Well, my prediction is that this Post might just be one of the more, if not the most, unusual stories included in this blog. Primarily because the very nature of it is mystifying and heebie jeebie, goosebump, hairs standing on the back of my neck, inducing. It also involves an incomprehensible scenario for me to completely wrap my mind around. However, it is yet another important, impressionable, and unforgettable part of our journey and therefore I think this documentation is for better or worse an obligatory duty in this blog.
We currently live in a house nestled in a beautiful condominium neighborhood outside of Valdivia, found while traveling on the Rut del Mar (Road to the Ocean). Out of the back of the house we see beautiful green hills, bordering on mountain height, often times with fog rolling down the sides in the most enchanting fashion. If you walk out our front door and travel roughly 500 yards, you will find yourself at the river bank, covered in cattails and black neck, or “Cuello Negro” ducks. The entire landscape is untouched, natural, and breathtaking.
Our neighborhood is gated and is composed of roughly 100 houses, considered “condominios” but are individual, detached houses with their own yards. All are made of wood, most appearing to be a dark or cherry color. There are 2 parks, a soccer field, a little stream, an indoor tennis court and a club house right on the river with river access, which can be used to host parties. Most families have children, many of whom are in our children’s age range, and for the most part everyone is on the lookout for children as they drive through. All in all, this neighborhood felt, and continues to feel, perfect for our family….safe, beautiful, and home to many lovely people.
I understand our house to be one of the first when the neighborhood was built, but even that would only make it about 9 years old.
A few months ago, our Nana Rosa informed me that she has certain clairvoyant abilities, among them the ability to sense and often see those that have passed, as well as touch a person and know much about them, including if they are sick. Apparently, both of her children inherited the gift, and her son was actually asked by the University in Santiago to be a “test subject”, so to speak. An offer he probably smartly refused. Because of her gift, she also is frequently sought out here in Valdivia for help with hauntings and negative emotional residue in buildings, including at some well known restaurants. However, she never accepts payment, and if she feels the work is being done for the purpose of making money rather than generally helping the country or its people, she’ll terminate her work. Now, I want to make sure to emphasize that my understanding of what she tells me is deciphered through a partially clogged filter of “no entiendo-ing” a lot of Spanish still…particularly parts of the SUPER fast Espanol that is spoken here. However, being here 6 months I am usually able to glean the meat of a conversation…have those parts that I need to translated…and cross my fingers that the rest are unimportant fillers.
In any event, she informed me that this house has a “bad energy”, or “mala energia”, which she attributed as the cause of any and all of our troubles, (things in the house breaking, 2 kids in the hospital, no cell phone service in the house…). She also relayed that she had been hearing footsteps and doors closing. (We had not). At that time, she did not know precisely what the bad energy was, but concluded it was a spirit, and was probably one of the following; (1) The former owner who had died in the house (of which we do not know the story); (2) That this neighborhood was built on the site of a concentration camp, run during the Pinochet dictatorship era in the 1970’s and 1980’s and the site of the torturing and murder of many Chileans who were Anti-Communist; or to (3) The fact that Valdivia was a world reknown military camp during the colonization, and a great deal of violence and massacre occurred here between Spain and the native Mapuche tribe.
Wow, I thought. Only all that, huh?
My reaction probably looked something like this:
However, when I called and informed my husband about the fact that we were living in a HAUNTED HOUSE, I would venture to guess his expression looked something like this:
Now, I want to emphasize that this area is one of the most beautiful places I have been, and whatever violence took place in the past in no way reflects the country or its people that I have met while here. In fact, I would like to emphasize NOW and VERY STRONGLY that while there are dark time in Chile’s history, (as with many countries histories) it is LONG in the past. Chile is currently a republic, governed by a democratic form of government modeled much after the United States, and feels just as safe and peaceful, if not more so, than the United States.
And so, with this initial conversation I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a tad freaked, and really did not particularly enjoy walking through the house in the dark there for awhile.
And so time passed, fears abated and life went on as usual.Though I didn’t always see her, I know Rosa flung Holy Water at the corners in our rooms, probably about once a week. She also hung crosses in every room and blessed the children every day before leaving. Everything remained calm. There were no strange occurrences, no bumps in the night…nothing. Later, she would say this is because with her gifts she has a certain “white light”, and that with that she is able to “protect” the house and our children.
