Text and photo by Nora Vasconcelos
Now that Halloween is around the corner, I’ve been remembering some of the ghost stories I’ve heard while traveling around.
Some of them are quite funny, like the one that talks about an Irish goblin whose spirit likes to go around the London Pubs to drink the customers beers while they’re distracted, or the adventurous stories that are told around the blacksmith shop located on Bourbon street, New Orleans, which it is said housed many of the plots developed by the pirate Jean Lafitte, whose ghost is either present around that city, or navigates the waters if the Gulf of Mexico.
Some others are quite ghostly, like the one that says that a mariner, who died about two centuries ago, shows up once in a while on the deck of the USS Constellation Ship, currently docked at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. According to the legend, this ship is haunted by three ghosts, but this particular mariner, shows himself to the visitors, who think he’s another memeber of the crew until they realize that the mariner is a vanishing apparition.
Other ghost stories I’ve heard come from Mexico. The first one, called in Spanish “La Llorona” (The Weeping Woman), takes place in Mexico city some time after the Spaniards came to this country. According to the story, one day, a woman drown her children out of pain after her man told her he didn’t love her.
Gone crazy out of pain, the woman drowns herself afterwards, but due to her crimes, she’s condemned to dwell between two words, and the legend says that every now and then, the white figure of a woman can be seen floating around the place the kids were drowned while she cries aloud “Ay mis hijos” (“Oh! My Children!”).
The next story also happens in the same time (around the XVII century) and it’s called “La Calle de Don Juan Manuel” (Mr. Juan Manuel Street). This legend tells the story of a man that blinded by jealousy, walks every night around 11 pm and whenever he sees a man getting closer to his wife’s balcony, he asks the man about the time, and when the unfortunate man answers “it’s 11 pm”, Don Juan Manuel tells him “You’re blessed, because you know the exact time when you’re going to die.”