Nationality: United States
Occupation: Substitute Teacher
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/24/2018
Primary Language: English
The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as LG. I am marked as DG.
LG: Up around JPL and La Cañada, um there’s different times, even the Indians thought that there were demons, although they didn’t call them that, they called them negative spirits, but because that was known, there was some big name scientists that started an occult up there, and they would have satanic ritual sup there, and there’s a place called the Devils Trail up there. And they would-in fact up in the 50s, a few children disappeared up there in that area, I mean they were running up the trail with their parents, they turned the corner, and they never saw those kids again. Yeah it’s not even really a great trail now, there’s just something funky about it. But um when we went up there hiking that one time up there, and Dad was throwing his knives at the trees, this sort of blood looking stuff was coming out of them. And to this day, I have never ever seen that in any other tree. And I looked it up! I can’t find it. Now Danny [the interviewee’s brother] said he found it but I looked and I can’t find it. So to this day that is not a trail I want to ever go on again.”
DG: Where did you hear this from?
LG: I’ve heard the Devils Trail from a lot of people, I’ve seen it on the internet, heard it from different people, including my mom, and seen it on TV. It’s kind of like one of those-it’s a warning, but I think it’s also like a lot of the time like egging people to go onto it. But I think it’s mostly like a warning, to parents like don’t let your kids go on there. But they’ve had like um a couple teenagers disappear in that area too. Yeah don’t go there.”
The conversation was recorded while sitting on a patio in Glendora, CA. The sun is setting and a group of us are sitting around all sharing folklore. The context for the tale is to be told to your children, mostly in the JPL/La Cañada area, to warn them about going out on the trails alone.
The interviewee is a 54-year-old mother of two, who is married. She grew up in Los Angeles, before moving around, and finally ending up back in Los Angeles. Her and her parents had a very tight-knit relationship, and she comes from a religious background.
This story has one of the marks of a folktale, in how it is most often used to warn young children about the area. Interestingly enough, LG has also heard of it in the context of “egging” on other children to do it. This is a very local tale. Someone from New York would not understand what the Devil’s Trail meant, except maybe in the context of a different trail. Having been on this trail myself, I can attest to how terrifying it can become. My own experience was that the trail suddenly became dark and freezing, during the middle of the day. This folktale is also interesting in that aspect, as it shows that many people can have different experiences of the same item.