This legend is about a park in North Long Beach called DeForest Park. As kids we always just referred to it as DeForest which made many of the younger kids believe it was our North Long Beach version of a forest. The park is intended to be a nature park and also runs along the length of the Los Angeles River bank. It is shrouded in mystery because of its vastness and notoriously sketchy population.
My brother told this legend about DeForest from when we were in middle school:
“So they say that in some parts of De Forest there was a crack den. These people made this special strain of crack there that was the most addictive.
The reason it was so addictive is cause they used homeless people. They would take the homeless people from like off the train tracks and kill them in De Forest. Then they would cut up the poor old hobos and cook them up. They would boil them in with the crack.
The den was located right where the river is …the little river bed that’s in De Forest it was right by there.
That’s where they manufactured it and like broke it down n shit.
They were selling it to like middle schools so they could all grow up addicted. To whoever had money.”
Around the time this legend became popular North Long Beach had a notoriously bad reputation. It was known for drug houses and dens and high incidence of violence. DeForest was truly a spot where people knew they could find drugs that would otherwise be off the mainstream drug market of North Long Beach. DeForest was also known as the stomping grounds for middle schoolers and high schoolers trying drugs for the first time.
Due to the truly dangerous nature of DeForest this narrative acts as a practical warning for residents and especially non-residents to stay out of the “park”. It could also warn non-residents in general from venturing to North Long Beach. It was implied around this time that people who ventured into this area did so for drugs and there was a strong culture of fear surrounding drug use.
For those who were actually from North Long Beach, DeForest was an often sad reality. This story was not frightening to them because drug use in the area existed, but because it was suggested that the practice was so fatal for everyone in the community. Crack’s production required unsuspecting lives and it’s consumption was somehow cannibalistic and gruesome. This says a lot about the anxieties of North Long Beach residents at the time – not only preoccupied with the reality of drugs in the community but to the costs imposed on the community by those who profited the most.