The Haunted Hill of Pachalum
Between Pachalum and the ruins of Mixco Viejo, the Río Motagua traverses forested hillsides and fields. One of these hills, Cerro Potosí, is thought by locals to be haunted. Townsfolk ascribe a number of mysteries to this seemingly innocuous hill, including the presence of animals seen but never heard, an airplane crash for which wreckage was never found, and the seeming disappearance of people who walk into the mountain’s forests.
One of the most popular tales is that of a woman who decided to take a shortcut across the mountain while walking to her village, never to be heard from again. Family members and neighbors sent a search party but found nothing. Townsfolk also tell of a plane crash many years ago, clearly taking place on the mountain. When they went looking for the wreckage, there were no signs of the plane or its passengers. Although the hill is not very densely forested and is covered mostly in scrub forest, locals often hear the sounds of turkeys, dogs, and roosters coming from the mountain. Some local hunters have even been lured into its expanses looking for animals they hear but can never find.
The secret to the origins of the strange happenings on this mysterious mountain may lie buried with its former landowner, Don Serbando Rosales, a wealthy man from Pachalum who is said to have worn only white and to have ridden only white horses. He was seen every Friday evening, villagers say, carrying a black chicken up the side of the mountain. Townsfolk also say black birds made of smoke flew over his house 40 days after he was buried and that during Rosales’s burial, astonished funeral-goers realized he was no longer in his coffin.
Similar legends abound throughout Guatemala, a country with a long tradition of supernatural mystery, magic, and folklore.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com