Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Birkdale, Southport is in my home county of Lancashire and once had a luxury hotel that opened in 1866, was then demolished in 1969. During the Second World War it was used for US airmen as a rehabilitation centre, for that stage of it’s existence it was used as a film location.

It entered the interest for paranormal enthusiasts when a report came up 6th May, 1969 in the Southport Visitor. A group of demolition workers claimed that the lift at the Old Palace Hotel was haunted. Jos Smith was heading up the demolition team and said that they had been woken up there by eerie voices and strange noises at night, and even more frightening the lift began to work by itself.

The lift’s power had been cut, the brakes were on and yet the four ton metal box continued to go up and down as it did when the building was operational. It was enough to unnerve hard workmen, worried by the lifts working they disabled it and cut the ties, they were then more concerned because it did not drop as it should have. In the end they hammered it on until it finally tell from the third floor.

The workmen had heard voices, the sounds of arguments and footsteps, they didn’t rule out that it could be down to people breaking in, but it would no doubt have been strange to hear. Southport Police also arrived one night as they’d received a call from a woman saying she was trapped inside. The police arrived to find that the phone-lines had been cut a significant time before then.

An urban legend about a ghost also came from the hotel, Ursula Wall was the architect and it is said she was on holiday when the foundations were laid back to front and therefore the hotel. Having seen the error she was so distraught she committed suicide, leaping down the lift shaft. It is however one of a few legends around her death and so not really confirmed.

There are other stories linked to the building, in 1961 Amanda Jane Graham was abducted by a hotel porter. The 6-year-old was murdered and found under his bed at the hotel. There is a rumour too about two sisters who carried out a suicide pact, and 14 deceased lifeboat men were temporarily laid out in its coach house. All these stories helped add to the haunted rumours.

The only surviving part id the coach house were the lifeboat men had been laid out to rest. The pub (as it now is) is called Fisherman’s Rest in their memory. It is also reportedly haunted and people have said that they feel as though they are being watched.

9th December, 1886, a sailing ship, Mexico was driven ashore and the bodies of their fellow crewmen were viewed at the pub by the jury. Now the lost men are touchingly recalled by 14 small brass mermaids that hold the bar handrail in place.

1866, Palace Hotel, Southport. North-East View From Birkdale Park.png
By JonmaddoxukOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

 

In Guerrero State, Mexico there is Iguala, and has become better known for a mystery than the peaceful rural life. In September, 2014, 43 students suddenly went missing. The students had travelled by busy from a teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa to state a protest, where the mayor’s wife was speaking. It is said that at some point the police had them at gunpoint on the edge of the city under the mayor’s orders. José Luis Abarca Velázquez then went into hiding along with his wife and the police chief, the mayor and his wife were caught a few weeks later.

On that day two students and three bystanders were killed when the police confronted the students, the shooting then strafed across nearby buildings with their bullets. Supposedly the students were handed over to a local cartel, the Guerreros Unidos. The next day the body of one of the students was dumped in the streets of Iguala, his skin had been removed from his face. The people and local government security forces have been combing the local area trying to find them. During this they have uncovered a number of mass graves and it serves as a horrific reminder about how routine murders appear to have become.

The local mountains around Iguala are locally referred to as a graveyard, and sadly the students have not been located. All around the area there are pictures, placards and posters trying to locate the missing students. The 43 missing students have come to stand for the tens of thousands of other people that have lost their lives in the ongoing Mexican drug wars. It also stands for some as a poignant statement about the lack of government accountability.

It has meant that the governor of Guerrero has been forced to resign, 80 people with over half of those being police have been arrested. There are few signs that the protests will die down any time soon, and when the police started to crack down on the harder protesters this incited further anger. The result is that Iguala now looks like the aftermath of a warzone, and vigilantes patrol the streets looking for the missing, the military and federal police are constantly circling the town’s streets.

Not far away from Iguala in Ayotzinapa the family members have turned the classrooms into communal sleeping areas, there they have a banner over the schools entrance demanding justice. There is an impromptu memorial that was photographed by a blogger that visited, it consists of 46 orange chairs, for those missing and those confirmed as dead.

Hilda Legideño Vargas is one of those with a missing son; he was on his way to Iguala and said he would text on his way home. The text and her son never came and like many she is left with a hole in her life where her son should be, or at the very least some answers…

In September, 2015 after a six month investigation led by a panel of experts assembled by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released its results. They came to the conclusion that the claim from the Government about them being killed in a garbage dump, having been mistaken for a drug gang, was ‘scientifically impossible’ given the settings of the situation. There are some others that say, however, that this investigation had shortcomings and feel that this explanation is plausible. So the response is that the government will carry out a new investigation and take further opinions about what happened to the students the night they were presumably killed.

350px
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44238005

This has come up a few time as one of the creepiest places on Earth, so what is the story? The island is located on an ancient Mexican canal series, known as part of a set of Chinampas on the Xochimilco canals.

Chinampas were created along rivers, they are artificial agricultural plots made by rafts that were covered in soil and had crops planted on them. They were tied to juniper trees and as they sank morby we’re built in too, eventually repeatedly doing this would form a sort of rectangular island. They were an important part of the Aztec’s commerce and trade.

The remaining chimampa’s are part of the site and one of them belonged to Julian Santanna Barrera. He was a loner, who came to fame by collecting various broken dolls from the canals and rubbish tips. He would hang the dolls on the branches or tie them to tree trunks in order to keep away evil spirits and to appease the spirit of a dead girl he had found.

Santanna Barrera believed the dolls were ‘alive’ and a night it’s said they walk around the island, killing animals, and no doubt assisted in keeping unwanted intruders from entering the area.

His story however did attract the local media, when the island and its resident were discovered. He began to get more people visiting, and for a loner this may have been unwelcome attention.

Santanna Barrera died in 2001 and this created speculation on how. Some rumours say he went insane and drowned himself and others that the dolls came alive and killed him.

Recently I watched The River and the first episode appeared to lift these tales and twist them. His island can still be visited today and you can see pictures as well as information about here – http://www.isladelasmunecas.com

What a strange tourist attraction this is… basically the local people who did not keep the yearly payments up on their graves were going to have the bodies dug up and the grave reused.  There are 119 mummies on display.

The soil properties, the dry climate and time appear to have naturally mummified the bodies and in some cases their clothing. The bodies were put on display at “El Museo de las Momias” and are those buried during a cholera outbreak, it is possible that has contributed to their state.

The bodies were from people that had died between 1865 and 1958. The law stated that the graves had to have a yearly payment but around 90%  of the bodies had to be desinterred due to non paymemt, around 2% of them naturally mummified. A law stopped the practise in 1958 but the original mummies were moved into the museum so people can pay to see them.

It’s not something for the faint of heart, I would advise before clicking on the video that you take into consideration there are some children and other subjects in there that may be upsetting.

Due to the spread of the disease and epidemic of cholera the dead were buried quickly, unfortunately some of these bodies were buried alive.  The museum is a bit of a creepy place but as with all things I find, it peaked my curiosity. One of the things I did find interesting is that the original Nosferatu film maker Werner Herzog took movies of them to assist him with the authenticity of the film!

Perhaps more terrifying than the original mummy video – a song by Toyah Wilcox devoted to it!