Author Archives: Laurel Goggins

Mount Diablo

Mount Diablo is a mountain on the Diablo range in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. This mountain has been the reported site of many ghost hauntings, paranormal phenomena, and cryptozoology.

C: This is more like, local history than folklore, but Mount Diablo was like the big mountain range in the area. And everyone was like, “Oh! Why’s it called that?” Um–

L: Cause Diablo!

C: Cause Diablo! It was like . . . The Native Americans called it something because of like, the plant life on it–or something– and “Ah, demons” says the Spanish. This mountain has demons and thus said “Mount Devil”.

It’s a chicken and the egg scenario of what came first — the paranormal sightings on the mountain, or the name of the mountain itself. Undoubtedly, one influenced the other into existence. It would be almost criminal to not have spooky stories about a place called Mount Diablo.

For more stories about this Mountain Range, please visit:,guise%20of%20an%20old%20hidalgo.

The Old Slaughterhouse

A Tale about an old slaughterhouse up in Northern California and the ghosts that haunt the decaying building.

C: There’s an old slaughter house, up near some of the old, um–not old, it just got bought out again — golf course on March Creek Road.

L: Up in Brentwood?

C: Yeah, well, yeah. Well up in, kinda, there’s like this big farm area and there’s like, these hills that lead, like, up towards Mount Diablo. You keep going that direction, and in that area is this old slaughter house. I don’t know if it was actually a slaughterhouse, but it’s like this old, decrepit building in the middle of nowhere that you can hike out to. And rumor has it you can go up there at night– Ghost!

L: What kind of ghosts?

C: Like, ha-ha-ha, the most real thing that happened is like, someone saw a figure with a gun. But it’s also like, spooky shenanigans, strange figures, weird noises. Ooh, spooky. And, like, teenagers hanging out in a place where they’re not supposed to noises.

L: Is it just because it’s a slaughterhouse or did something happen?

C: I think it’s just because it’s a slaughterhouse. And like, there’s other– there’s a hill and I don’t know where it is because I’ve never gone there, but, um. I’m just thinking now because it’s like, yeah, because it’s a freaking hill, like um, where people would go to do “the make outs” and it was also considered haunted for some reason. The one that I remember is like, “Oh your car will start moving” and I’m like, yeah, duh, it’s a hill. You don’t put your car– haha–you don’t  put your break on that’s gonna happen.

There are a plethora of spooky tales about areas that are associated with death. Graveyards, hospitals, and in this case, a slaughter house are all places that fill our imagination with ghost hauntings. Death– whether it’s human or animal– forces people to confront their own mortality, and so, stories of ghosts haunting this slaughter house are passed by word of mouth from person to person in the Brentwood town it neighbors.

Peruvian Time

The informant explains the difference between “Peruvian Time” and “English Time”.

A: I didn’t know this was an actual thing until I looked it up. If you say– if you invite someone over to, like, a dinner party or whatever, if you say it’s at six it’s customary for people to show up thirty minutes to an hour later up to two hours later. And it’s not considered, like, a problem. They call it, “You’re arriving at Peruvian time”. 

It’s because, during dinner parties, if you say at six, you don’t expect to serve anything until eight anyways. And if you say, uh, show up at English time, you show up on time.

When hearing this, I understood why people would show up to functions an hour to an hour and a half late. The party isn’t in fully swing, and dinner usually isn’t served until an hour or two into the event. However, I found it incredibly hilarious that if you want someone to show up on time, you have to say, “Show up on English time”. This gives me the imagine that Americans are seen as these very punctual, straight laced people by Peruvians.

Always Bring a Gift!

The informant relays the tradition of always bringing a gift–usually a dessert– to Peruvian dinner parties.

A: If you’re invited to a dinner. You must bring something. Usually a dessert. 

L: That’s specifically a Peruvian thing too?

A: Some people bring like wine, or other gifts. You must bring a gift, if you’re not hosting. My mom always brought a fruit pie. All the time. Every single time. On the way there, she’d stop at a fucking Krogers and pie a fruit pie, like, “Alright hold it”.


This tradition also exists in other cultures around the world. However, it’s interesting to see how something so practical has turned into a polite tradition. If someone spends all day cooking a dinner, it’s safe to assume they might not have time or energy to cook dessert. Plus, if someone spends a lot of money on preparing the food and hosting the guests, it’s only polite to chip in monetarily by buying a desert. This tradition seems to be born out of a polite practicality.

Golem of Prague

The informant tells the story of a famous golem from Prague, its demise, and its supposed future reselection when the Jewish people need him.

M: When I was very young, my grandpa told me a story that he heard from his folks, about the, uh, golem that lives in the old new synagogue attic– of the attic of the old new attic in Prague. Basically like, my understanding of it– I’ve done more research about it in recent years, because its really interesting. 

  But the way I always heard this story growing up is the rabbi of that shul, um, he built a golem, who, i think, originally helped out with, um, like farm work. And helped out in the fields, with the upkeep of the synagogue, so he made him out of clay. And um, put a — he made a necklace that had the word for “life” around it, and he put it around the golem’s neck. So that brought the golem to life, and he, like, kept the shul safe from burglars. He helped out around town. But no one ever saw him except for the rabbi. 

Until one day, he fell in love with a, um, with a German girl. 

L: The Golem?

M: The Golem, yes. And Um, that meant, that a bunch of, uh. . .  anti-semites descended upon the village trying to, like, kill the Golem and his maker. So, what the rabbi ended up having to do is take the necklace off of him so he wouldn’t get killed ‘cause he convinced everyone that the golem didn’t exist. 

And legend has it that the Golem is waiting in the synagogue for the next time the Jewish people need him, to keep us safe. 

When I heard this story, I like how it fits in with the overall feeling of other Jewish folklore this informant told me. In a separate conversation about another piece of folklore, the informant told me that there is a lot of anxiety and worrying about other Jews in Jewish culture. And the golem, as a protector figure, really showcases and highlights this anxiety. Not only is the golem worried about the Jewish people in this story, but the Jewish people in the story are also worried about the golem and do not want to see him die.