Author Archives: evildoso

El Chupacabra

Title: El Chupacabra

Ethnicity: Mexican-American

Age: 20

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): AJ is sitting on a sofa in front of the Trojan Knights house, it is a calm warm Sunday in South Central Los Angeles. It is a group of 10 male students from the University of Southern California sitting on the front porch, sharing stories. All of these men are members of Trojan Knights, and are relaxing after having started cooking homemade friend chicken. All of these men are close to one another, including the interviewer. AJ says he has a good one as he puts his drink down.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee – Ok so this thing ate my goat. Well, he sucked it really.”

Interviewer- “What thing?”

Interviewee – “The Chupacaba. At least I think it was one. It was back when I was in Texas, and my family has this farm you know? And I had to take care of a lot of animals, including our goats. Now heres where it gets good. (Long pause as he looks around at our faces). I went one morning to check on the goats and feed them, and I found it.”

Interviewer– “Found what?”

Interviewee – “My goat that I had lovingly named Joe Tuffhead. He was dead, and I can’t really explain what happened to him. When wolves come to feed, they feed, but Joe was still intact, mostly. This was the weird part, he… he was drained. You know what I mean? He had no blood anymore, it’s like something sucked it right out of him. He was hollow, yeah that’s what it was. I was looking for that word. Hollow. Poor Bob was hollow.”

Interviewer– “I thought his name was Joe?”

Interviewee – “Oh yeah, right, that’s what I meant. Sorry I have a lot of goats I mix up their names.”

Interviewer– “What did you do after you found Joe?”

Interviewee – “Oh my dad and I built another small barn house and had the goats in there every night from then on. No more Chupacabra attacks, no more dead goats. Everything ended well.”

Analyzation: AJ seems to have a hazy memory up until the actual scene of the dead goat, which would make sense. The most traumatic things are usually the ones that stick in our heads the clearest. We did not get to hear the father’s explanation of the situation, and so we get the idea of a young Adrian when he was growing up in Texas. Overall however, AJ is someone to be trusted, but there is also something to be said about the situation, and about how AJ was preforming this piece of folklore in front of 9 of his friends and fellow students, perhaps wanting to impress them. This idea of the Chupacabra however, is recurring within the Hispanic community in the United States and other countries. Often, when livestock die and there is no real reason as to why that has happened, people blame the Chupacabra. And it fits the MO. When animals die for no particular reason, the idea of a monster coming and killing them seems just a likely as anything else. The myth of the Chupacabra has been around for a while, and continually mutates in various ways. From this story, it appears the Chupacabra got tired of eating livestock in southern Mexico, and Mexico entirely, and has moved on to greener pastures in Texas. Of course this is better explained by pointing out that people from Mexico have been migrating every northward, and their myths and stories come with them. It is only logical to hear of the beast in the United States at this point.

Tags: Chupacabra, Goat, Mythical Creature, Farming

Sunday Pizza in Sao Paulo

Title: Sunday Pizza in Sao Paulo

Interviewee: Rafael Blay

Ethnicity: Brazilian

Age: 19

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): In his room in Webb, with 3 other friends playing video games in the background. It was a Thursday in April, all the work done for the week, so spirits were high. The interviewee sat on his bed to recount some tales and such.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee- “In my city, it is a huge tradition that everyone gets pizza delivered to them on Sunday night. It’s important that it’s Sunday night. It’s because the pizza is so good, and the maids and the people that clean the house do not work on Sunday, so it is easier to clean.”

Interviewer- “Have people been doing that for a while?”

Interviewee- “Well as long as I can remember, since I was a little kid.”

Interviewer- “Is it something important in your family?”

Interviewee- “Not really. I mean it’s nice knowing that on Sunday you are going to have dinner with your family and you get to see everyone. Even if you go to a friend’s house you can see their whole family because they come to dinner. On the other hand, maybe the reason I like it so much is because I don’t have to do the dishes (laughing).”

Analyzation:

What apparently started off as an innocent thing simply because it was the easiest thing for the family, probably due to hearing children complain about having to do the dishes, has turned into a real tradition. Of course the reasons for the tradition starting are practical, but it has grown to be something far more important than just not doing the dishes. It gives families an excuse to come together and eat good food and not have to worry about anything afterwards. Specifically with the Interviewee, it is something that he remembers fondly and misses from being back in Brazil. The Interviewee also says that Brazilian pizza is also far superior to American Pizza, which did not sit well with other Americans who heard his statement.

Tags: Pizza, Sao Paulo, Tradition

Haunted Bedroom

Title: Haunted Bedroom

Interviewee: Steven Miao

Ethnicity: Chinese-American

Age: 19

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): In his room at Webb tower at USC in Los Angeles. Me and the interviewer.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee- “Apparently my sister thinks my room back home is haunted. Every time she sleeps in my room, she wakes up in the middle of the night with a heavy chest. She is superstitious and a believer in spirits. She has tried to make me move out of my room once. My parents were worried about me, and asked if I woke up at night with a heavy chest. She said it was the spirits of ancestors that were angry with us.”

Interviewer- “When was the first time you heard about this?”

