USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘pasadena’
general
Narrative
Tales /märchen

Riverbed Ghost

Main Piece:

 

The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as LG. I am marked as DG.

 

LG: So one of the ghosts, and usually I saw this one outside, is you would see, and just for a brief moment, the riverbed that used to be under our house in the old days, before California developed up more, and that’s what you would see. When you saw that ghost, you saw that time period. And i-it, it didn’t look anything the same. And then it would be gone. And that’s the only time you would see them, they would both pop in together and then they would both pop out together. So it was him on the land he was on. And I didn’t even know there had been a riverbed until I found out later.” But pretty much everyone who had been at our house has seen a ghost.

 

Context:

 

The conversation was recorded while sitting on a patio in Glendora, CA. The sun is setting and a group of us are sitting around all sharing folklore.

 

Background:

 

The interviewee is a 54-year-old mother of two, who is married. She grew up in Los Angeles, before moving around, and finally ending up back in Los Angeles. Her and her parents had a very tight-knit relationship, and she comes from a religious background.

 

Analysis:

 

This is a local ghost story, to the point where you would have to spend time in the interviewee’s house in order to see the ghost. As such, this folklore does not show up often, but has been corroborated by the interviewee’s siblings. I’m inclined to believe it’s true, given the later-found-out fact that there is, in fact, a riverbed below the interviewee’s house.

Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Legend of Jirayr Zorthian’s House

“Jirayr Zorthian was an artist who lived on a ranch in Altadena, California in the 1940’s until the time of his death.  Apparently, he moved there to protect his kids.  He built his house in a way so that no cars could get within a certain radius of his kids outside his house.  One day, Zorthian backed out and ran over one of his kids.  Now, his ranch has become a popular spot for teens that are looking for adventure.  It’s a creepy place to go to at night because it’s deserted and there are cults.  A lot of beware of kids signs are located around the property.”

My informant heard this story from his friend Taylor a couple years ago.  Since he lives near Altadena, he knows teenagers who drive up to the ranch in search of encountering the supernatural.  Going to the Zorthian ranch as a midnight adventure is most likely a local fascination.
He actually does not know much about it.  He only knows what Taylor told him.  This may explain why people believe that the ranch is haunted.  The fact that the ranch is deserted and ancient-looking may be reason enough to spread that the property is haunted.  He doesn’t think about what may have happened with Zorthian’s car accident because he isn’t interested in ghost stories.  He thinks that the incident could be true, but he doesn’t think that it necessarily mean that the ranch is haunted.
I have been to the Zorthian ranch before because I was a teenager looking for adventure on one uneventful summer night.  I had heard that the ranch was a creepy place to go to at night, but I had never heard of the story behind it.  When I arrived at the ranch, I noticed many warning signs on the fences surrounding the property.   I looked out the car window and saw an extremely narrow driveway, and I couldn’t tell where it led up to because of the darkness.  My friends didn’t want to drive through the driveway, so we ended up leaving.  Later that night, I looked up the history of the ranch online.  All I could find was that Jirayr Zorthian was an artist that once lived there.  There were no speculations about the ranch being haunted.  I think that the rumor that the ranch was haunted was just created by a bored teenager who was scared of the deserted ranch.

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