The Senorio Ritual

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(c) Martyn Smith. All images remain the property of their original creator.

Disclaimer: I am posting this for fun and because people enjoy reading about these things. If you choose to play any of these games then you do so at your own risk.

How to Play

Notes

  • Credit goes to The_Kalawishis
  • This ritual is simply provided for interest. I don’t recommend performing this. Unless any of you own a secluded manor near Mexico City then you wouldn’t be able to play anyway.
  • Also known as The Manor Ritual. It took place in a Manor (obviously) near Mexico City in the eighteenth century.
  • Usually played by peninsulars and criollos, New World figures who were at the top of the sistema de castas racial hierarchy.
  • It is said that this ritual was only performed a few times and had died out almost completely by the time of Caste War of Yucatan (a Mayan uprising) took place.
  • There may be links to the human sacrifice rituals which were practiced by the Aztecs, although the OP notes that such links are tenuous at best. The connection appears to be that the ritual was performed near Tenochtitlan and involved staircases and blood.
  • The effigy was most commonly fashioned from straw, cloth and wood. Although it is said that the family performing the ritual would, in extreme cases, use a deceased Native or African laborer, painted and dressed appropriately.
  • There are over twenty variations of this ritual, each deviating in insignificant ways.
  • It is not clear what ‘black blood’ actually is. The OP describes it thus, ‘in illustrations, it is often depicted as a red liquid, dark to the point of almost being black (in one source it is completely black, the same color as the text). Given its name, some have ventured to conjecture that black blood is blood mixed with ashes, although that conjecture does not help answer the question of exactly what animal the blood would come from.’

 

Equipment

  • A  secluded manor house with two stories and a straight stairwell ascending from one to the other.
  • An assistant.
  • A chair.
  • A pike.
  • Linen.
  • Black blood.
  • An effigy of the ‘victim.’
  • A sack or piece of cloth.
  • Three candles
  • A full length mirror.
  • A lighter or matches.

Steps

  • First you must select a room in which to play. The room should be above another. The OP describes this room as “el piso de la sala superior es el techo de la sala inferior’, that is, the top rooms floor is the bottom rooms ceiling.” You should clearly be able to hear someone speaking in the ‘superior’ room.
  • Clear all furniture from both rooms (above and below), including all portraits or photographs, especially anything that is connected to the family (heirlooms etc). If either room has windows, these must be covered.
  • A lone chair should be placed in the middle of the ‘superior’ room, facing the door.
  • The floor of the interior room should be covered with linen.
  • A pike should be stood perpendicular to the floor in the ‘inferior’ room.
  • An assistant should prepare an effigy of the intended ‘victim’ of the ritual, usually an enemy of the family. This effigy should be attached to the pike, ensuring that it does not touch the floor.
  • After full dark, the performer, customarily female, should sit on the chair in the middle of the ‘superior’ room.
  • From here there are some minor deviations based on the time period in which the ritual was performed. To avoid confusion I am using the later method.
  • The assistant should now place a full length mirror upright beside the door and light three candles before leaving the room, covering their face with a sack or cloth as they do so.
  • You should now place the mirror so it leans against the door as vertically as possible, facing the chair.
  • The assistant should take a case of ‘sangre nagra’ or ‘black blood’ to the inferior room. They should pour the black blood over the effigy and loudly chant, ‘el te derriba,’ (he casts you out) seven times. The blood should cover the effigy and drip onto the linen on the floor.
  • Once you hear the seventh, ‘el te derriba,’ you should begin your part of the ritual. You should cover your ears with your hands and say, ‘dios no ve este casa,’ (God does not see this house) seven times.
  • Now stare at the mirror and bare your teeth at your reflection, blinking as seldom as possible.
  • The assistant should wait a moment for ‘el diablo ha tenido suficiente para beber,’ which translates as ‘when the devil has had enough to drink.’ This is usually the moment when the last of the black blood has stopped dripping onto the linen.
  • The assistant should now leave the ‘inferior’ room and go to the ‘superior’ room and knock on the door. This alerts you to begin the next phase of the ritual.
  • You should now leave the room, relocating the mirror and candles to their former positions on the way out. Approach the head of the stairwell.
  • The assistant should return to the ‘inferior’ room and detach the effigy of the ‘victim’ from the pike, bringing it to you. You now throw it down the stairs, saying, ‘el te derriba.’
  • The assistant should retrieve the effigy and hand it to you so the process can be repeated until it totals seven times, although some deviations specify only three. You should repeat ‘el te derriba’ each time, getting louder with each repetition.
  • The effigy should now be burned by the assistant.
  • The assistant can now clean up, which includes removing the mirror and candles and storing them in a secluded, but secure location. The mirror must never be broken.
  • If the ritual has been performed correctly, the victim should come to a sudden and unfortunate end within seven days. This can be via illness or a dark figure that will appear in their room and spirit them away. If however the ritual has been performed incorrectly, then you and your family will pay a heavy price.

