Urban legends a part of Visalia’s history


Alyssa Ruiz, Staff Reporter

Every city has their own folklore and urban legends. Many locals are unaware that such secrets and tales are hidden within their hometowns in the Tulare County. Here are a couple Tulare County urban legends that have been around for years:

One urban legend that has been around for years is the Visalia underground tunnel theory. The people of Visalia started rumors that there were haunted tunnels beneath the buildings of Downtown Visalia. The urban legend of the Visalia tunnels was proven to be true when people began to investigate more.  Two of the known tunnels in Visalia are the ones located under the Double L steakhouse and underneath the courthouse. There were stories about the tunnels being used for crime such as drug trafficking and murder. The truth about the Visalia tunnels is that they have been around since before the Great Depression and were used as retreats by Chinese immigrants who came to the valley. The tunnels were also believed to be haunted. The founder of the Double L Steakhouse, Chris Lum, has said he has heard sounds in the walls when he is visiting the tunnels alone.

The urban legend of the Tulare Ghost Rider is another popular local story. This folklore began getting spread in the 1940s. The story involves a man being decapitated after an accident on Bardsley Road in Tulare. People believe the man was a motorcyclist who was the victim of a prank done by a group teenage boys. The boys apparently strung a rope across a bridge and the man drove through the rope, causing him to end up beheaded. According to locals, an apparition appears in the nighttime as a light moving up the road along with the sound of a motorcycle.

Another Tulare County urban legend takes place at the railroad crossing at Santa Fe Ave and Ave. 271 in Visalia. The train tracks were originally constructed around the 1880s but are no longer in use. It is rumored that you can see and hear a train riding across the train tracks at around 3AM. Some Visalians have even reported seeing ghostly images of people walking up to their car. People believe that the rumored haunting of the train tracks began after a bus accident.