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.
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.