Modern life has not been kind to country’s ghosts

Life has been tough for Costa Rica’s ghosts and goblins as they try to put on good faces (for those who have them) because Halloween is approaching. Costa Rica has a number of ghosts who date from the late 18th and 19th centuries. Modern life has treated them poorly.

For example, there is the carreta sin bueyes. This is the oxcart and its condemned driver who prowl through the streets of San José making that distinctive sound ox carts make. There are several versions of the legend, but one says the ox cart driver had a dispute with a priest. The driver tried to invade a church with his cart and bueyes or oxen. The oxen, not being sinners, refused to enter the church. For his sin, the driver for eternity must travel the streets at night scaring passersby.

That is until the carreta sin bueyes got broadsided by giant rocks and tons of dirt in another landslide at the Autopista del Sol. The oxcart has not been seen since.

There’s a good chance the ghostly oxcart propelled by the Devil’s hand is off mending itself. Not so for El Cadejos, the big, black scary phantom dog bedecked with chains. The dog was once a boy who was turned into a beast because of his alcoholic excesses. He roams the street at night presumably to carry off other drunks to a fiery pit.

The nightly excursions were cut short when animal rights activists from Heredia caught, vaccinated and castrated the poor creature, who ended up whimpering in dark corners. That was before the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the child services agency known for its excesses, found out the creature was once a boy and slapped him into a foster home center where the hellish beast is far outclassed by the teen criminals who run the place. Naturally there are a flurry of Sala IV appeals pending.

Another denizen of the dark is La Segua, a beautiful woman who roams the night in the Central Valley trying to tempt men. The would-be Don Juans who fall for her charms suddenly are shaken into reality when the lass transforms into an an angry horseface with flaming eyes and flashing teeth.

She’s not so pretty now. A group of downtown transvestites caught up with her, mistook her for competition and gave her an unearthly pounding.

A happier fate awaiting La Llorona. That’s the very vocal weeping lady who is condemned for aborting her lover’s child. Someone told her about women’s rights, and now she weeps no more and goes to meetings.

Progress has had its way with physical locations, too. Escazú is well known as the city of witches, and its inhabitants relish that distinction.

The problem is that there are so many condos there now, there are reports of the local witches bouncing from wall to wall because their brooms just cannot make the altitude.

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