Lair of the Beasts: A Monster among the Graves (Mania.com)
Date: Friday, October 05, 2012
A cemetery in Guadalajara, Mexico that is noted for its highly decorative architecture, pillared buildings, elegant tombs and spacious, tree-enveloped grounds, Panteon de Belen was built in 1848 and closed its doors four years before the dawning of the twentieth century. But, that hasn’t stopped its residents from being highly active – which is somewhat notable since each and every one of them is, of course, quite dead!
Not only that: Panteon de Belen can boast of being home to more ghosts, ghouls and fiends of the night than pretty much any other cemetery in Mexico – and quite possibly even the world, too. That same body of supernatural entities includes just about everything from pirates to bloodthirsty, undead vampires, and spectral hounds to a ghostly, shrieking nun.
And, of relevance to my Lair of the Beasts columns, Panteon de Belen is the home of a flying, winged monster.
Such is the interest and fascination in the strange things of Panteon de Belen, that guided tours of the cemetery have become incredibly popular, and particularly so – and certainly most appropriately - during the course of the Mexican holiday of November 1-2: Day of the Dead. And, now, you shall see exactly why.
There can surely be very few people reading this book who have not at least heard of the legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, that so terrorized the town and its surrounding areas between November 1966 and December 1967.
The enigmatic exploits of this glowing eyed, gargoyle-like beast were chronicled in the 2002 hit Hollywood movie starring Richard Gere: The Mothman Prophecies that was so named after the monumentally mysterious and entertaining book of the same title written by the Mothman authority, the near legendary John Keel.
It might justifiably be said that, in March 2008, the Mothman headed for pastures new. Yes, none other than Panteon de Belen. The witness, Blanca Ramirez, was on vacation in Guadalajara, and had heard a legend that, as a fan of all things of a pirate-based nature, fascinated her.
Local storytellers say that back in the late 1700s an infamous swashbuckler of the seas - whose daily ritual, for years, had been to plunder and steal gold, silver and all manner of riches and bounty from just about anyone and everyone else sailing the oceans – finally retired to the city, and spent some of his vast wealth on a splendid, lavish home near the cemetery.
His time, however, was short. It wasn’t long at all before the old man went from being a neighbor, to a resident, of Panteon de Belen and took to the grave with him the secret of where he stashed the remainder of his priceless plunder.
But, for those would-be treasure hunters out there, Guadalajara lore says that if you visit the cemetery at midnight, light a candle, and pray that his soul will be free of punishment and torment for his actions in his physical life, the old man of the sea will appear before you and whisper in your ear the secret location of his priceless booty.
Unfortunately, so the tale also goes, within minutes the priceless information will forever fade from your mind and you will always be cursed with the knowledge that you came so close to having all your money worries solved in an instant.
One suspects, however, that Blanca Ramirez got far more than she ever bargained for when she visited the cemetery in search of the paranormal pirate. According to Ramirez, while walking around none other than the legendary tree of the vampire she caught brief sight of a hideous figure gliding overhead at a perilously low level.
It was a large, dark-colored, winged man whose glowing red eyes fixed firmly and icily on Ramirez for what was only an instant but that felt like a lifetime. Paralyzed with fear, she could do nothing but stare in a state of shock and terror as the beast suddenly soared into the sky at a phenomenally rapid rate and vanished into the thick, swirling clouds that hung, broodingly, over the length and breadth of the sinister cemetery.
Mothman on the move, perhaps…?
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including the forthcoming Monster Diary.