Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Cahuenga Pass is Haunted

T is 70 years old. He is a retired teacher. He was born in Southern California and raised in Hawaii. He was 7 years old when his family moved there in 1959. He is very animated and speaks very quickly. He told me about the bad vibes he gets at Cahuenga Pass in conversation.

“There was a battle uh… like in the 1800s… something like that, I always have weird vibes in the Cahuenga pass. I think it was the battle of Cahuenga Pass, it changed the leadership of where the valley was going at the time… the end of where like Universal Studios is, that’s the haunted part. A Mexican governor, no one liked him, and a wealthy landowner, no one liked him either… they were fighting over it. Only two people were killed, not the governor or the landowner go figure, but the two that died, they’re the ones that haunt the place. I always got bad energy from the pass. I feel I attract ghosts too easily.”

There were two battles for Cahuenga pass in the 1800s, T’s story refers to the original Battle of Cahuenga Pass, the second was known as the Battle of Providencia (or the Second Battle of Cahuenga Pass) There are stories about the pass being cursed. Apparently, parcels of stolen treasure are buried somewhere along the pass but everyone who’s ever come close to finding it has suddenly and mysteriously died! So maybe it is cursed and haunted. For more information see https://bizarrela.com/2016/11/cahuenga-pass/.  

“Have a spicy salad,”

“Have a spicy salad,”

Paula: Um…there’s gotta be some midwife’s tales, right? Um…like, uh, have a spicy salad. Or something. If- if you look that up, you’ll find that’s something that midwives used to tell women.

Me: …Tell pregnant women to have a spicy salad?

Paula: …to have the baby come.

My mother wasn’t entirely sure where she heard this from, but in my own research on the topic, it seems this saying was born from a local restaurant in LA. At this restaurant, they serve a certain spicy salad that is believed to help induce labor in pregnant women, and they have a chalkboard dedicated to all the women who went into labor shortly after eating this salad. Its a really interesting piece of folklore to me because of how, as my mother said, it seems like something a midwife would say to an expectant mother, but it was ultimately born from an entirely different place out of, most likely, sheer circumstance.

The Haunting of Greystone Mansion

BACKGROUND: GH is the interviewer’s father. A first assistant director for movies and TV shows, he has worked many times at Greystone Mansion, a famous estate in Beverly Hills, now open to the public and a popular site for film shoots. Rumors of hauntings and horror stories have been going back since the mansion was built.

GH: “We were shooting at Greystone for two days. After the first days, some young sound guys thought it’d be fun to leave their equipment running all night, see if they could hear anything when we got back in the morning, prove any of those old rumors. We get back to set the next day. They’re going through the audio, and there’s absolutely nothing. They start speeding through… still nothing… until a huge crash is heard. They slow it back down to normal, and find that for two or three minutes, sometime in the wee hours of the morning, every door in that house slammed open, shut, open, shut. A few minutes later, it ceased, and silence for the rest of the night.”

ANALYSIS: Estates in Los Angeles are ripe for any number of ghost stories or hauntings, are an intrinsic part of the city’s folklore. Such is the case with Greystone. This story is a chilling example of a ghost narrative.

“El que no trampa nunca avanza”

“Él que no trampa nunca avanza.”

“He who doesn’t cheat never advances.”

Context: The informant is an Uber driver in Los Angeles. He speaks Spanish and English fluently. His parents are both from Mexico.

“My Uber passenger from Mexico City told me this. He said that a lot of people in Mexico City believe this, but he was raised to be honest no matter what. He told me he thinks that a lot of people in Los Angeles think this way.”

Interpretation: This is illustrative of American values, where success and personal gain outweigh honesty and altruism. This could also speak to Narcoculture in Mexico, where money and success often come from crime, dishonesty, and trickery. Perhaps it draws similarities between these cultures and unifies people who are willing to find success regardless of the moral implications.


Devil’s Trail

Main Piece:


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.