Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Vampire's Ghost of Guadalajara

Maria was always an inquisitive girl. She liked to poke and prod around everything she encountered ever since she was a young child. Her family had lived on Nardo street in Guadalajara, Mexico all of her young life. Like most of the children in her neighborhood the streets were their playground and she had explored every nook and cranny of the streets that surrounded her home. One spot that truly fascinated her was the cemetery that was only a few blocks away, El Panteon de Belen. It is an ancient cemetery with many supernatural legends surrounding its occupants. Maria was only two years old when she first went there on November 2nd during a festival for the day of the dead. The cemetery had been turned into a museum long ago and the day of the dead celebrations would go on into the night with puppet shows and plays preformed throughout the graveyards property. She didn’t know when she first heard the story of the Vampire’s grave, it seemed as though it had been a part of her experience of El Panteon de Belen for as long as she could remember.

The story is told that long ago there was a vampire who stalked the countryside of Guadalajara in the early 19th century. Livestock and newborn babies were attacked in the middle of the night and all of their blood was drained from their lifeless bodies. The local citizens were on alert and during the dark hours of early morning a man was seen skulking back into his house after another reported attack of El Vampiro. A mob was formed and they burst into his house and killed him while he lay in his bed. A crude wooden stake was driven through his heart and he was buried unceremoniously in El Panteon de Belen. The stick was fed by his preternatural blood and soon it grew into a massive tree that burst open the tomb of El Vampiro. Legend has it that if you cut a limb from the tree you will see blood mingled with the sap ooze from the stump. An old prophecy claims that once the tree completely overgrows the grave and pushes the coffin up to the ground, El Vampiro will be free to rise again and take his revenge upon the citizens of Guadalajara.

This story fascinated and frightened Maria, and she would often stare at the opened hole of the crypt of El Vampiro whenever she visited the cemetery. Sometimes she was sure she thought something moved in the shadows, but her mother told her that her imagination was overactive from watching too many movies on television. But as she grew, the fascination with the crypt and the certainty that something was moving in its stygian darkness motivated her to visit the grave more frequently.

When she was 11 she her curiosity about the site was piqued and she decided to investigate the grave up close without anyone to bother her. After her parents had gone to bed she snuck out of the house after midnight and stealthfully walked the busy streets of Guadalajara and climbed the walls of El Panteon de Belen. The caretaker was usually guarding the grounds with his dog but luckily for her they had retreated to some location or another and she was not harassed as she made her way through the moldy and decaying crypts to the great tree. When she arrived at the grave of El Vampiro she stood undecided for a few moments as fear gripped her heart, but she then cast these feelings aside and boldly skirted the makeshift fence that was erected to keep out the curious and vandals during normal visiting hours.

The cracked top of the crypt seemed like a bottomless pit as she carefully crawled toward it. She saw no movement now, only a gaping black pit where nothing was discernable. Fear once again seized her heart, but she once again pushed these emotions aside and moved on with sheer determination.

She let her legs drop down into the hole and took out the small candle and lighter that she had tucked away in her dress pockets. With a quick flick she lit the wick and the small illumination gave her just enough light to find a footing in the crypt. She lowered herself down only to find herself in a cramped oblong tomb not much larger than the metal casket she stood upon. There was just enough head room for her to slouch while on her knees as she beheld the old iron casket in the dim light. The metal was thin and very rusty, and it seemed to give a little as she distributed her weight on its lid. There was some writing on the lid at the head and she scooted herself to get a closer look. When she did so the metal began to buckle and flake as the corroded metal gave way and a small hole began to form at her knee no bigger than a baseball. She shifted her weight away and leaned to read the writing, but it was too rusted and the lighting too dim for her to distinguish what the old lettering actually said.

It was then she felt something touch her leg.

It was something that was coming out of the coffin.

She screamed and bumped her head on the inner lid of the crypt, but the daze that overcame her did not prevent her from quickly making her way out of the crypt’s hole with remarkable speed.

She ran all the way home, and it was not until she opened the door did she see the blood.