And then we spent just over 2 weeks in the United States. And during that time frame she only worked a handful of days for us.
And then, within a few days of our return, the kids had similar nightmares, in the same night.
A few days after returning, Greyson woke up in the morning and informed me that a man he calls “Scratch” came to his bed in the night and pressed on his chest, making it difficult for him to breath. When I asked him to show me where Scratch was in his room, upon entering the room he whispered, “Scratch is here, in the corner,” and ran out.
That same day, Maddie told me she had a dream that a man came to her and pushed her under water, making it hard for her to breath.
Okay, I am fully cognizant that this is not just possibly, but probably the result of bad dreams and nothing more. I’m a realist, and my kids have had bad dreams before. That said, it stirred up fears that had long since subsided and I decided to mention it to Rosa to gather her thoughts on the situation.
Malo, malo, malo….was her response. No bueno. Bad, no good. She then proceeded to tell me that the energy has become stronger and worse. And that while we were in the United States, she came to our house one day and the upstairs windows were wide open, (despite the fact they were locked shut) and that although it had been raining there was not a drop of water in the house. When windows open, she explained, it is a sign the spirit entered the house.
We have also had several birds fly into our windows repeatedly, on a daily basis. At first, we thought it was pretty hilarious, and fun for the kids to watch. The birds were fine, just “bird brained”, we thought. That was, until Rosa explained that that is a sign there is a bad spirit, or energy in the house.
And so, she recommended what is called in most Latin American countries a Limpieza, Limpia, or Cleaning of Bad Spirits or Energy in a house. Apparently, these are done to both rid a house of bad spirits and negative emotional vibrations that can remain with a house for a long period of time. For instance, if there is fear, anger, jealousy, etc., these vibrations remain with a house for longer than the positive emotions. They leave an “emotional residue.” She recommended that I purchase Ruda, a type of herb that is burned, or smudged, so that the smoke can float around the house to clean and purify it of the bad spirits, and that she would perform the Limipeza for us.
And so, off I went to the local Farmacia de Hierbs for Ruda. Ruda is a plant said to attract love and peace. It is widely accepted by the people of South America as extremely powerful and protective. It is also quite frequently used in Africa and Europe, particularly Italy, for protection. When I explained what I was looking for to the pharmacist, without hesitation she handed me a bag of Ruda, as well as a “kit” for smudging the home.
At that same time, the only other customer in the pharmacy explained to me how to burn the Ruda over charcoal, and went ahead and picked herself up a bag as well.
Hmmmmmm, apparently this is nothing new or unusual?
Upon my return, Rosa explained that the kids should not be in the house during the Limpieza. So unfortunately, as much as I would love to see how this works, I begrudgingly bundled the kids up and we headed out for play time in the neighborhood park and soccer field.
While at the park roughly an hour later, (all of 150 yards from our house), Rosa ran over, drenched in sweat, pale, and seemingly exhausted.
She explained that it was over. As a part of the Limpieza ritual, she later informed me that she would initially sit in a yoga prayer pose, say a prayer, stand up and turn in a circle three times, perform the sign of the cross, and then proceed to burn the Ruda and carry it through each room, repeating the affirmation, “Dear God, banish all evil spirits and energies from this house, and bless this Home with your pure white light of love and protection.” It is important to make sure the smoke rolls across every wall, doorway, window and piece of furniture. She then opens a window to release the spirit from the house. She informed me that the bad energy was a very strong, very bad energy, and that it completely took it out of her. That as a part of a Limpieza, she absorbed much of the bad energy, which is physically incredibly difficult. Later, she showed me the pan that she burned the Ruda in, and pointed out several dark circles that had become visible on the surface. These, she says, are proof that there is evil energy in the house.
In any event, I entered the house following the Limpieza and the smell of incense was incredibly powerful…musky and sweet. I actually quite liked it. She wanted the kids and I to inhale it and let it “cleanse” us as well.