Safety first

It is said if you perform this ritual incorrectly you will hear Sympathy for the Devil playing repeatedly in your ear for all eternity. Not really.

Risk level

High.

The OP details a great number of things that can go wrong with this ritual. I quote directly from the OP here:

‘The most common mistake is to pour too much black blood onto the effigy, letting the liquid drip onto the floor for far too long.

Though the ritual should start well after dusk, various sources emphasize how it needs to be performed quickly, and a small number warn that if the ritual drags on after midnight then it could have deadly consequences.

Rare but valuable personal accounts from performers of the ritual often note how they can feel an unnerving presence around them as they sit, head covered or uncovered, in the superior room. Notably, those who adhered to the later custom would often see their reflection slowly and subtly morph into a repulsive and demonic figure, baring its teeth back at the performer in the dim light.

An obscure account from a servant’s diary, one that was restored by a local librarian after many weeks of labor, tells of an envious aging wife who wanted to kill a woman whom her husband was doting on with the ritual, using the later custom. The servant, who was the assistant for that particular ritual, accidentally poured too much black blood onto the effigy, thus letting the ritual drag on past midnight. He described how, just as the trickle of black blood was beginning to slow, he heard a series of frantic screams from the wife above him. He rushed up to the superior room and pushed open the door, knocking the mirror onto the floor and shattering it. The wife claimed to have seen the devil completely materialize in the mirror and attempt to step out of it before it was shattered. Various times after that event, the servant records sightings of a dark red, almost black figure in various places around the manor and its grounds, sightings which stop with the death of the wife less than a month after the ritual.

The second most common problem that occurs during the ritual involves the phase when the effigy is thrown repeatedly down the stairs. From the repeated impacts many effigies fall apart, and can only be taken back up a stairwell in tatters. Limited accounts of this happening all mention that a foul odor beyond that of the effigy’s material or that of black blood seems to emanate from the effigy’s exposed innards, leaving behind a sickening miasma that seems to inhabit the stairwell for weeks. Those who use the stairwell regularly after that are documented as developing symptoms similar to those supposed to be inflicted on the victim. Perhaps most disturbing was the account of a family that used a fresh cadaver of a Native laborer. They had committed to casting the laborer down the stairs a full seven times, but on the sixth time the corpse opened its eyes and growled demonically. The panicked family incinerated the effigy immediately, terminating the ritual. The family patriarch, who describes the ritual in his diary, then begins to describe vivid nightmares and episodes of sleep paralysis involving the effigy watching him as he lay in bed. He writes of these incidents almost nightly for a month before his diary inexplicably ends.’

Would I play?

No.

 

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Dia de los muertos / Day of the Dead

images

(c) Original Artist. All images remain the property of their original creator.

Dia de los muertos/Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead Facts

  • A Mexican holiday which is also celebrated to a lesser extent in Latin America and some parts of the USA. Originally it was not celebrated in Northern Mexico who instead favoured the traditional All Saints Day. It became a public holiday in Mexico in the 1960s, in part because the government hoped it would function as a unifying national tradition.
  • Believed to have evolved from an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. This festival took place in August and lasted for a month.
  • It was once celebrated in summer but was moved to October 31, November 1 and November 2 around the 16th Century due to the Spanish Colonization.
  • It is recognised as a significant example of the cultural heritage of Humanity and was officially recognised as such in 2008.
  • Focused on remembering and honouring those who have passed over. It has evolved over time so that November 1 honours dead children and infants (Dia de los Inocentes or Dia de los Angelitos) and November 2 remembers deceased adults (Dia de los Muertos or Dia de los Difuntos).
  • Some believe that Dia de los muertos is a lucky day and will buy Day of the Dead dolls and memorabilia to keep with them for the rest of the year.

