There is no difficulty in finding a collection of spirits in city

A short walk might raise the hair in north San José. A.M. Costa Rica graphic

Late October is when expats all gather around the computer screen for scary stories.

Costa Rica is ripe for good ghost tales because the land has been inhabited for hundreds of generations, mostly before Columbus.

The nature of ghosts is that they generally hang around a small area. Hence the same fantasmas will show up frequently in the same place.

That is why there is a place not far from Hospital Calderón Guardia that has a lot of nocturnal activities. The site is on a small hill overlooking the Rio Torres. The spot was ideal for a prosperous native village until the massacre.

The Spanish had no monopoly on bloody acts. Human nature is basically the same, and a prosperous village is an ideal target. To avoid retaliation, the raiders would have to kill everyone, including the dogs. They did. And they left the bodies for the birds.

Clearly the spirits, victims of a horrible crime and uncivilized treatment of their bodies, have been bad neighbors. Now it seems that a developer is going to build a high rise on the site of their massacre. Somehow the spirits understand this and do not like it.

Fuerza Pública officers do not walk in this area alone. An occasional bum suddenly finds religion when the hairs rise on his neck and he senses a presence.

There is a house not far away that is supposed to be haunted. On a ghostly scale of one to 10 that house is about a one to the former village’s 10.

Send a few surveyors onto the overgrown site or have a soil engineer drill a few test holes, and the night air will be filled with the unexplained.

Of course no one likes to talk about this, and certainly not the project developer.

The history of strange events in this area date back into the 19th century, and more than one priest has been called to dash holy water onto the ground and command the spirits away. Too bad most of the fantasmas are not Catholic.

The Bible verifies the existence of the Devil, and some religious persons affirm that the ghosts and goblins are nothing more than the Devil’s associates. Instead it is possible that there are places on the earth where an odd energy exists.

In the Old and New worlds Christian bishops ordered churches to be erected on places that were considered holy or highly spiritual by Pagans and natives. The same in the New World. México is a great example where Catholic officials deliberately appropriated lands that were once sites of temples and pyramids.

The archaeology of Costa Rica is less monumental, but certainly there were religious sites and temples, although not made of enduring limestone.

Not all the apparitions in north San José are Native Costa Ricans. There are reports of persons dressed in Colonial garb and 18th century high-collared dresses. All appear to be otherwise occupied and hardly ever interact with live humans. Hardly anyone in the area does not have a chilling story about moving furniture, sounds in the night and footsteps.

Even in a modern office building just a block away the guards complain about the footsteps of women in the night. The multi-story structure is concrete and steel. The unexpected feet appear to be wearing high heels. The building is locked tight. None of the guards has volunteered to investigate the sounds on the upper floors. And when the sounds begin to descend, the guards are otherwise occupied in their enclosed office.

That these events have taken place is beyond dispute or maybe this is just an amusing Halloween tale. The days of All Saints and All Souls provide a reason to discuss these events. But the manifestations have no calendar. And readers are invited to submit their own theories after they have walked at dusk a few hundred meters along the east side of Parque Simón Bolívar as the road winds west and south from the Fuerza Pública police station in Barrio Otoya.

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