Nationality: Mexican, Scandinavian, French Canadian
Residence: Beaumont, California
Date of Performance/Collection: March 28, 2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish
Informant: “There is like this oak tree that everybody goes to party at and then there is this burnt down house next to it and it is just these steps and I think the legend goes that this lady just like went crazy and burned the house down and killed her husband”
Interviewer: “Do you know who she was?”
Informant: “I don’t know, its just this circulating legend.”
The informant comes from a very small town in California. The informant states that “there is nothing to do there, it is just a small town and the biggest thing we have is a Walmart.” She said that because the town is small “everybody knows each other, and we kind of grew up together.”
The informant has lived in this town since childhood. The informant says she may have heard of this legend in elementary school and that this legend is widely known throughout the town, “everybody in out town knows it. Young people circulate the story, I don’t know if older people do or not.”
The informant stated that visiting this house is a relatively popular event. Adolescents sometimes “have parties there,” and go there to hang out. Personally, the informant has only been there a few times just to check it out, but “I know people that actually go up there and actually drink and whatnot and smoke because there is not really much to do.”
The informant thinks the house is considered to be haunted by the other people in town, and the informant does believe in ghosts. When asked, the informant recalled her personal experience with a ghost saying that “the house I grew up in until I was seven was definitely haunted, I saw his ghosts multiple times, and it wasn’t just me, my parents saw him. We would go to bed with all of the windows and doors shut and we would wake up and they would all be wide open, you would hear banging on the pipes and whatnot. We found out that the person who lived there before us died in the house. So the ghost was of the guy that died there.” Thus, ghosts are very real to the informant.
For the informant and others who visit the house, the house serves as a kind of legend quest to visit a site that is considered to be haunted. During the interview, the informant stressed that she felt the town she came from was very small so people were looking for things to do and places to hang out. This house has been adopted to fill that role.