Monday, October 27, 2008

More Scary Legends from the Field

In honor of Halloween, we’ve asked our Communications Coordinators to send us spooky legends from their countries that have been scaring generation after generation. Javier Cárcamo, Communications Coordinator in Rural Guatemala, brings you the first in a series of frightening and mysterious tales:


Hundreds of years ago in colonial times, a beautiful woman came to the quiet streets of Antigua Guatemala. Her long black hair and big eyes caught the attention of all the neighbors, but nobody knew her or why she was living alone in that old house.

Shortly thereafter she introduced herself as Manuelita, and her reputation as a witch and healer grew. Her remedies were very effective and the people would see her gathering herbs and colored candles to carry out her rituals.

Despite her success as a healer, one of her clients went to the Governor and accused her of witchcraft and casting curses. Because of this accusation, she was put on trial in the Court of the Holy Inquisition, and sentenced to burn alive in the town’s central square. She was taken to the jail as she waited for her punishment, but as Christmas was nearing, her execution was postponed until the first week of January.

Despite her imprisonment the beautiful woman did not show any signs of anxiety, and on the night of December 24, Manuelita humbly begged the prison guard for one last favor. She asked for a piece of coal. Touched by the sadness in the woman’s eyes, the prison guard could not refuse her request, and he handed her a small lump of coal.

As legend goes, Manuelita took the coal and, murmuring secret conjurations, she drew a ship on the wall. Mysteriously, she boarded the ship and sailed between the bars of her cell, leaving nothing behind except the drawing of the ship on the wall...

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