fenced in and we really didn’t know what we were doing. Then we pulled in to a nearby parking lot and saw a group of people get out of their car who looked about our age, in their early twenties. We asked them if they were there to check out the hospital and they said yes, so we asked if we could join. They were very welcoming (the four guys were drunk, and the one girl was clearly  their sober driver) and explained that they were there to “initiate” Cherry because it was his first time visiting this haunted place. According to them, it was tradition to run up to the main house, “where they kept the craziest of the crazies”, and touch the front door for your first time visiting Hollydale. We decided this was exciting and tagged along. The girl, Cindy, began to explain how they were from the area and that they heard stories about Hollydale all the time from other kids in school. She also told us the story she knows of why it was abandoned:

Back in the 70’s, there was an outbreak of Tuberculosis at the hospital, and their way of dealing with it was to get all of those who had not yet been infected out and then left the rest of the people there to die. That is why the whole compound looks as if everyone just up and left, because they did. They just closed up shop like it was the end of another business day.

Cindy told us that they had been inside one of the buildings before and they took a whole box of papers from beside a desk and it had a lot of old, interesting papers and files inside.

She also said that about a year ago, the town planned  on tearing the place down because it was costing them money to have policemen constantly patrolling and whatnot, but a group of animal rights activists wouldn’t allow them too because the site has become a breeding ground for stray cats.

 

Folk medicine

to stop a nose bleed

If your nose is bleeding, you should stick your finger between your top front teeth and upper lip. This dries out your mouth thereby drying out your nose bleed.

Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

dreadlock gesture

(I didn’t hear this, but my friend did, so even though it was directed to me it was technically my friend serving as the informant:)

A guy approached me at a concert (I have dreadlocks) and said, “I hate to stereotype, but do you have a pipe?”

A lot of people stereotype someone with dreadlocked hair to be a dirty hippie stoner bum, which is not always the case, but why this guy prefaced his question with “I hate to stereotype”…

Rituals, festivals, holidays

prayer for the injured

Whenever an ambulance drives by (with the sirens on), the informant (a born-again Christian) told me that you should do the sign of the cross and say “God bess the hurting and the helping”.

This is important to the informant because she is religious and used to be an ambulance medic, so she feels especially for those people who are in need of an ambulance.

Foodways

Jersey pizza

My grandfather called a new pizza parlor in the neighborhood to order a pizza pie (a lot of people in Jersey just refer to a pizza as “pie”) and when he asked for a large plain pie, they told him that they were sorry, but they didn’t serve pie.

My grandpa said it’s just something you know growing up in the area.

Festival
general

Native American Centennial Festival

According to this informant, a foreign man now working in downtown L.A., the weekend of April 28 and 29, 2012 will host a centennial celebration at the Grand Canyon for all of the Native Americans to toast the anniversary of officially aquiring their reservation in the area. It is a celebration that has never been had, and according to the informant, their will be dancing, food, fire, and life the whole night/days-through.

The informant, even struggling to communicate fully in English, tried his very best to communicate the importance and excitement he held for his culture (although he is Chilean, he was originally from the U.S.).

Game

to “truck” someone

There’s an old trick/game my cousin warned me of whenever you fall alseep around other people, and it goes like this: if someone falls asleep, you should grab a pillow and flashlight and approach the sleeping person. Slowly begin to wave the flashlight (turned on) back and forth in front of their eyes quietly shouting, “Truck!”…and growing louder with each word, “Truck! Truuuuck! Get out of the way!!” and then, bam! You smack them with the pillow in the face. And so the story goes, that if the act of hitting the person with a pillow didn’t wake them, then you should ask them in the morning if they dreamed about a truck running them over.

Riddle

the longest riddle in the world

I was told by the informant of this riddle that it was the longest riddle in world (and therefore the most difficult to guess the answer to).  The informant learned it from her father and she enjoys repeating it because it’s amusing to have people challenge the idea that it’s the “world’s longest riddle”.

So Frank (a very famous celebrity) was out to dinner with his friend Bob (not famous) and they were outside this very famous restaurant waiting to put their name in when the hostess spots Frank and motions for he and Bob to come up to the front. Within minutes, the two are seated and a waiter comes by to take their drink orders. Frank orders a coke and Bob a Black and Tan. The waiter returns a little later with their drinks and then takes their food orders: Frank orders the house special of the night, roasted peacock; and Bob orders a deluxe burger. In another twenty minutes, the food arrives. After taking one bite of his roasted peacock, Frank runs outside and shoots himself. Why?

The answer?

Four weeks prior to this evening out, Frank, Bob, Frank’s brother, and lots of Franks fans were on a small cruise ship together. The ship sank in the midst of a storm and the only survivors to make it to a nearby island were Frank, Bob, Frank’s brother, and Frank’s number one fan. As the hours flew by, everyone’s hunger grew, and as a gesture towards his idol, Frank’s number one fan said he’d take Bob and Frank’s brother with him to go find food for them all. The three boys are gone for hours and hours when finally just Frank’s number one fan and Bob emerge from the trees. They say the bad news is that they lost Frank’s brother ans spent forever looking for him, but the good thing is that they found food, and they presented Frank with peacock which they hunted and killed.

Frank so enjoyed the peacock that he decided to order it four weeks later at this great restaurant, but at the restaurant it tasted so different from what he had had before that it made him realize it wasn’t peacock that he had eaten on the island, but rather it was his brother.

 

This informant said that most people react to this riddle with “that’s not a riddle, it’s an impossible-to-guess story!” But hey, it’s all relative, right?

Foodways

Turkish coffee

My informant, a friend from Turkey, fed our group of friends some Turkish coffee in special, tiny mugs. She told us that when we were finished drinking our coffee, to hand the cup to her so she could read our coffee lines. She read the coffee grind/water sludge that stuck to the bottom of our cups and judged for us the luck/goodness of our immediate futures, or lack thereof. According to her, the more white lines there are (the mug was white on the bottom), the more happiness is ahead of you.

The informant learned this from her surroundings, just by growing up in the culture of Turkey. She enjoys sharing it because it is something unique to her culture.

Game
general

“skunk in the graveyard”

“Skunk in the graveyard” is a running game you would play with friends outside, and it is like the daytime version of “ghost in the graveyard.” Essentially, one person is the “skunk” and they go and hide while everyone else counts at the “base” and closes their eyes. When it’s time to go seek out the skunk, everyone goes out from the base and once the skunk is spotted, the spotter yells, “skunk in the graveyard!” and that signals everyone to run back to the base before the skunk can tag you. If tagged, you become another skunk and thus another round begins. The rounds continue until there’s but one person left untagged, and that remaining person then becomes the one skunk to start the next game.

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