Interviewee- “Well it kind-of just was, ever since we had moved into that house that we live in now. She never like the house, and for some reason especially me room. She just always has really…weird experiences when she sleeps in that room. I don’t know, it’s seems fine to me. I never had anything wrong with it. I like my room actually, it’s nice.”

Interviewer- “Is this a story you like to tell people about?”

Interviewee- “Not really. I mean I usually tell people that story if they ask if I know of any ghost stories or things like that. But no I don’t particularly like telling people this story. To be honest it creeps me out a little thinking about that fact that my sister could be right…”

Analyzation: The Interviewee seems to recall this story in multiple parts, more coming back to him as he speaks more. It is obvious that this story indeed is not one that he tells often, because he does not remember most of it. But that is how it goes, especially since he said himself that he does not like talking about it much. Perhaps allowing the idea of ghosts or ancestors living in his room unnerves him, as he recently has had trouble with his parents, and worries about what his parents think of his life’s choices. That being said, it makes sense that the sister is worried about the Interviewee, and that she worries that the ancestors of both of them would be unhappy with what the Interviewee is doing with his life, which is contrary to traditional Chinese practices.

Tags: Haunted Room, Haunting, Ancestors

The Jersey Devil

Title: The Jersey Devil

Interviewee: Steven Miao

Ethnicity: Chinese-American

Age: 19

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): In his room at Webb tower, at USC in Los Angeles. Me and the interviewer.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee- “It lives in a forest. The forests what remaining forests we have. Apparently people disappear, and they get eaten by the devil. There are also sightings from time to time. Its humanoid, but the devil. And it eats people. Oh it lives in the Pine Barrens. I heard it from my friends that live around Jersey. It kills livestock and attacks humans. It looks like a kangaroo with goats head and it has bat wings. Random sightings of it randomly. It is the reason that the hockey team is called the New Jersey Devils. They are named after the devil.”

Interviewer- “Why do you like this story so much?”

Interviewee- “Well its more than a story to me, I mean it is pretty much something that I believe in, I guess it’s more than just a story to me is all I’m saying. Where I grew up people never really talked about it much, but it was just one of those things that everyone knew about. I don’t know. It was something in our sub-conscience I guess.”

Interviewer- “Do you remember where you first heard of it or from who?”

Interviewee- “No, not really. I only remember that eventually, like when I got into middle school, I knew about the Jersey Devil. I don’t remember the first time I heard about it.”

Analyzation:

This mythical story of the Jersey Devil appears to be closely kept and remembered by the Interviewee, as he was in a defensive mindset when asked further about the story. Even though the Interviewee has not had a personal encounter with the mythical creature, he still believes deeply in the monster, or at least believes in continuing the story and telling others about it. Similar to the headhunters of Borneo, where they embraced something that at first is a little embracing, but they embrace it nonetheless simply because it sets them apart from the rest. The Interviewee cherishes the story because it marks him apart from the other people of Los Angeles, it marks him as someone from New Jersey. It makes him unique.

 

For another story of the Jersey Devil detailing its birth, see “The Jersey Devil” in the USC folklore archives.

The Jersey Devil

Tags: Jersey Devil, Mythical, Creature

Crea fama y Echate a Dormir

Title: Crea fama y echate a dormir

Interviewee: Armando Vildosola

Ethnicity: Mexican-American

Age: 21

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): Just me and my older brother Armando, as I asked him to share his most important pieces of wisdom that our family has shared throughout the generations. We do this every so often as some way to strengthen the bonds that we have as brothers, something of a brother meeting or a brotherly bonding session. We are sitting in our home in San Diego around our dinner table, having just finished dinner. Out house is full of family walking about visiting from Mexico. We are both on spring break from school at USC.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee- Crea fama y echate a dormer”

Interviewer- “What is the English translation of that?”

Interviewee- “I guess it would be make fame and go to sleep.”

Interviewer- “I assume there is more to it than just the words? They don’t make much sense.”

Interviewee- “It means that people should make their fame, and in that sense, well… hold on.”

(A minute or so goes by)

Interviewee- “Ok so it means that when someone goes out and meets people, you should make the kind of impression that you want them to remember you by. And in that sense, you should become famous and have people remember you the way you want to remember. Because when you become famous because of something, people remember you for it. And as the saying goes, in reality, once you are famous for something and people will remember you for it, you can, basically, take a nap. And I guess what that means is that you can relax. You have made your fame and people will remember you for something, and you can relax and take it easy. You did your job, and now you can sleep! I love sleeping.”

Interviewer- “Where did you first hear this saying? Do you remember?”

Interviewee- “Of course. I first heard it from our dad, some time ago. It just made sense to me since I always dreamed of being famous, and he always wanted me to work hard. He uses it to motivate me.”

Interviewer- “Why do you still use it?”

Interviewee- “Well its meaning hasn’t left me, and I guess it helps me remember my dad and that I should do great things with my life. It helps me remember home and remember who I am as a person.”

Analyzation:

This is a proverb that makes sense, but at the same time, it is very Mexican in the sense that when it is translated into English, some of the meaning is lost in the words. The true meaning is only understood within the Mexican culture, but some of it transfers. This is all about first impressions, and those impressions are important in Mexican culture as well as American culture. We always hear of getting off on the right foot, and things of that nature.

Tags: Proverb, Mexican, Fame