Residence: Seal Beach
Date of Performance/Collection: 4-22-19
Primary Language: English
Main Piece: “San Pedro is just north of Longbeach and there is some nice areas and bad areas of the town. It’s not like Seal Beach either where every one is pretty communal, its definitely a little more stand offish over there. But located in San Pedro there was this tunnel that was incredibly scary called Hitler’s tunnel. The tunnel was essentially really secluded tunnel that ran like two miles long and it was below a graveyard that was directly across from a church. The tunnel would be big enough to fit a 6 foot person and then it would get bigger suddenly, and then go back to normal. The tunnel was so scary because if you didn’t have a flashlight or something, you would not be able to see anything because the only exit was the entrance. But the reason this tunnel is so notorious is that it is said that in the 50s some dude took a girl down there…raped here… and killed her. The story has it that if you go down there at night, you can hear the screams and the cries of the woman who was murdered. We were curious to see if this was actually real so my friends and I went there all together. We entered the tunnel and at first it seemed quiet but then we started to hear what sounded like explosions coming from inside the tunnel. They were loud enough to make out, but not loud enough to tell exactly where they were coming from as the sound bounced around the tunnel. Then when we got to the end of the tunnel, we began to hear voices, and we had no other way to leave but out the entrance. So we all ran back to the entrance of the tunnel… And as we were leaving, we heard the voices again and I could’ve sworn I say what looked like eyes in the dark. It could’ve been my eyes playing tricks on me, but it felt so real.”
Background: KS told me that this was one of the spookiest things that he and his friends ever did. KS said that while he normally doesn’t believe in these types of stories and especially haunted ghost stories, the stuff that he experienced there was unsettling beyond belief. He said that his friends would try to get him to go again numerous other times, but he refused because it was such a traumatic experience. He originally heard this story through his friends at school, and it wasn’t until he actually experienced it that he really felt this intensely about it.
Context of the Performance: KS told me this story while we were at our apartment discussing some of the most haunted places in our neighborhoods. While he was telling me this story, my other roommate came in and was so interested in the story that he pulled up a chair and listened to the rest of the story. My other roommate said that he also had heard stories about this place, but nothing quite as intense as the one KS had recalled.
Analysis: This legend is really dark, but I find it very interesting. This tunnel as KS describes it, seems to be some kind of possible sewer line as he explained after the fact that it had manholes inside that you couldn’t lift up but where on the ground with ladders there as well. Additionally, the story of the woman being raped and murdered adds another dark element to an already eery place. I believe that it is entirely possible that this piece could be warning people about entering this place due to the danger that surrounds it. While it may not be specters that are threatening people, the fact that there is a tunnel with only one opening does breed the idea that if someone wanted to do something horrible, it would be very difficult for you to escape. And having this tunnel also be situated under a graveyard adds an extra layer of uneasiness, as it feels like walking through the tunnel could be disturbing the souls above you. This terrifying, albeit rather interesting tunnel, has created many stories that seem to simultaneously warn people about the dangers of disturbing the dead, and also the dangers of being unconscious of your surroundings.