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INEXPLICATA: Chronicles of the Paranormal

INEXPLICATA: Chronicles of the Paranormal

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Published by Scott Corrales
The Spanish-speaking world has offered a significant number of cases and events to the discipline of paranormal studies, in every aspect ranging from sightings of weird and terrifying creatures, bizarre cults, shape-shifting humans, ghosts, Marian apparitions and poltergeist phenomena. Chronicles of the Paranormal seeks to provide a primer into this treasure-trove of occult lore.
The Spanish-speaking world has offered a significant number of cases and events to the discipline of paranormal studies, in every aspect ranging from sightings of weird and terrifying creatures, bizarre cults, shape-shifting humans, ghosts, Marian apparitions and poltergeist phenomena. Chronicles of the Paranormal seeks to provide a primer into this treasure-trove of occult lore.

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Published by: Scott Corrales on Mar 27, 2014
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InexplicataChronicles of the Paranormal
2
Foreword
The ghostly traditions of Latin America have not received much attention in the Englishlanguage media. Perhaps the stereotypes of fun in the sun and Carmen Miranda-type dancersmake it hard to believe that hauntings form an integral part of the traditionsof countries fromMexico to Argentina, with some apparitions dating back centuries. In Mexico alone we find LaLloronathe ancient Aztec goddess known a Cihuacoatl, the serpent woman, worshipped in thedarkness of the templeknown as Tillán by asecretive priesthood whoapproached her statue ontheir kneeswhose banshee-like wails filledthe streets of Tenochtitlan at night,presaging the arrival of the Spanishconquistadores.During the Colonialperiod of Mexicanhistory, the creolepopulation of viceregalMexico City quailed interror at the same nocturnal wailing, saying that it was the revenant of La Malinche, the latelover of the conquistador Hernán Cortés, bemoaning her betrayal of her own people. Dressed in white, her features covered by an impenetrable veil, the figure would wander the streets of theold city. According to the scholar José María Marroquí, the lateness of the hour would be broken by “
the clothing, the air, the slow and steady stride of that mysterious woman and her penetrating,shrill and prolonged moan, terrifying those who saw and heard her. Some bravehearts would try to follow her, availing themselves of the moonlight, only to see her vanishupon reaching the lake, vanishing into the waters. Unable to glean more informationabout her, or whence she came from, she became known as La Llorona
.” Yolotl Gonzales Torres's Diccionario de mitologia y religión de mesoamerica (p.42-43) notes:Cihuacoatl displays
three characteristic aspects: screams and lamentations in the night, the presence of water, since both Aztlan (the place of origin of the Aztecs) and Great Tenochtitlanwere encircled by water, and by being the patroness of the cihuateteo, who scream in thenight, being women who died during childbirth and come to earth on certain days appointed to them in the calendar, haunting the crossroads, being fatal to children." 
 Artemio del Valle-Arizpe mentions another ghostly woman during the colonial periodone that we would classify today as a “shadow person”wandering the streets as a dark cloud, but
 
InexplicataChronicles of the Paranormal
3
emitting small streams of multicolored light. A colonial gentleman decided to put an end to themystery, boldly facing the apparition and challenging it to uncloak itself. When the dark figuremoved forward, unimpressed by his challenge, he stabbed it with his sword, only to see thedarkness advance along the length of the bladestreaming multicolored lights as it did soandeventually engulfing his hand and forearm. The terrified
caballero
issued a scream and fell tothe ground in a dead faint.In more recent times, video evidence has emerged of a ghostly presence in the
Casa de los Azulejos
(House of Blue Tiles) on Calle Madero in downtown Mexicoin La Llorona’s oldneighborhood. During construction work in the early years of this century, workers reportedseeing a shadow descending the stairs, vanishing on one of the landings. Another presence wasseen entering the building’s courtyard, which is occupied by the popular Sanborns restaurant.Learning about the existence of ghosts in Puerto Rico is perhaps even more disconcerting for thecasual reader, as one would think the sunshine and tropical breezes would serve as a barrieragainst the repetitive activity of restless spirits. Quite the contrary, according to folklorist Calixta Vélez, author of a number of books on children’s games. In a statement to the island’s El NuevoDía newspaper (29 Oct 2010) Ms. Vélez observed that ghosts have always been seen in PuertoRico, adding: “This all forms part of our oral tradition. Ghosts have always been seen in variousparts, although whether this is true or not is an entirely different matter. The human mind isextremely powerful, and since we are not merely flesh, but incarnated spirits, many situationscan come about. Paranormal phenomena are defined as events that are hard to explain both by science and religion.”Spirits, notes the expert, remain on the terrestrial plane after bodily death. “Spirit transcendsmatter and remains on Earth for a few days after death, especially those who die suddenly. They remain where they are because they have not realized that they are no longer supposed to bethere. Some remain longer, others less so. This is why they are seen so often on highways, because their deaths were so sudden.”Religion, she believes, is charged to making sure that the spirit goes to where it is supposed to,hence the Catholic tradition of praying the Rosary for nine days after a person’s death, as it isnecessary to tell the person that it is time to go. Far from being afraid, says the folklorist, if confronted by a “wandering spirit”, we should tell it that it no longer belongs to this plane andmust depart.In 1901, the
 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
published a remarkable account of ghostly activity in PuertoRico only a few years afterthe U.S. invasion of the island. Bearing the title “He Drives Up To TheCastle and Cares Nothing for Sentries”, the newspaper article is centered on St. GerónimoCastle, a 17th century Spanish fort built on the Ensenada de Boquerón, a body of water thatseparates the Condado Lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean. The contemporary tourist trade hascome to know it as the ancient structure almost on the grounds of the Caribe Hilton hotel, or visible from the sands of the beach on the property of the Condado Plaza hotel.Things were different in 1901, however
:
“ 
 Major Seldon A. Day, with two orderlies, is the soleoccupant of the picturesque spot,” notes the article “and he has been quartered there since

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