Not many people like a good ghost story or a haunting story, but those who do are most likely familiar with the hauntings of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, The Amityville Horror, or/and The Stanley Hotel. Of course, October always seems to bring all these tales to the surface since the veil begins to thin and all supernatural becomes a focus point for those that have a big attraction for the unknown.
(Harshal Desai/Getty Images)
The thing about ghost stories is that they always hit really close to home and, Puerto Rican folklore is just swimming with these ghost stories too.Not to mention, different locations throughout the Island have their own stories too. These tales date back all the way from the 1500’s up to the 20th century. Being a HUGE fan of the paranormal, I believe that all the negative energy brought by the mass genocide of the Tainos, the high flow of African slaves brought to the island and all the tragedies that followed, just made all this paranormal activity stick. Not to mention we’re one of the corners of the Bermuda Triangle.
Our first stop is ‘el Centro Ceremonial Indigena de Tibes’ (The Indigenous Ceremonial Center in Tibes), dating back to pre-Taino culture and one of the most important archaeological sites in the Caribbean, located in Ponce. This site counts with nine ceremonial plazas and has the biggest indigenous cemetery in Puerto Rico. It was discovered in 1975 after the hurricane Eloisa made it visible. Since its discovery, paranormal activity has been reported.
In 1982, the Ceremonial Center opened for the public. Employees of the site have witnessed the spirits of Tainos around bohios (structures made from wood and hay where indigenous families lived), and bateyes (area for entertainment and ceremonies). Unfortunately, according to a news article, made this year by ‘La Perla del Sur’ (The Pearl of the South), a newspaper from Ponce, tells us of how the site barely has the staff to maintain the archeological jewel. The headline fore warns us: ‘The ceremonial center counts with only five employees to operate six days a week. None have assigned maintenance duties.’ The article interviewed Ernie Rivera Collazo, archeologist from Ponce, who doesn’t talk about the paranormal activity but, of the heartbreaking conditions this very important piece of history is going through.
This next one isn’t about a place, but of my all-time favorite ghost story; it’s the story about the baby with teeth. The tale takes place in Corozal around the last century, where a man on horseback crosses the bridge Mavillas around midnight when he hears the cries of a baby. He lowers himself from the horse with the intent of helping the crying infant. When he finds the baby, the man presumes that his/her cries are because of hunger so he decides to wet some bread he had on him. When he rises the bread for the child to eat, he finds the baby had a full set of sharp teeth. Upon his discovery, the baby begins to laugh demonically, making the man drop him and run away. It’s said that sometimes you can still hear the cries if you cross the bridge when the moon is high on the sky. Would you dare to find out?
Our next stop happens to be right when you enter the capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan:the Normandie Hotel. This historic hotel was built for Lucienne Dhotelle, famous French singer and wife to Puerto Rican engineer Felix Benítez Rexach in the form of the transatlantic vessel, SS Normandie, were the two had met and fallen in love. The architecture of the famous hotel was done to resemble said ship as a gift to his wife and to the people of Puerto Rico, opening its doors in 1942. The hotel closed on and off throughout the decades, coming to a definite closure in 2008. Many security guards confirm the paranormal activity going on in the hotel, from shadow people and apparitions to singing and screams, letting us know that this historical place has many stories to tell. One of its most famous ghost stories is about a woman who committed suicide in the hotel and there are accounts of her spirit still residing in the halls of the Normandie.
(Puerto Rico Historic Buildings Drawings Society)
We’re only scratching the surface here. Puerto Rico with its rich history has more than its fair share of ghost stories. We can only hope the tormented spirits find rest and peace in the afterlife.
Do you have any spooky stories to tell?