Informant was a 20 year old male who was born in North Carolina and moved to Santa Monica at an early age. He attends the University of San Diego and is an old family friend that came to visit.
Collector: Do you have any legends you may have heard about? Some story someone has told you?
Informant: Well, in elementary school we had the Katherine D. Vickes field, and one day the principal came up to me during recess and said it was named after a woman who had died there twenty years ago.
Collector: Really? Did he tell you how she died?
Informant: Yeah, but it’s actually really weird and I’m not sure he was telling the truth.
Collector: So it could be considered….a legend?
Informant: I guess. Well, he said that there was a little girl who used to go to the school, like 8 years old or something like that, and she had a mom who worked in a nuclear power plant. The lady got irradiated and died and she started to haunt the field at her daughter’s school. He said it was so she could keep an eye on her, but I don’t really know. This was a long time ago. (In a conspiratorial whisper) Some people still think they can hear her voice, gently murmuring, on particularly still nights.
Collector: Jeez, what school did you go to, sounds crazy as hell.
Informant: Grant Elementary.
So, this story is pretty odd, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt since most legends don’t make a lot of sense either. I assume the principal was merely attempting to make friendly chatter with my informant by divulging this story he knew. The fact that it is so weird leads me to believe that this is a highly passed along narrative, since the more a story is passed along, the less sense it starts to make and the crazier the details become. Variation, indeed.