Tag Archives: valley

The Parrots of San Fernando Valley


NL is my boyfriend who is twenty-four years old and grew up in the valley region of Los Angeles. NL tells me a story about the Valley that he says he has known forever and is known by most everyone who lives there.

Main Piece:

NL’s summary- There’s this weird, just kind of accepted, fact around the Valley about how we have random parrots flying around. People have seen them for a long time maybe starting in the 90s, not sure. No one seems to actually know how or why we have a bunch of parrots flying around, but there’s definitely a few different origin stories. The one I have heard the most is that they escaped after Busch Gardens closed down. Another popular story is that they escaped from a burning pet store or that people who had parrots just let them go because they didn’t want to take care of them anymore. Either way no one actually knows why we have a random parrot population in the Valley, but I’ve seen one on a power line before.


NL’s parrot story is an urban legend given that is began not long ago and there are claims of parrot sightings in present day. Like many legends, this one began as a way to explain the origin of a phenomenon that is seemingly unexplainable. No one could justify how a large parrot population just popped up in the Valley, so possible explanations are created and spread throughout the community to provide a sense of understanding. The fear of not-knowing within a community is very powerful and can resort to accepting unverifiable legends.

The Chatsworth Tunnel


NL is my boyfriend who is twenty-four years old and grew up in the valley region of Los Angeles. The story he told me was passed down to him by his mother and is about a haunted tunnel in Los Angeles that was very infamous in the 1980s & 90s.

Main Piece:

NL: So, my mom used to always tell me the story about the Chatsworth Tunnel, especially if we were on the road and about to enter a tunnel; she loved to scare me. Basically, two young kids died in the tunnels a long time ago either because they were smothered, or the train hit them. Some say the train sucked all of the oxygen out of the tunnel and that’s how they died, or they couldn’t get out since the tunnel is so long and the train hit them. For some reason, this terrible tragedy created like a challenge and so at night kids would go and stand on the inside of the tunnel wall and wait for a train to come. They wanted to see if they could survive, I guess. But the areas surrounding the tunnel is very mountainous and rocky, so allegedly if you go at night, you can see people who have died standing on the rocks and cliffs. There have been a lot of supposedly bad things happen in places surrounding the tunnels that are unrelated, so it’s kind of become known as a haunted and disturbing area in general.


The story that NL describes can be categorized as an urban legend, considering how recent it is, and that many people in the Valley believe this story to be true. Traumatic stories like this often turn normal places where something exceptionally bad happens into legendary places. As the story of legendary places get passed around facts get mixed with personal claims to create the lore surrounding the area. This draws people in, since a legend could be true, to see it for themselves, like if the train really does suck all the air from the tunnel. Legends can also act as a warning for people which can either deter or attract them from replicating whatever dangerous actions were at the origin of the legend.

Chatsworth Trainwreck Haunting

The Folklore:

E: Are there any strange ghost related phenomenons in the valley?

C: Yes, there is a popular belief that after the Chatsworth train wreck, the railroad has been haunted by the ghosts of the people killed in the wreck.

E: What event triggered this urban legend?

C: In 2008, a train derailed and crashed in Chatsworth, California which is located in the San Fernando Valley. 25 people lost their lives in the train crash.

E: What supposedly happens at this train crash site?

C: It is told that if you park your car on a certain part of the train tracks, handprints will begin to appear on all of your car windows. After that occurs, a force begins to push your car off the train tracks. It is said that the handprints that appear on the car are the people that died in the train wreck, and since they don’t want you to also die in a train wreck they push your car off the train tracks.

E: Where did you learn about this urban legend?

C: I learned about this legend about a year after the train accident and my friend from home had actually experienced this phenomenon. This conspiracy is actually very popular and have heard discussion about this phenomenon numerous times from many different people.

E: Have you ever experienced this phenomenon?

C: No, I have never personally experienced this phenomenon, but I have had friends that have experienced this phenomenon.


This conversation was held in a very casual setting. My friend and I conversed about ghost stories in our surrounding neighborhood. He told me this story as well as another. The train track ghost legend stems from a rumor very close to my informant’s home.


The tragic incident created a story that the community would react to. This story makes people visit the site of the tragedy and it also serves as a means to warn people, don’t park on train tracks. Having lived in the same area for several years, there’s many places in the valley that are supposedly haunted. These stories are used to warn people of dangers but also draw attention to areas where unfortunate events have occurred.