It was trickling down her arm from a cut on the top of her head, and she had bled so much that the top half of her dress was a crimson stain. She managed to sneak in her house undetected and quickly disrobed and washed the cut on her head, luckily it did not seem that bad and the blood had stopped flowing. Her hair would hide it as it healed, and she washed her dress in the sink to hide all evidence of her nightly excursion.

She did not sleep at all that night though, for at every slight sound in the night or movement on the street outside of her window she was brought back to the terror she experienced in the crypt. She was sure El Vampiro was after her. After all, not only did something come out of the coffin and touched her, she had bled in the vampire’s crypt. Surely once he tasted her blood he would want more.

She felt sick the following day partially because of the lack of sleep and partially because of the throbbing headache she felt from the wound on her head. But she did her household chores without complaining or telling her parents what had transpired the night before. And even though exhausted from the previous night without sleep and a full day of work, that evening she could not rest but instead lay rocking in her bed for hours fearful of the thing in the crypt. Finally she succumbed to exhaustion and fitfully fell into a half wakeful slumber. She awoke to see a dark figure standing over her bed. It was a tall man with no discernable features who just stood there watching. Maria screamed and her parents ran to her bedside. As soon as the lights were turned on the figure vanished, but the young girl was hysterical. In tears she confessed to her parents of the previous nights adventure and the thing she had seen at her bed. They were terrified, not because of the dark figure but at the fact that the young girl had been roaming the streets in the middle of the night and had hurt herself. They calmed her down and assured her that it was just a figure of her imagination. The next day they brought her to a doctor who tended to her wound and found that there was a slight infection. He too assured little Maria that the specter at the end of her bed was just an illusion from her wound and lack of sleep.

But the dark figure returned the next night. Maria awoke to pain on her head and the dark figure was leaning over her. The girl’s screams alerted her parents, and this time when they came into her room they found her pillow had a spot of blood on it. Maria’s wound had seemed to open once again. The girl was sure that it was El Vampiro taking another drink of her blood, and after they once again dressed her wound the girl refused to sleep alone in the bed, so her mother sat by her resting in a chair.

For two nights the mother slept in the room and even though she slept soundly the girl seemed to weaken. The wound also refused to heal. The doctor had no idea why the wound would seem to heal during the day but reopen during the night. Maria was adamant that it was the work of the vampire ghost that attacked her, but her parents just regarded this as foolishness. That all changed on the third night after Maria’s fateful excursion. The mother sat with Maria for a while, until she fell off to sleep. Then she made herself ready to retire into her bedroom, but first stopped in the bathroom to freshen up before bed. On her way to her bedroom she quickly checked on Maria. Peering through the half opened door she saw her daughter lying asleep in bed and what looked to be a man standing over her in the darkness. She screamed for her husband and burst the door open and in the half second before the specter disappeared she swore she saw at look up at her with glowing eyes of fire. And once again the wound on Maria’s head was bleeding. The family was now convinced they were dealing with no normal wound, but they had no idea what to do.

While Maria’s family was not religious, Maria’s grandmother was a stout Pentecostal and she asked her minister for help. Although he had no formal training in such matters he did believe in the supernatural powers of darkness and decided to help anyway he could. Rev. Guivez visited with the family one night and talked at length with Maria. He anointed the wound with oil and prayed over her and the family in her bedroom. Immediately a porcelain doll flew off a nearby shelf and crashed into the wall just above the Reverend’s head. The minister was shaken up but still having his wits about him immediately demanded that the activity cease and the entity that was appearing and causing the harm to the girl immediately leave the room. Within seconds the room became cold and a mist began to swirl next to Maria. Every person there swore it looked like it was taking the shape of a man. Reverend Guivez immediately invoked the name of Christ and demanded that it cease and desist, and to his surprise the mist began to fade. With new found authority he demanded again that the entity leave the house immediately; and suddenly they heard the house cat in the next room screech in terror. The father turned to see it run frantically around the house as if insane and then jumped out an open window, and into the heavy traffic of Nardo street. It was run over and killed instantly.

The apparitions stopped and within a few days Maria’s wound began to heal for good. She never again went to El Panteon de Belen, not even to celebrate the day of the dead. She grew up to be a well adjusted young woman with a fantastic story to tell. After everyone in the church and the neighborhood heard of Maria’s tale, Reverend Guivez soon was called to many people and places where spiritual deliverance was needed. He quickly found himself doing more exorcism than marriages in his ministry at the Pentecostal church.

