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Arequipa’s Phantoms

It’s not surprising that phantoms haunt the ancient streets of Arequipa. During the centuries, many legends have emerged about things that go bump in the night of this centuries-old city. The Catedral, colonial mansions, cemeteries and other arequipeño sites have stories of ghosts, goblins and other weird denizens.

Life within the high walls of Monasterio Santa Catalina, the city-within-a-city convent, was a mystery to arequipeños for four centuries. Who knew what went on beyond those high walls? Some swore, though, they saw vampires—nuns and priests—departing through a secret door, to drink the blood of unsuspecting night travelers.

Another phantom those wandering the dark streets might encounter is the headless Franciscan monk who roams the alley behind the Cathedral. Popular history says this cleric was beheaded by the angry father of a fair maiden, who believed they were lovers.

When returning home from the bars, young men might want to avoid Puente Bolognesi. There, it is said, a mermaid resides luring in males with her song. In the morning, the twisted body of the man unfortunate enough to hear her melody will be found dead over the boulders that line the banks of the Río Chili.

By Lorraine Caputo

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

19 Apr 2013

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