And so, as the final step to the Limpieza, Rosa instructed me to light a white candle in the early morning hours, before everyone awoke, let it burn for 7 minutes, and then extinguish the flame with my fingers, not my breath. Apparently, the white candle signifies purification and cleansing, the 7 minutes is a spirtual number and the flame cannot be extinguished by breath because the force of the breath conflicts with the desired effect of the flames force.
But, of course I did it! This momma did not want to be the reason for a faulty Limpieza, and really, what harm could it do, right? Other than FREAKING ME OUT!
As I crept out of our room in the dark, quite house, I half expected some horribly scary “occurrence” to prevent me from doing my part…I don’t know, a fall down the stairs or the roof falling on my head? Gosh, I have expected it as I’m writing this! But alas and thankfully, there was nothing. I went about my candle burning with the hairs standing on the back of my neck the entire time, and booked it out of that room and back into bed as fast as my legs could carry me when it was complete!
Rosa also had her own interesting experience that night. She returned the next morning, looking quite tired.
He visited me last night, she explained. The former owner of this house. That is who it is.
She went on to explain that while laying in her bed, a man came to her with glasses and a beard. He approached her, touched her chest, and then disappeared. She knows it to be the former owner of this house, whom she had met one time many years ago.
Apparently he was in the military for the Pinochet dictatorship. She informed me that even when she met him years ago, he had a very strong, very bad energy.
And the strange part is, I have been given no reason to distrust her in the least, only to trust her very much, during our time together. Everything about her, her mannerisms, communication, decisions, have shown her only to be incredibly honest. She doesn’t brag about her “gift”, or really mention it much at all. And she doesn’t seem to want to use it too frequently, only for what she sees are reasons out of love, or helping the poor. She doesn’t want money, or favors for it. I absolutely believe that she believes in what she is doing. Of course, this doesn’t mean I totally buy all of it yet, but, I am also not totally discounting it. If nothing else, it is intriguing to me and I hope to learn more as my ability to communicate improves.
So that brings us to present. We have had no issues. Everything has been calm, peaceful, wonderful. Rosa and I honestly don’t even talk about it.
But I know that someday soon, she’ll want to do another Limpieza, as she states it will take 3 to complete the process. And who knows what fun those will bring?
We don’t feel fear in this house. We’ve been very happy with the neighborhood. If that should change….if I start hearing bumps in the night or footsteps, I can assure you I wouldn’t last much longer in this house. But for now, this house has worked wonderfully, the neighborhood is everything we could ask for, and the kids are happy. And so for now, we stay (-:
And in the meantime, we are to continue with our Limpiezas, and have also been instructed to engage in other spiritual tricks of the trade to eliminate bad energy in our home. As one example, we are apparently supposed to wear undershirts constantly, as this “barrier” to our skin prevents the bad energy from passing from one person’s touch to us. Another involves the placing of a glass of water next to our beds through the entire night ,every night. This water is thought to absorb all of the bad energy that surrounds us, and in the morning we are to dump them out as an act of ridding ourselves of the bad energy. If we think we have had a particularly bad day, we are supposed to sprinkle a bit of salt in the water. And finally, if there is a particular person or child we want to pray for, we are to go to the church and make a donation in the name of a sick or poor child in an amount with the number 7 in it (usually 700 pesos). While all of these are again, interesting, quite frankly, if we have water next to our beds these days, it is for drinking. The undershirt thing I usually do anyway. We’ve done the Limpieza, at this point I can’t say I’m going to go as far as to do the rest of this.
Quite interesting, isn’t it? To date, it does seem to me that perhaps in general the culture here is one wherein it is more normal and acceptable, if not expected, that a bad energy or spirit could be causing your problems, or the reason for oddities in the home and that cleanses of the house are just included in the list of normal house maintenance.
Yet, who is to say that they are completely wrong? Not me for one. I certainly am no expert on the manner, but only time will tell how much more exposure we get to this strange phenomenon.
And then oddly, the other night I turned on the television show Taboo, one I have always enjoyed but had not seen in the longest time. And who would’ve guessed but this very episode was about Limpias in Latin American countries, except it was more focused on the types done to a person who is having troubles in their life. Who knows, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to experience this as well?
If anyone has any further questions about any of this-let me know! I’m more than happy to ask! And I suppose in the meantime, stay tuned on this matter, although, quite frankly I hope I never have to post about it again.