Ethan Newmayer, a free-lance photographer working for Louis Vuitton, who hails from, Chula Vista, San Diego, three pieces of folklore for this collection.
The interview was run, in his bedroom, The interview was run, within his studio, at Orchard Avenue, on the outskirts of the University of Southern California
Folk Performance: Proctor Valley (A Ghost Story).
Folk Type: Legend.
“So Ethan, tell me about this Ghost” – Stanley Kalu
STORY: It’s not a Ghost. It’s a haunted road called Proctor Valley. Proctor Valley road in Chula Vista. You’re not supposed to drive down that road at night because cars disappear and people disappear. It’s this like dirt road, it’s a great shortcut from one side of town to another but no one goes that way because there is no infrastructure. Like no light, so if your headlights go out you’re essentially driving in the dark. I guess, not really that haunted more like sketchy but there are legends around it.
Background information: Proctor Valley was originally a farm-scape with a livestock mutilation problem. The mutilation incidents led the inhabitants of the area to believe that a monster roamed the area. An 18-inch cast of its footprints, currently preserved at the Bonita Museum in Chula Vista, confirmed its existence.
The haunted area took on new life, however, in the 1960’s in line with the normalization of automobiles. Teens would go to Proctor Valley to have premarital coitus and, eventually, became known as a place where teenagers would disappear.
Ethan learned about this story from living in Chula Vista and having both his parents and friends warn him about the haunted area. It is an important to him because it is apart of his local identity.
Context of Performance: This is a local legend, but the context of performance comes in the form of a warning, particularly when someone wants to take said shortcut from one side of town to another.
Thoughts: My interest in this piece of folklore lies in its historical multiplicity and the real life impact of folklore. It appears, at least to me, that the area maintains it’s haunted status despite a multitude of changes within the community simply because it’s haunted status has been established. This, I posit, has led to the under development of the area which explains Ethan’s “sketchy” comment.