According to the e-mail that I received from which this story comes, the tree over El Vampiro’s crypt was cut down . Only a stump remains. There was no blood as they took the saw to the old wood. But that has not stopped the stories of El Vampiro’s hauntings. To this day his crypt has a vast hole on the top beckoning visitors to El Panteon de Belen to come in for a closer look.

If you visit this cemetery in Guadalajara, do not be tempted to explore the crypt yourself.

You never know what you might find.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope


Erin said...

That's quite a facinating ((and scary!)) story Pastor Swope.

You are definately right in saying that you don't want to fool around in a grave yard. A teacher I had in college told me some of her stories once and they were rather scary. You never know what you're going to get.

I've had some odd encounters in grave yards but for the most part I keep my head down, my mouth shut, and my ears open.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the Comment Erin,

I have some strange personal graveyard stories as well, having worked at one for 6 years. The atmosphere is not the only thing that changes after dark!

Kooljanik said...

I look forward to your posts and keep you on my homepage. This story was great. I'm first generation Mexican-American and am very familiar with my culture's superstitions. Thank you for addressing real issues and making them relevant to being a Christian.

Wm. Michael Mott said...

Interesting tale.

The legend states that the tree grew from the stake which was driven through the vampire's heart, right? But the girl found that the coffin was sealed until she accidentally broke it, which negates that part of the legend.

Still, a good cautionary tale, with the ring of authenticity.

Pastor Swope said...

Dear Wm.Michael Mott,

Great point sir!

I have found pictures and videos of this grave all over the net, and it seems the tree is growing from underneath the crypt though. That would mean if the legend is true the stake took root from underneath which could leave the lid intact.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Kooljanik,

Thanks for the compliment!

If you have any tales to share just leave me a message in the Paranormal Nathex, I would love to hear more!

cryptidsrus said...

Cool legend, Swope!!! Enjoyed it.

NXavier said...

"...her curiosity about the site was peaked..."

Use 'piqued' instead :^)

Pastor, I absolutely love your blog!

Surprisingly, I've found that I'm as interested in the commentaries as I am the blog entries themselves. You and your guests have provided me with much food for thought. Please keep up the good work!

May the Lord bless you, and be with you always.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the edit Xnavier!

It sometimes takes me twice as long to proofread a story as it does to write it!

It was the reason I bought my first computer in the 80s, my papers for Ancient History went from C+ to A+.

Yes, we do have some lively exchanges here!

Please feel free to stir a pot or two if you are ever so inclined!

George said...

Very interresting story.
vampirism really fascinates me
and just out of curiosity: do you think vampirism evil?
there seems to be no "good vampire" stories (not including the Twilight series).
does that mean vampires are not allowed to make moral decisions and have got to be blood sucking and evil?

well. nice story anyway :]

Mr. E said...

im actually in mexico right now, and i will be visiting that graveyard later this month, everyone i ask does say its huanted in a heartbeat. im going alone with a cousin. what do you think i should do when i go? should i bring holy water or anything around those lines?

RainbowFixation said...

My father is from Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. I just went for the first time in May. I really wish I heard this story before we went. I'm gonna ask my dad if he knows the street or the cemetery.

Jose Prado said...

Garlic or Lemon is best for dealing with Vampires, Salt is universal among a demons weaknesses. If you do bring holy water make sure you bring in exorcisized water. Works better.

Jose Prado said...

Interesting thing to note : there are many different species of Vampire. This one sounds like he started out as a living vampire (evil witch or wizard who started physically losing his humanity through practice of the Black Arts) then turned into what's known as a Ghost Vampire. They see them in Germany too. Also, wooden stakes are used for binding vampires to the grave to physically parelize them. Only one species of Vampire is killed by stakes. So the tree not truly ending that creature makes perfect sense.

Roxx said...

The tree is still up. Its still a legend the tree that was cut down was another one tied in with another legend about a boy with cancer who hung himself.

Jose Prado said...

I just read about a European Vampire similar to this one :