Mysterious and Scary Urban Legends in San Diego and Around the World
They come in different forms, countries, and even names. You can call them urban legends, myths, or tales, but they're basically modern folklore. Most are fictional but often talked about as if they're true. Some are told for entertainment reasons, some are told to explain random things that happen in the world. But there are a few that seem to live on forever. One has to wonder, could some of these urban legends actually be true?
Warning, if you're reading this at 3 AM, I urge you to stop what you're doing and turn around. But if you're OK with staying up until sunrise, read on.
Here are some of our favorite San Diego mysteries and urban legends...
Proctor Valley Road in Chula Vista
There are several ghosts and legends that seem to tie in with this 6-mile dirt path in Chula Vista. The most infamous one, being that of the Proctor Valley Monster.
Locals have known about a monster or sasquatch that lurks around this area. This "monster" would mutilate the local livestock back when the area comprised of just a few ranches. Once the area became somewhat developed over the years, the monster started attacking and killing people who would hang out near the area at night. Today, there's an 18-inch cast of this monster's footprint at the Bonita Museum in Chula Vista!
Legend has it that there's the spirit of a woman who wears a long white dress who can occasionally be seen walking along the side of the road. She will usually disappear if you stop and try to offer her a ride.
This road is also home to the Proctor Valley Hitchhiker. Supposedly, it's the ghost of a teenage girl who died on prom night in a car accident and now walks around the road looking for a ride home.
Another legend is that of a woman who wears a light blue nightgown sometimes seen laying on the side of the road.
And last but not least, there's a legend of a demon car that will chase drivers around the road at night and disappear.
Just pray that your car never breaks down on that road in the middle of the night! I've included a daytime video of Procter Valley Road below just in case you're interested.
Mira Mesa Gravity Hill
If you grew up in Mira Mesa, chances are you've heard about the infamous gravity hill when heading into Sorrento Valley on the 805 South exit. Once you're near the bottom of the exit at the stop light, you can put your car in neutral and it will start rolling backwards uphill. Well, the road has since been altered so today, it's no longer "haunted."
Beach House Restaurant in Cardiff
There's a brass dome in the bar area that allows patrons to eavesdrop on other people's conversations from across the room. Apparently, that dome, centers the soundwaves in the room allowing a person on one end of the room to hear what someone across the room is saying. The weird part, the voices from their conversations sound as if that person was standing right next to you!
Munchkin Houses in La Jolla
I'm not even sure why this is even a thing, but yes, there's a San Diego urban legend about "Munchkinland". The rumor is that these homes belonged to the little people who starred in Frank Baum's "Wizard of Oz" which released in 1939.
Well, these Mount Soledad homes were built sometime in the early 1930s by architect Cliff May. Yes, the homes do appear a bit shorter than most other houses in the area. But maybe that was a standard of homes built during that time.
There's a giant toxic "blob" under Downtown San Diego
Well, yes, there was a petroleum-based substance in the soil, most likely gasoline, discovered near Market Street and 2nd Avenue sometime in the 1980s. Turns out, there was a leaking underground storage tank in the area that had been leaking. Builders had to stop development in the area and get it cleaned up before continuing their construction.
While we're at it, let's cover a few urban legends from around the world
Chanting Bloody Mary
In the past, the ritual involved young girls to walk up a flight of stairs, backward, while holding a candle and a small hand mirror in a dark house. Once they got to the top, they would look into the mirror to see a glimpse of their future husband. Some participants would end up seeing a grim reaper instead... which meant that they would die before they got to marry.
Today, participants conjure Queen Mary I of England AKA "Bloody Mary" by chanting her name 13 times in front of a mirror next to a candle. Mary will appear as a ghost, sometimes covered in blood.
Can a bug eat its way into your brain from your ear canal?
This one was usually told by mom or dad to a child before bathing. It involves a myth that bugs can climb through your ears and into your brain. Thankfully, this is pure fiction. It's technically impossible for insects or bugs to chew through your ear canal into your brain. They'd have to make it past bone first. Bugs, however, CAN make it into your system through wounds and such.
Gum will stay in your digestive system for 7 years if you swallow it
We've all heard this one before at one time or another. Why would your body treat gum any differently than corn or coins? Sure, gum isn't nutritious in any way. The ingredients in standard chewing gum is mainly waxes, elastomers, resins, and more. Once it goes into your stomach, it'll simply move along through your large and small intestines before it makes it way out with everything else.
This doesn't mean that you should go swallow as much gum as you can either. It's not something that we're supposed to swallow.
Spruce gum was created in 1848 by John Curtis of Maine. He noticed tree loggers would sometimes throw a piece of sap from the tree into their mouths and chew it. So one day, he found a way to put cornstarch on it and wrapped it up for sale. His business eventually closed up when there was a shortage of trees to retrieve sap from.
It wasn't until Mexican general, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the man who fought in the infamous Alamo battle, introduced chicle, which was a resin from the rainforest, to an inventor named Thomas Adams of New York to be used as a substitute for rubber. As he was working on the formula, he ended up using it for candy purposes instead. Today, the name "Adams" is still displayed on the boxes of Chiclet.
Alligators that live in the sewer
Did you know that there are families of alligators living in the sewer? We didn't either. Because they don't actually.
The rumor started along the lines of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story. Baby pet alligators were dumped into the sewer system somewhere in Florida and they end up eating any sewer workers who come across the gators.
La Llorona AKA The Lady In White
Every culture in the world has a version of the "lady in white". Who is she exactly? In Mexico, La Llorona is a mother who killed her children after realizing that her husband had been cheating on her. She realized that it was a bad idea and spent the rest of her life hanging around streams and rivers at night regretting her decision. If you ever see the Lady In White... RUN, and RUN FAST!
This is no pet! This legendary animal allegedly lives around the Southwest region of the United States and even Puerto Rico. It's like a vampire dog that drinks the blood of other animals such as chickens, goats, sheep, and more. Basically, it doesn't get along well with other animals. Are these creatures real or are they just fancy coyotes?
The Goatman of Maryland
This half-human half-goat beast hangs out around Maryland and carries around an ax. Apparently, he used to be a scientist until a failed experiment turned him into a goat man.
There's Batman, Superman, and now... Mothman. If you haven't seen it, there's a movie starring Richard Gere about a Mothman from West Virginia who appears in the night with really big eyes.
The Bunny Man
Supposedly, there's a man in Virginia who dresses up as a bunny rabbit and goes around murdering humans with an ax. He started appearing sometime in the 1970s and he's a very, VERY BAD BUNNY. Some folks believe that he was a former inmate who has an obsession with killing and skinning other rabbits in the area.
During the 1990s, there were reports of black-eyed kids walking around the country while panhandling.
There's a legend about a man who's tall, slender, and has long arms who preys on young kids and lives in the woods. He's not real, at least I don't think he is. But some people swear by it.