USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Denver’
Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative
Signs

Denver Airport Is the Portal to Hell

SB: Um, the Denver airport…is notorious for being at the very least the basis of a conspiracy theory and at the most the actual portal to hell (laughs) so, the- Denver generally with its airports have been very problematic. The first one was the Stapleton airport. Stapleton was a member of the KKK, and they named the airport after him, but then they decided to turn that into a neighborhood, so they moved the airport out into the boonies. It’s like an hour after from the city, it’s huge, there’s these like iconic white tents, and the myth is that underground, there are tunnels that are used for the government, for their nefarious activities, and um…some crazy people – to be perfectly honest – believe that within those tunnels and somewhere in the Denver airport is an actual, um, portal to Hell…where Satan himself resides. What’s also kinda scary about the airport is there’s a giant blue horse sculpture with glowing red eyes that you drive past as you are on your way to catch a flight. And when the sculpture was putting it up, the horse fell over and killed him…and then his son, or daughter i’m not sure, his child- finished the sculpture and now it stands, but it’s haunted because the sculpture actually killed someone and at night, it’s eyes glow bright red and it’s terrifying and everything about the airport terrifies me.

 

Background:

Location of story – Denver, CO

Location of Performance – SB’s dormitory room, Los Angeles, CA, night

 

Context: This performance was done just between SB and I in response to me asking if she had any urban legends, riddles, or holiday traditions. I am very close friends with SB.

 

Analysis: At the base of this conspiracy theory, there is an association between very real hate and evil with more metaphysical, faith oriented evil. It is almost a way to be able to digest the history of the Denver airport: the only explanation for that level of bias and hate is that it is prompted by the devil’s proximity. It is also interesting to note how that association affects all other aspects of the airport that would have otherwise stood as an independent legend – i.e. the horse. I myself have heard about the conspiracy theory that the Denver airport has some nefarious activity, but I have never heard that it is an actual portal to hell. Prior to this performance, my knowledge of the conspiracy theory primary focused on the suspicious design of the physical space itself. For example, there are photos of the aerial view of the airport, resembling a swastika, the barbed wire faces in and not out, and in the background of all the idyllic, pastoral murals, there are depictions of war and violence among other disturbing images. The significance of the design of this airport is related to the presence of many celebrities’ and powerful individuals homes around the airport: they do not live there but they have bought property there. When I was told all the details by my friend, she explained that ultimately, all this meant that it must be some sort of refuge for the rich, famous, and/or powerful if the apocalypse were to eventually happen. 

Childhood
Folk Beliefs
Homeopathic
Magic

Ice Cube in the Toilet

The informant is a college student born and raised in Denver, Colorado. While the informant and I were studying in the library together, I asked him if he or any of his friends had any traditions or superstitions that were unique to Denver. He described a folk belief that children engaged in when hoping school would be canceled for a snow day.

“If a large snowstorm is predicted or if it is snowing lightly before bed, you have to flush an ice cube down the toilet in hopes that there will be a snow day and school will be cancelled the next morning. The more kids that flush an ice cube down the toilet, the more likely it is that there will be a snow day.”

The belief is most prevalent during one’s elementary and middle school years, but many people continue to carry out the tradition of flushing an ice cube down the toilet throughout high school. The superstition goes that flushing a single ice cube down the toilet will ensure a snow day. The informant was not sure what the significance of the single ice cube was, but said that he has always thought it has to do with the fact that ice cubes and snow both require below freezing temperatures. I followed up with a friend from New York City to determine whether this was an isolated folk belief, and she confirmed that kids at her school did the same thing. Growing up in California, I had never known anyone to engage in this practice. The belief in this sympathetic folk magic, then, is most likely concentrated in areas where snowfall is common. It is a fun and harmless way for children to try to get out of school, and probably continues to be spread among children rapidly because of the idea that each child must do his or her own part to make it snow, and so it is very likely that when one child hears of the supposed magic properties of flushing an ice cube down a toilet that they will tell their friends to do it as well.

[geolocation]