March 4, 2009

Ghost Towns and Gypsy Curses

After a wonderful 3-week visit, David's parents flew back to the United States yesterday.  It was tough saying goodbye and we're all going to miss them. We did a lot interesting things during their time here.  We went to the beach, visited an oasis, saw 1,000 year old hieroglyphics, and explored an abandoned ghost town.  The biggest event, however, was Joshua's baptism on March 1st.  We'll tell you all about the baptism in a future post, but for now we thought we'd tell you about a funny little incident that happened during our trip to the ghost town of Humberstone.

On our way to the abandoned mining town we stopped at a gas station.  As David was pumping air into the tires, a gypsy woman carrying a bare-bottomed toddler approached the car.  Unsurprisingly, she began asking David's dad for money.  David's dad promptly used one of his favorite Spanish expressions, "No español!".  She then replied with the only English phrase she probably knew "Money!" (which came out sounding like Mow-knee).  David's dad simply shook his head.  Unphased, she turned to David who denied her before she could even begin her plea.  She walked away mumbling under her breath with a sour expression on her face.

So the five of us continued on to Humberstone, a town that was built during the mid-1800's and abandoned about 60 years ago when the mines dried up.  We walked through empty houses, a creepy old theatre, a small-wooden chapel, a tiny little school, and big processing plants.  It was fascinating to see how people lived in a small, closed off community in the middle of the driest desert in the world.  

While the rest of us were taking in the sites, David was busy snapping picture after picture in every dark corner he could find.  He's still convinced that there are actual ghosts living in the ghost town.  See the picture below for his "proof."

Anyway, after several hours of exploration we headed back to the car.  We were busy loading up the stroller, the diaper bag, and all the other million baby accessories we were toting around with us when David's dad said, "Oh, no, the tire is flat!".  We all  moaned in unison.  As David was taking out the spare and preparing to get his hands greasy a sudden truth dawned on one of us.  The tire that David was filling with air when the gypsy had given her spiel was the very tire that was now flat.  Now the gypsy woman certainly hadn't been carrying a knife, but many people in Chile believe gypsies don't need weapons to punish their enemies.  Gypsies here are most famous for the curses they cast. We all laughed at the idea that this gypsy with a colorful skirt and a baby in hand might have cursed us.  Unlike many of the Chileans who believe in these curses whole-heartedly, none of us are particularly superstitious.  But this was a funny coincidence (or was it?).

We successfully changed the tire and made it home without further incident.  Next time a gypsy approaches, we're going to have some spare change on hand.     

Humberstone (with our cool knitted hats, courtesy of David's brother Mark's girlfriend)

Ghostly orbs in the town's theatre.

Hieroglyphics over a 1000 years old



Joanna said...

I believe in those ghost orbs! I have the proof that town is haunted!

I also believe in the gypsy curses, because I have also fallen victim to one.

stephanie garcia said...

We've not been to Humberstone yet but hope to visit when my parents come down in May. I liked the story about the gypsy curse! Such an exciting and colorful place this is where we live. :)

Anonymous said...

I know this may sound crazy, but I think my family was cursed by a gypsy back in the 1940's. Does anyone know how to find out and how to get rid of one??