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  • Natalie Taylor

STORIES OF SAN MIGUEL: SPOOKY TALES PART I

Did you know that some of the most familiar streets, and neighborhoods you walk in around Centro, hold old tales of ghosts and strange events? Well, I’ve done a bit of research about local lore, and here, for your spine-chilling pleasure, are a few of these legends.


The Musicans of Piedras Chinas


Who is not familiar with this narrow, “ski-slope” alleyway?  It runs from the top of Salida a Queretaro down to El Chorro, just before the name changes to Murillo. I always imagine the look of horror on a first time traveler coming down in a van, and holding their breath as they pull in both mirrors, then inch by inch make the turn between the buildings, praying they can make it without a scratch. And if you have ever driven along Piedras Chinas during the periods of heavy rainfall, you might think you are navigating down river rapids, not a street. These facts alone are the stuff of legends!



But there is an old story, told by locals about an incident long, long ago. Once upon a time in San Miguel, a group of musicians had just finished playing at a late night gig.



They began their walk along Murillo heading back home, as roosters crowed, announcing dawn. As they approached Piedras Chinas they heard the sound of carriage wheels pounding along the cobble stones. Then a coach, pulled by two giant black horses appeared through the small passage way, and they were astonished as to how such a large carriage had squeezed through the narrow road.


The carriage stopped, and a man stepped out. He was elegantly dressed, and was wearing a wide-brimmed hat that concealed his face. “Come, play at our banquet,” the man said in a deep voice. And when he saw the musicians’ hesitation, he insisted, saying that there would be food and drinks, they would be paid handsomely, and he himself would bring them back to the same spot. The musicians accepted, and began to board the carriage.


But when the last man, the trumpeter, attempted to get in, he was stopped by the man in the hat. “Not you,” he said sternly, putting up his hand. “There is no room for you.” So the last fellow was left behind, and went home alone.


Once in the carriage, the musicians were surprised as to how smooth their ride was—as if they were flying. When they looked over, they saw fields of magueys and cactuses beneath them. They arrived at a beautiful hacienda, brilliantly lit, and were directed to the place where they would be playing. Looking about at the guests, the musicians recognized the faces of neighbors they had known, who had already passed. Frightened, they tried to find the man who had contracted them and ask him to take them home, but he was nowhere to be seen, so they continued playing on and on for hours. Finally, a rancher with a rough face told them they were done, and led them to a wagon drawn by mules. As soon as they boarded, the exhausted musicians fell asleep.


They woke with the sun in their faces, somewhere in a field, banged up, and without the money that had been promised them. A muleteer who was passing by, agreed to take them back to San Miguel. As soon as they returned, they went looking for their fellow musician to tell him what had happened.


Their friend said he was happy to see them, because he was sure they had gone with the devil to play at a party in hell!


“Look,” he said, taking out his rosary. “This is why they did not take me, they knew I had my rosary on me!”


The advice to any musician who might be walking along Piedras Chinas late at night, is to not accept any invitations to play, no matter how much money, food and drink are promised. Especially if it’s someone in a horse drawn carriage!


The elves of Chiquitos


There is a small street that runs between Correo and Hospicio called Chiquitos—“the little ones,” and there is a story and a reason for that name. Those who have lived on that street all their lives remember tales told by their grandparents, and great grandparents about what took place long ago. The old timers recall that in days gone by, playful elves cavorted along the street, dressed in colorful clothes, with standing multi-colored hair, and high pitched laughter and shouting.

The little ones would climb the walls grabbing vines, and when the passage was still a dirt road, small imprints of bare feet would be found all over it in the morning.


These little elves loved to play tricks on people, particularly those coming back from a late party. One time, a neighbor was walking along the alleyway past midnight, when he saw a nice looking fat hen pecking distractedly. He approached her slowly, and silently, hoping to grab her, but as soon as he was close enough, the hen turned into an elf who broke into wild laughter. The poor man was so scared, he ran away and vowed never to walk down that road alone at night.


They say that these elves actually live in some of the houses on the street, and only come out at night to cause mischief. They also say they sometimes try to entice little children whom they carry off and make them into one of their own. That may be a reason why there are only adults without children living along Chiquitos.

                                  

The woman in white of Parque Juarez


A long time ago four friends used to get together for late night drinking bouts near Villa Santa Monica, right next to the park. One September night when the moon was full, and the high trees and buildings cast long, bluish shadows along the streets that encircle Parque Juarez, they heard weeping somewhere in the park. Curious, they walked into the park looking about, then in the distance, along Nemesio Diez, they saw a woman walking slowly. She was dressed all in white, with long black hair cascading down her back, sobbing loudly as she made her way along the street. They called out to her, but she did not respond, and simply kept on walking. As much as the fellows tried to catch up with her, they could not. She was always a few paces ahead. Then she turned her face to them and they saw, to their horror, that it was no other than the Llorona!



For those not familiar, the Llorona is a woman from Mexican folklore whose ghost roams the streets at night, weeping near bodies of water. She mourns the death of her children, whom she drowned in a jealous fit, when she found out her husband was cheating.


The four friends were terrified and ran back into the park, hiding in some high bushes under the small bridge. Then they heard the woman coming nearer and nearer, approaching the stream that ran right next to the bushes where they were hiding. They watched as the ghostly figure passed, then headed toward the fountain by Golpe de Vista.



When the story got around, a few brave young men decided to see for themselves. They chose another moonlit night to go to the park around midnight. Sure enough, the woman appeared in the distance, just as she had been described—dressed all in white, sobbing as she passed. One of the fellows followed her, and when he reached her, he touched her shoulder. The woman turned her face, and her grisly countenance and terrifying shriek so startled him, he fell into a ditch and passed out. When he came to, he appeared to be in a catatonic state, and they say he never spoke another word in his entire life.


Locals advise that you should never walk about Parque Juarez late at night, and never, ever try to follow a woman in white who might be passing by, especially if she is crying.


More strange stories are part of San Miguel’s lore, and I will choose a few more to tell next time. In the meantime, may you have pleasant dreams when you retire to your bed tonight—even if you live on Chiquitos, Piedras Chinas, or next to Parque Juarez.

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4 comentários


Danita Brisson
Danita Brisson
26 de mar.

I thought I'd read your blog tonight before I went to bed,

and let your storytelling calm and ease my weary head.

But mariachi magic, elves and white-gowned ghosts who weep

will only conjure nightmares, not a deep and restful sleep!

I need a soothing topic now, like history or the arts.

Pedos de monjas? What is that? Translation: It's Nun's Farts!!!


No sleep for me ... thanks Natalie!

Curtir
Natalie Taylor
26 de mar.
Respondendo a

But why worry....you are nowhere near Parque Juarez, or Chiquitos, or Piedras Chinas....none of those ghosts would dare cross Libramiento to get to La Serena!!!

Curtir

Sharon Doherty
Sharon Doherty
27 de fev.

My husband and I lived on Piedras Chinas for many years, near the bottom where the street is at its narrowest. We have fond memories of the Tuna Bands serenading their way down the cobble stones, likely after a wedding on a Saturday night. Being on the second floor, we would stick our heads out the windows and the band would stop to play, just for us!

Another time, a large armored truck accidentally came down the road obviously unaware of the narrow space at the bottom through which to pass. Of course, a truck that size could not fit through. The driver spent over an hour trying, unsuccessfully, to reverse out of his predicament, the smell and smoke of…

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Natalie Taylor
27 de fev.
Respondendo a

Thank you so much for sharing those stories. I have always wondered what would happen if a too large car found itself at the bottom. How do you possibly back up??? Well, you have answered. What a story!

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