In Mexico, as in many other countries, we enjoy ghost stories. The sensation of goose bumps from an icy wind wrapping around one’s neck while such stories are being told is fascinating for many people. There is no better moment for myths to come alive than the paranormal environment surrounding Mexico’s traditional Day of the Dead.
Many of the stories told throughout Mexico come from colonial days and from centuries past. They are very common, having to do with cemeteries, forbidden love, children ill from a variety of diseases who then weaken and pass away, or those combining ghost stories with nahauls (warlocks or metamorphic creatures able to change their physical form – though depending on MesoAmerican traditions, these may have different characteristics). For this very reason there are parts of the country that lend themselves to legends more than others, such as in Morelia or Guanajuato where various ghosts and spirits hide within the large homes and narrow alley ways, just preparing for an ambush.
Yet all cities have their stories; legends passed down from generation to generation, tales told through nights of pajama parties and camp outs. There are hair raising stories that if told by day would not have the same effect, and then seem to change bit by bit as they are retold, and of course depending on where one lives. For example, stories of the famous Llorona have made their way throughout all of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.
Sonora has its own legends and Puerto Peñasco holds its own. So, in commemoration of the upcoming Dia de los Muertos and spooky days in general, I asked around and heard a few of these tales. Here are two of the more popular stories.
The highway between Sonoyta – Puerto Peñasco
It is said an image of a young woman often appears just before the most pronounced curve along the highway, precisely around the bridge nearing the entrance to the Pinacate Reserve. As the story is told, the woman appears to be standing next to the highway and making typical signals as if asking for a ride. Yet, when the driver stops there is no one there. Once the driver returns to the highway, the rear view mirror reveals the woman sitting in the back seat. Curiously, the retelling of this story also often includes the figure of an old woman.
Some people say the woman then begins to tell you her story, which you should not interrupt, acting all the while as if you had picked up just anyone, until she ends and then disappears. If one acts to the contrary, the woman gets angry and spontaneously yells, which can lead to accidents. The other version says that once in the car, the image in the rear view mirror is so horrific that this leads to crashes around the same bend in the road where the woman lost her life.
El Hotel la Roca
It is said the ghost of Al Capone haunts this small hotel in the Old Port as it was one of his favorite spots to visit (some even hold onto the idea that Capone was nearly one of the founders of Rocky Point). If you happen to stay at La Roca and hear dominoes or laughter, or perhaps sense a faint hint of cigar and yet see no one you can image who the guilty party may be.
Obviously these stories are just myths that people tell, and I’ve just jotted them down after hearing them. Whether they are true or not, no one knows. Yet as my favorite grandmother used to say “if the river makes noise, it’s because there’s water there.”
Have you heard other ghost stories from around Puerto Peñasco? Why not share one with us?