I have always been somewhat sceptical about ghosts. It all began while I was working at the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) over the summer. I was helping in creative writing workshops with Peter Blegvad and the poet, Julie Boden. One day a ghost hunter came to talk to the teenagers and later we went to visit Guy's Cliffe House near Leamington, which is an old abandoned house now owned by the masons. Julie Boden went down into the caves under the house and later she told us that she was convinced that the place is haunted. At first, I admit that I was shocked that people like Julie, Simon the ghost hunter and others from the paranormal society who work at the house believed in ghosts. I have always been very rational and sceptical about such things, but perhaps it was this experience which planted a seed of doubt in my mind and contributed to my experiences here in San Cristobal.
The first hotel that we stayed in was called Casa Magarita. We had a room up in the eaves of a large colonial building set on a courtyard. The room had an imposing wooden door that faced onto the bed. I was woken up in the night by terrible nightmares and I felt convinced that there was something uneasy about the room. We moved the next day.
I have been having Spanish classes here in San Cristobal and my teacher Eduardo told me that it is thought that there are many ghosts in San Cristobal. Eduardo said that in that very school there was thought to be the ghost of a small boy who had been murdered there years before.
For one night, we stayed at the museum, Na Bolom , which was once the house of Gertrude Duby Blom, the journalist and photographer. That night we went up to our room, locked the door and sat by the fire. All of a sudden the locked door swung open. We shut it and sat again by the fire which had begun to blaze brightly with incredible heat. The next morning we told the staff at Na Bolom of the night's happenings. Pepe told us that the room where we were staying had used to be Trudy's office and that another woman who had stayed there had also had a strange experience. The guest had been sitting at the window looking down at the beautiful gardens of Na Bolom when she saw an elderly lady looking up at her drinking a cup of tea.
All this is probably heresay and perhaps it is superstition or fear or hope that produces such desires. The men from the paranormal society told me that the walls of old houses contain the same chemicals as those in a video tape and some people believe that the rooms record events from the past. It is more likely that it is us who summon the past, but in San Cristobal, this can be dangerous.