Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: May 2009/ April 2012
Primary Language: English
My informant told me about this legend of a haunted canyon named “Turnbull Canyon.” This specific canyon is in Whittier and many high schools around this area know about this specific legend. He stated that at his high school Sunny Hills High School, everyone would go to this specific haunted canyon to prove themselves, have a thrill, and sometimes couples would even go there for a night of “romance” per say. This specific canyon includes tales of a abandoned gate with a dark hole within the bricks that hold the gate. Supposedly if you go towards this hole, you will see eyes of a demon as this hole is a portal to hell. Also this canyon is supposedly a breeding ground for Satanists and also white supremacists. There was an incident where either Satanists or white supremacists chained a girl to the back of their car and dragged her down the canyon, dismembering her body. There is also a tree at a specific turnout that is supposedly haunted as a man hung himself at that spot. If you go to that tree at 2 a.m., you will see the body hanging there. There is also a house which use to be a mental hospital, however a tragedy occurred there. If you go in to this specific house you can see ghosts and hear screams from the tortured patients.
My informant stated that he went to this canyon during high school with his friends as they were bored. He said the personal experience that he had was that he heard noises coming from the house that use to house mental patients. This scared him so much that he drove down with his friends as soon as possible. Another of his friends stated that he saw a group of hooded figures in the woods who seemed to be doing a certain ritual.
My opinion of this piece of folklore is that it is a prime example of a legend quest. High School students around this area would go to this place to have a thrill as they would have story to tell to others about how they survived Turnbull Canyon. What is interesting about this legend is that when I did some research about it, there are incidents of a murder involving a woman found and also a mental institution which burned down. Thus these show where the inspiration for some of the legends came from. However nothing else could really be proven about the occult happenings.