The following is a folk story from my grandpa. My grandpa grew up in the northwest United States, and went into the Navy when he was 18. He is now 74 years old. I was told this story when asking about any possible stories that his family had when he was growing up, as he had lived an exciting life, doing many crazy things with his time. He now enjoys fishing and gold mining. I recorded him via phone call. This is a direct transcribed script of what was said in the story, with the various “umm’s” and “uhh’s” omitted.
“One thing that I always was told was that pigs, they’ll eat anything. Oh, here’s a story. In 1939 the war started. In 1942 I think the Japanese got into the war. On the west coast, they decided to develop… At least I’m told this was the story (he had heard the story in his days in the Navy), Terminal Island was just a big open gigantic field before it became a port for the government. The army took it over and they built all these port facilities, they had to ship out all this equipment to the people fighting the war against Japan. And so Terminal Island at the time was nothing but a sage brush sticker bush desert. It was full of rattlesnakes, and so how they got rid of the rattlesnakes was they turned pigs loose. Rattlesnakes can’t hurt pigs because they got too much fat. Doesn’t get into the bloodstream. And the pigs would stomp the rattlesnakes and eat em. So whether that’s true or not I don’t know.
But I do know something that happened up here where I live a number of years ago. There was this crazy lady that had these two guys working for her. They got into some kind of conflict and she killed both of them. She chopped up their bodies and fed her pigs. That’s what I’ve been told, I don’t know if it’s true or not. But they say she fed her pigs with the two guys that worked for her. They haven’t been able to find them. So when you hear a story about a pig will eat anything… it will eat anything.”
Hearing this weird thing from my grandpa was very interesting. I have no idea how the conversation even came up, I think he might have just remembered a story from his Navy days. But this claim that pigs eat anything is also one that I haven’t heard before. This story has three folklore pieces wrapped into one. The first is the fact about pigs. The second is the story about Terminal Island. And the third is the story about the crazy lady that fed her workers to her pigs. The claim that pigs eat anything is one that I could find many other sources saying similar things. As for the second piece, I couldn’t find any evidence that they actually used pigs to clear out all the snakes. However, it is entirely possible. Terminal Island at one time was called Rattlesnake Island so there were indeed a lot of snakes there. Pigs have also been known to kill snakes out of instinct so the story could be true. The third one I couldn’t find any evidence for being true but that makes sense as it seems like more of a local legend. It was difficult getting stories out of my grandpa that he didn’t experience himself, but when I finally did get some, they proved to be just as wacky as I thought they’d be.