The Internet Thinks Tracy, California Might Be A Real Life Night Vale. Here's Why

"Welcome to Night Vale" is a podcast released in 2012 that focuses on the strange occurrences in the fictional desert town of Night Vale, located in the southwestern part of the U.S. The podcast follows a radio show format, wherein host Cecil Baldwin (voiced by Cecil Gershwin Palmer) shares announcements, weather reports, and mysterious events in town. The New York Times described it as "macabre and mundane," something that could be the result of David Lynch or Stephen King producing a radio show. As the podcast's introduction says, Night Vale is "where every conspiracy theory is true."

Although the events in the podcast are fictional, internet users couldn't help but compare Night Vale to Tracy, California. In a Tumblr post, one user shared her experience at the dentist, wherein she learned that she had been wearing an extremely rare prototype retainer that her dentist had never seen before. She got the retainer from the dentist in her hometown. The user didn't divulge the name of her hometown but provided some real stories that she heard about growing up there. Another user did some research and came up with Tracy, California, and the original poster confirmed that her hometown was indeed Tracy and added the hashtag, "It is like the Twilight Zone." After doing a little online sleuthing and seeing news from Tracy, users think that the location is like a real-life Night Vale, pointing to a few incidents in particular as evidence.

Altamont Free Concert

On December 6, 1969, a crowd of approximately 300,000 people gathered at the Altamont Speedway in Tracey, California (per Forbes). The location was the venue for the Altamont Free Concert, a music festival that featured the Rolling Stones as headliners (via History). One would think that a large event — not to mention free — entailed careful planning and preparation, but that was not the case. In fact, the location was only finalized a couple of days before the event. The Hells Angels were hired to provide security, and what was supposed to be a day of fun and music turned into a tragedy.

According to a report by Forbes, members of the Hells Angels resorted to physical violence to control the excited crowd. It didn't help that some people in the audience used drugs, and there was a lack of security personnel. Basic facilities were not available, which led to the crowd getting rowdier as time passed. The crowd went out of control as the Rolling Stones took the stage, and at one point, a teen named Meredith Hunter was stabbed after a confrontation with one of the Hells Angels. In total, four people died, and hundreds were treated for drugs and other minor injuries, as noted by UPI.

Sandra Cantu's murder

Sandra Cantu was an 8-year-old girl who lived in a mobile home park in Tracy, California. She went missing on March 27, 2009. A surveillance video showed the little girl skipping home when something out of the camera's angle caught her attention. As reported by ABC News, Cantu's remains were discovered in a suitcase tossed in an irrigation pond a couple of weeks after she went missing. Court documents detailed that she was poisoned and sexually assaulted before she was strangled to death.

In April 2009, authorities arrested Melissa Huckaby (pictured), a former school teacher and Cantu's neighbor. One of the clues that linked her to Cantu's murder was the suitcase where the girl was discovered, which Huckaby said was stolen. According to NBC Bay Area, Huckaby told authorities that she was playing hide-and-seek with Cantu and told her to hide in the suitcase and jump out to scare her friends but claimed that she forgot the child was inside and went to church. However, the details of the crime didn't support her story. She was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. In court, Huckaby was in tears and said (per NBC Bay Area), "I still cannot understand why I did what I did. This is a question I will struggle with for the rest of my life."

A teen was held captive and tortured

In 2010, three adults from Tracy, California were sentenced to at least 30 years in prison each after they pleaded guilty to crimes committed against a 16-year-old boy named Kyle Ramirez, as reported by the Daily Mail. Kyle was in the care of his legal guardian, Caren Ramirez, when he was tortured and held captive for more than a year (per CBS News). Caren, together with Michael Schumacher and his wife Kelly Lau (pictured), beat up, tortured, and starved the teen. He was kept in chains and slept in a fireplace. After more than a year in captivity, Kyle was able to escape and call the authorities.

In court, Kyle testified that the three adults, as well as a neighbor named Anthony Waiters, abused him, as they claimed he bullied Schumacher and Lau's children. He was also tortured for forgetting to do chores and not doing them the way Lau wanted them to be done. Kyle recalled that he heard them talking about ways to kill him, too, per SF Gate. "I remember they said they would try to cut me up and everything and throw me in the delta," he testified. The transcript of horrific things the teen endured was more than 900 pages long and included details such as being bathed in scalding water, choked with a belt, cut with a knife, and hit with a baseball bat. According to Kyle, Schumacher and Lau's 5-year-old daughter was nice to him and gave him water or candy. More than 30 people, including the couple's children, testified against the defendants.

A man was attacked by a bull

Walter "Dean" King was a 69-year-old man who survived a bull attack in 2010 (per the Daily Mail). On the Fourth of July that year, King was checking out a used car he was looking to purchase in the rural part of Tracy, California. As he was inspecting the vehicle, a bull suddenly charged at him. He was not even aware that the animal was in the vicinity. He told Fox 40 that he felt its horn pierce through his side, and he fell to the ground. He crawled between the house on the property and a bush, but the bull didn't leave him alone for about 20 minutes and just stood snorting close to where he was. King said he thought he was going to die there.

Fortunately, someone driving a pick-up pulled up to the property and spotted the bull, and that was when King called for help. He was brought to the hospital and underwent surgery for three hours (via CBS News). As noted by the doctor who treated King, he was saved by his large size and most likely wouldn't have survived the attack if he were a skinny man. "My fat kept me from dying. ... He said, 'This is one case where you had better be glad you're fat.'" The doctor said that his fat protected his vital organs from being pierced by the bull's horn.

Terrifying clowns harassed citizens

There have been several reports of people from Tracy, California being harassed by clowns. In 2016, police received a report of a man wearing a clown costume that chased a 10-year-old child down the street, but authorities were not able to apprehend the man. The year after, a woman called authorities to report a clown holding a balloon who stood in front of her daughter's car for about 30 seconds and wouldn't move. However, when police officers checked the area, they didn't find the man, as reported by Tracy Press.

In yet another clown incident in 2019, a woman called the police a little after midnight after an odd encounter with some individuals (via the Tracy Press). According to the woman, two men she wasn't familiar with knocked at her door, and when she asked what they needed, they didn't reply. The incident happened a few more times, and the same occurred. Police officers went to the location to search for the men, but they weren't located. Later, the woman called the police again to say that the men had come back to her home, but at that time, they were in full clown costumes. Fortunately, no one was harmed.