“The Char Man is kind of an Ojai legend….he’s like this monster, this burned guy. He lives out by the campgrounds on Creek Road and if you get too close to the side of the road on the wrong night he gets you. I think he takes your skin or something? We talked about the Char Man a lot in middle school. People used to go out to the woods at night, like boys who thought they were gonna fight him. I don’t think he’s real, but its definitely kind of creepy.”
This legend was collected in Ojai, California. The region is rife with wildfires and forest fires, and is likely an expression of collective grief and fear of these natural disasters.