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Davis Urban Legends

Please include debunking or confirming information on subpages.

Note: Many of these listed are debunkable with a little research, don't believe everything you hear!

Local Legends

City Legends

  • Haunted Houses
    • I grew up in Davis, and I have never heard of any haunted houses. As kids we used to play in the Davis Cemetery, but even that wasn't haunted
    • The Baxter House is supposedly haunted.
  • Jimmy Carter's visit
    • Jimmy didn't visit, but Rosalynn Carter did, to see Village Homes, which was the country's first all-solar housing developmentBevSykes
  • The NAZI House
    • On the corner of 4th and I streets is a large three story house. On the south side is a large brick chimney with a brick swastika. However upon futher inspection, the swastika is backwards, which I believe means something different.
    • According to my sources, the backwards swastika is a native American symbol for something or the other -DavidKoppel
    • The swastika has many positive connotations and was in common use by everybody from the Boy Scouts to Coca Cola before a certain political party in German used it as their symbol. It is still in common use in Hindu countries and Basque architecture. The left facing variant is a "manji" in Japan, and is the symbol for a Buddhist temple, the same as a Cross or Star of David is used for Churches or Temples. It appears in everything from Pokemon cards to train passes.
  • What's buried under the bike statue on Russell
  • Davis was the first city with curbside recycling - many people have now posted this to the Wiki, so it seems to be a popular one. A tiny bit of research shows that Davis started in 1974, while Madison, Wisconsin had already started in 1967.
  • Russian spy caught in Davis during the Cold War
    • This one is actually true. The Walker "Spy Ring" was essentially John Walker and his family, for the most part; they stole all kinds of classified info from the Navy, and sold it to the Soviets. One of John Walker's main contacts/partners in spying was a recruit of his, Jerry Whitworth, the sole non-family member in the group. Whitworth was living in Davis at the time of his arrest in 1985, in the Rancho Yolo mobile home park (at that time it had a mixed population, before it became seniors only) on Pole Line, just north of Fifth.
  • Unidentified Flying Objects
  • Why is the bar called Froggy's?
    • Check out the page for an explanation

Campus Legends

  • Cow Tipping
  • World War Two Prisoners
    • I am not sure what is meant by this heading, but a former City Councilman, Jerry Kaneko, was interned in a Japanese labor camp during WWII.
  • Famous Alumni
    • William Sullivan - Current CEO of Agilent Technologies, Graduated '77 w/ B.S.
    • Josh Davis -aka Dj Shadow, Davis Senior High graduate
    • Xavier Mosely - the DJ from Blackalicious
    • Martin Yan - a chef, host of Yan Can Cook
      • Martin taught cooking classes here. He gave a high priced cooking class at the University and taught the same class for $20 through the Adult School. I took two of his Adult School classes and they were wonderful. Before Martin became big on TV, he was working with local attorney Stephen Cole to get a program started in Canada (I was working for Stephen's father, Robert M. Cole at the time. —BevSykes
    • Ann Veneman - Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and new director of UNICEF
  • Invention of Agent Orange - Agent Orange was actually born as a defoliant at the University of Chicago during World War II.
  • The Unabomber's Visit - UC Davis librarians handed over to the FBI a book found in the stacks with handwritten markings around text closely paralleling some of the Unabomber's manifesto, which raised the possibility that the Unabomber may have used the UC Davis library for researching and writing at least part of his manifesto. There is no firm evidence that the Kaczynski studied at the UC Davis library. The Unabomber's attorney was Federal Public Defender Quin Denvir, a Davis resident. His wife Ann Denvir taught math at Davis High.
  • Girl's Face on Side of Tercero B - legend has it that a girl living on the second floor of Tercero B leapt to her death (from a second floor?!). The faint image of her face later become apparent on the wall - or it maybe it was that her friends painted her face on the wall, it was later painted over, and reappeared (which would make complete sense as one can often see the vague impression of underlying layers of paint).

When I was a freshman in Tercero C, I heard a different version of this story. The girl's face CAN be seen from outside, but it is painted on the underside of a third-story awning on Tercero A, facing C building. The story that we were told was that many years ago, two identical twin girls lived in the room where the painting is located. One evening, one twin was out at her boyfriend's house while the other twin was asleep in their room. Supposedly at 3 am or something, she suddenly woke up, opened up her window, leaned out from her top bunk bed, and started drawing this image of a face on the underside of the awning. She didn't know what possessed her to do it but she couldn't make herself stop. At some point she finished, looked at the picture, and thought that it was funny that it resembled herself. She went back to sleep and was awakened at 7 am the next morning by a phone call. It was her mother, calling to tell her that her twin sister had been killed in a car crash coming home from her boyfriend's that last night at about 3 am. She was so stricken with grief that she leapt to her death from the third floor window. Legend has it that the image has been painted over every year, but somehow, the face mysteriously reappears through the paint. I have no idea if this story is true, but it used to scare the heck out of me as a freshman. — KayRide

WTF? I was in Tercero B (IS '96-'97) and this is the first I've heard of it.NicoleTheWonderNerd

I think it's more recent than that. I'm not sure, though.MikeIvanov

I heard from several RA friends that it was in A building rather than BLizethCazares

  • Suicide note in the Malcom Hall elevator shaft - Back when I was a freshman living on Malcom 3 it was brought to my attention that if you take the elevator to the 5th floor and look up through the crack between the door and the wall, writing is visible on the ceiling of the elevator shaft. It said somthing to the effect of "what did I do wrong? why do you all hate me?". Legend has it that a girl hung herself in the elevator shaft shortly after writing the letter. I haven't actually been in Malcom for about 3 years so the writing may be gone by now. — DanMasiel
    • At the top of the shaft it says: shit, give me a chance.ErnBro

Greek Legends

  • Any Greeks care to spill the beans?
    • I think the story of the kid being stabbed 27 times, and it being ruled a suicide should be put here for future generations.. It will become an Urban legend
    • I suspect the above comment is referring to the death of Andrew Wieman. Information on his death can be found on the Tragic events page.

Actually True

  • Lands deeded with stipulations
  • Square Tomatoes - were invented here. Most tomatoes one finds in a grocery store are "square" tomatoes. They are more robust than (round?) tomatoes, eliminating a formerly significant problem of tomatoes breaking during harvesting.
  • Sword and Sandals, UCD's very own secret society
  • Radioactive Beagles buried on on UC Davis property - from this report:

The former Laboratory for Energy-Related Health Research is a 15-acre site located on part of the University of California, Davis campus...The Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Energy sponsored experiments at LEHR during the 1960s through the 1980s. These experiments consisted primarily of exposing beagle dogs to strontium-90 and radium–226 to extrapolate the human effects from exposure to low levels of radiation. Waste from these research activities was processed in a Radium/Strontium Treatment System... waste was also buried in the southwest corner of the site in unlined trenches (Southwest Trenches).