The Ormondale Pony

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/29/21
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Background: The informant likes this piece because it reminded her of the kinds of stories she’d used to hear in elementary school. Belief in the pony was shared by her classmates although it didn’t affect them in their daily lives, often forgetting about it.

SD: So this is the story about a horse, Ormondale, who is allegedly buried under my elementary school gym or something. Uh yeah, so I was always told this story as a child. This school, our elementary school was split up, we had, uh, K-3rd, and then there was a 4th-8th, so this was at the first one, this was at the K-3rd school, uh, it was called Ormondale and it was named after a horse, or I think maybe a pony, I don’t really know the distinction personally, but yeah, and I guess it was a race horse, I don’t know how the school ended up named after the horse, I mean, uh, oh it was a pony! Yes! Our mascot was the Ormondale ponies. Um, I don’t know how the, I think, I don’t know, maybe the person who founded the school, it was their horse or something, but, legend says that uh, well the pony is supposedly buried underneath, uh, the school gym, and I don’t ever believe that I was ever told that it haunts the school, I think that it was more of a, a freaky thing that there’s a corpse underneath the gymnasium rather than like a, like a ghostly, like a friendly ghost. I think it’s more corpse related than an afterlife. But, I think, I think it’s a nice story. I never believed it, but I think there are a lot of children, now adults, still children if this story’s still being told today, which I would assume it is, uh, that would believe this story.

Me: Did you first hear the story when you were in elementary school?

SD: I did. I think I first heard this story, uh, maybe in first grade. We, we didn’t talk about it often–actually I think we talked about it for like a month when we first learned the story, and then it was kind of a big deal, and then everyone forgot about it. I mean, I forgot about it for like the past decade. It maybe came into my brain once or twice after I was six years old, uh, but, other than that, I don’t know. I mean, the weird thing about it is that it’s entirely plausible, but why would anyone do it?

Me: Are there behavior changes that come with being around the gym, like does anybody avoid it or try not to–?

SD: No I think, I mean, well, because you’re that young, I feel like things just go in one ear out the other. Sometimes you’ll think about it and sometimes you’re like yeah it’s gym time, let’s do the Pacer. So I don’t think that there are any behavior changes whether or not they are related to the supposed haunting, and/or corpse body of the pony. I honestly kind of believe it though. It’s not impossible. It’s not haunted, it’s not a ghost thing. Because that I wouldn’t believe.

Context: This piece was collected during an in person conversation.

Thoughts: This seems like a belief that may be somewhat of a legend, since it could be true. The informant was quick to say she didn’t believe in it, but later went back and qualified her response; that since the belief that the pony haunts isn’t as common as simply the existence of a corpse, she says she believes it. As with many beliefs shared in elementary school, looking back, it is easy to quickly say you don’t believe it and dismiss it as childish.