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The Ghosts of Iquique

The history of Iquique and neighboring pampas lives in other ways, too. This is a region where the ghosts of the past wander. Guards at the Palacio Astoreca say they hear and see things at night. Rumors pass through the city’s underground about the screams heard in and around Escuela Santa María, especially on the anniversary of that fateful December 21, 1907.


The pampas inland have their share of legends as well. Uncounted thousands died crossing those arid plains, hoping to find work in the oficinas. Many more died laboring in those mines. In the highlands you hear tales of phantom hitchhikers. Drivers will not pick up anyone unless the prospective passenger is at a town or rest stop. Truckers keep a vessel of urine handy to dispel any spirits still lost in the barren salt lands. And in Pisagua, where so many were tortured and executed for political reasons, hardy souls who have spent the night there speak of moans during the dark hours.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

30 Jun 2009

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