Urban Legends, Monsters, and Haunted Places in San Diego, California

Updated on March 27, 2019
DS Duby profile image

DS Duby is an avid traveler and writer with a keen interest in horror and urban legends.


While researching California's urban legends, monsters, and haunted places, I discovered that Cali has nearly as many creepy happenings off camera as they do on. This article focuses on the San Diego area.

Hollywood may be the hangout for movie monsters and special effects, but it seems that the San Diego area is the true hot-spot for eerie legends and strange events. From villages of little people to stories of hidden treasure, there is a legend around every corner. I really don't know whether there is any truth to these legends or not— I'm only here to share the tale, not debunk it.

Glass Tiles in the Sidewalks

According to one local legend, there were once glass tiles built into the sidewalks of San Diego, illuminating a vast network of secret tunnels under the city. Many have claimed to have been able to see things moving around under the streets and walkways through these blocks of glass. One theory claims the tunnels are connecting government labs that are performing illegal experiments on homeless people to create a super soldier race under the control of the government.

Another popular story claims an alien helped design the sidewalks when the area was being developed to light up their underground lair. They say the aliens have since been relocated to a more secluded area where they aren't at risk of being discovered.

In actuality the tiles are most likely used to help light up extended basements under San Diego, much like a few other major cities around the country, but personally I like the Government lab theory. Perhaps it's where the experiments that created the Billiwhack monster were continued after August Rubel's untimely death.


Chulapa Monster

Nearly everyone knows Texas and Mexico's legend of the chupacabra, a hairless beast with huge fangs that sucks the blood from goats, chickens, and the occasional small child. The story has been told throughout those areas for many years and is very well known. What isn't so well known is San Diego's legend of the chulapa monster.

The history of the chulapa dates back several decades. Even though there are very few witnesses who claim to have actually seen the creature many have claimed to here it's cry in the dead of night. One version of the legend claims the beast feeds on the weak and weary such as small children and the homeless people who are unfortunate enough to bed down in the vicinity of the chulapa.

Chulapa | Source

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In the past the few who have claimed to bare witness to the monster describe it in much the same way as the chupacabra, almost completely hairless, large fangs, long legs in the back a short legs in the front. Many locals seem to think it may be a pack animal rather than an individual anomaly and that perhaps they drag their victim back to their lair, possibly explaining why little evidence is ever found concerning the missing people.

On Feb. 1st, 2012 the first public sighting is claimed to have occurred on Mission Beach. While surfing with friends, Josh Menard was warned by a nearby homeless man to stay away from a pile of washed up seaweed. Upon hearing this he naturally had to investigate. The photos he took that day show the corpse of a beast matching the chulapa monster's description to a tee. Critics claim the dead animal to be nothing but a dead opossum or possibly a bloated dog, but true believers know the corpse is further proof of the existence of the terrifying chulapa monster.

Giant Squid: Coastal Area of San Diego, CA

Giant squid (often called jumbo flying squid) sounds like a monster straight out of a cheesy horror movie or comic book, but this particular creature is very real. The jumbo squid are five-feet long with razor sharp beaks and vicious lobed tentacles. The squid are generally found off the coasts of Mexico and are referred to as Red Devils.

The beast is carnivorous, weighs in around 100 pounds, travels in packs with up to 1200 members, and is known to attack divers. A few years ago divers started to spot the beasts hunting and feeding in the San Diego area. Before many of the divers knew what was happening the giant squid began lashing them with their long tentacles.

Many veteran divers refused to go back into the water of that particular area while the squid were still there but equally as many couldn't control their curiosity and went in to investigate. No casualties have been reported concerning the squid but a few have claimed to be roughed up while swimming with the squid yet many others have reported the creatures to be merely curious rather than aggressive.


The Munchkin Homes: La Jolla, CA.

Tucked away in a hillside in La Jolla was once what was thought to be the munchkin village. A small community of four homes said to once be occupied by the Wizard of Oz's crew of little people. Though the legend is for the most part thought to be false, the homes did in fact exist, and one is supposed to still be standing to this very day. This legend is one of San Diego's most widespread legends and has spread all over the United States.



If I've learned anything from writing this, it's that San Diego is one creepy city that I would love to visit. There are so many legends waiting to be told and amazing sights to behold. So, if you're ever in Cali and looking for a cool place to explore, then I definitely recommend San Diego, based solely on my research of the city.

If you have any stories from the California area that you would care to tell feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for taking the time to visit my series of stories.

The buildings were built around the same time that L. Frank Baum was writing the Wizard of OZ. The stature of the buildings is actually only an optical illusion. Being built into the slope of a hill gave the homes a small appearance. Add in the cobble floors and round fireplace of the buildings, and you certainly have the makings of a great munchkin legend. There may not be any truth to the munchkin legend, but it is still a great piece of history that will forever be a part of San Diego thanks to random storytellers and urban legend connoisseurs all over America.

Questions & Answers


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      • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

        DS Duby 

        6 years ago from United States, Illinois

        Yeah I like those tiles too, it would be a really cool way to light a basement. I wander if anyone has done this in more modern times on residential houses? Thanks for reading and commenting Shea Duane

      • shea duane profile image

        shea duane 

        6 years ago from new jersey

        love the glass tiles!

      • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

        DS Duby 

        6 years ago from United States, Illinois

        Thank you Garifalia you are very kind!

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Well....this is an article that I never would have thought to write about. I hope I don't sound like I'm reciprocating compliments but it is very well written (no mistakes of any sort!) and done in a simple yet compelling way. I knew there was greatness justifying the over 90 score. Bravo!

      • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

        DS Duby 

        7 years ago from United States, Illinois

        Thanks Shea as for me I believe the Chulapa is a meal from taco bell! Lol thanks again for reading and commenting

      • shea duane profile image

        shea duane 

        7 years ago from new jersey

        Another cool hub... I didn't vote cuz I couldn't make up my mind!

      • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

        DS Duby 

        7 years ago from United States, Illinois

        The Red Devil squid are quite amazing creatures, and from what I understand very intelligent as well. I would love to see them in person, preferably from a protective cage lol.

      • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

        DS Duby 

        7 years ago from United States, Illinois

        I thought the tiles were pretty neat as well, I've actually seen them in other cities before but thought they were only for decoration. I had no idea they were an actual light source.

      • John Sarkis profile image

        John Sarkis 

        7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

        Hi, cool hub! Wow, that squid is amazing.

        Voted up


      • ChristyWrites profile image

        Christy Birmingham 

        7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Oooh the glass tiles story is neat. Imagining all of the tunnels... As for the giant squid - keep it away from me! Another California hub - good job!

      • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

        DS Duby 

        7 years ago from United States, Illinois

        Thanks for reading and commenting Efeyas it's great to hear some recommendations, it's really my purpose in writing this series.

      • efeyas profile image


        7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

        I travel to San Diego often for business. I suggest visiting the Old Town district and the Whaley House Musuem (voted one of the most haunted locations in the US!). Quite Interesting place!! Voted Up!


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