Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Welcome to Panteon Belen, Guadalajara’s ancient, haunted cemetery. Actually, aren’t all cemeteries haunted? I’d think so. On Halloween we walked up to this old cemetery in the morning, and spent a few hours among the graves, trees, crypts and place. It was quite a hub outside for tickets to the sold-out guided tours and night time shows, but once inside the tall walls (the walls themselves actually hold 900 bodies), it was quiet and serene, and really lovely.
This place is packed with history and stories…I particularly like the story with this grave….
The tree you see here actually grows from the stake that was driven through the vampire’s heart to kill him, and buried here. Look carefully and you can see the roots growing in and out and around and over the grave, slinking it’s way through everything. They say that if you cut the tree’s branches it drips blood instead of sap.
Another grave is a child’s, and the story goes that he was scared of the dark. When he was buried, the caretaker would return every morning to discover his grave open to the sky, and every day, he would replace the cover. After awhile, they decided to just leave it open. Even after death the poor little boy was scared of the dark.
Since we were there during Day of the Dead, we returned in the evening to attend a special show. The walkways were lit with candles, the sun was setting, and the mood was particularly spooky. The performance was a one-woman show, featuring her as Death. It’s not as morbid as it sounds. Actually, none of this is as morbid as it sounds because in Mexico, death is not taboo or feared or talked about in whispers. It’s celebrated, honored, and respected. AdRi had to translate most of it to me afterwards, but it was a cool performance and the small 40-50 person audience wildly loved it.
This is how different our cultures are when it comes to death…there were several girls having their professional portraits taken for their Quinceanera. It produced one of my favorite photos from the trip…
To see more photos from this beautiful place, visit my set of photos .
Sidenote: I realized during this trip that for some reason, I seem to travel a lot during this time of year. In the past 5 years, I've now spent Halloween in a mexican cemetery, Chicago's Logan Square huge Halloween performance art gathering, the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, and a candle-lit tour of a historic and haunted Western Australia prison built by inmates. I think this proves I'm a freak.
Posted by LeLo at Wednesday, November 09, 2005