Tradition

  • There are a number of traditional foods.
  • Traditions include building ofrendas and offering tributes to those who have died, which can include leaving gifts of sugar skulls, flowers (orange marigolds) or food at the grave of the deceased. Toys may also be left at the graves of children. Pillows and blankets are sometimes provided so that the dead may rest after their journey.
  • Traditions may differ based on location. In Ocotepec you may visit homes of those who have lost someone in the previous year in return for a gift of veladoras (religious candles). In Patzcuaro there is a tradition specifically related to the loss of a child. On November 1 of the year following the child’s death the godparents must set a table filled with sweets and other traditional foods, a cross, a rosary and candles.

Websites (credit)

Videos

Photos

Dia-de-los-Muertos

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As always, if you have stories about this festival or would like to make any corrections to the information supplied then please contact me. I’d also love to hear about any local festivals you might practice or know about.

Did you enjoy reading about this festival? I am attempting to create more posts about festivals from around the world.

Halloween/Samhain.

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(c)  google images. All images remain the property of their creator.

Happy Halloween

 This is the article that I meant to write last year and ran out of time. Better late than never.

Please note that credit for the supplied information should be given to the sites detailed under ‘websites.’

Halloween Facts

  • Evolved from the Celtic holiday of Samhain (pronounced sah-win) and has been dated back to 5 B.C.
  • The modern name is said to come from “All Hallows Evening,” Hallow being the Old English word for holy person.
  • It was traditionally a time to prepare for the shift from a time of plenty to a time of darkness, cold and death. As such, in the ancient world it marked the final harvest of the year. Crops would be placed into storage and the cooking fires would be extinguished. The Celtic priests would meet amongst oak trees (representing strength) and light fires, offering sacrifices to thank the summer Gods and appease the coming Gods of wintertime. An ember from these sacred fires would be given to each family so that a new cooking fire could be started, keeping their homes warm and banishing any evil spirits that may wish to harm them during the winter months.
  • It was also believed that the boundaries between the realm of the living and dead were thinnest at this time. The dead may return to harm the living, blight their crops or spread sickness.
  • Samhain festivals traditionally lasted 3 days. People wore costumes made from the skins of animals to represent various Gods.
  • Although the holiday originated in the United Kingdom it was taken to the USA by the first large wave of Irish immigrants. At the time it was common for children to go out “guising” on October 31 to beg for food or money. Those who refused would often find themselves victims of pranks – chalk drawings on the door or similar.
  • Halloween became more popular in the 1920s when people began to host lavish parties and stores soon began to sell pre-made costumes. Celebrations were minimal during WWII due to sugar rationing. It became more similar to the holiday we enjoy today in the 50s and 60s. At this time trick or treating was thought to be wholesome family fun. Interestingly this coincided with the rise of the suburban neighbourhood.
  • It is believed that the Church attempted to reduce the importance of traditional pagan festivals such as Samhain. It was a subtle takeover, with the focus on re-appropriation of traditional holidays. As such November 1 became All Saint’s Day, celebrating those saints who did not have their own holy day.

Tradition

  • Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic, blend in with, or appease evil spirits.
  • The Jack O Lantern is a carved pumpkin or turnip. Do you want to know why it is called a Jack O Lantern? You can read about it here.
  • Trick or treating is said to be similar to the medieval practice of “souling” when poor folks would beg for food or other items in return for prayers to appease the dead. In medieval times people would make “soul cakes,” (bread and currant puddings). Children would beg for these treats. Trick or treating is even mentioned in Shakespeare. In The Two Gentleman of Verona (1593) Speed accuses his master of “puling” (whimpering) like a beggar at Halloween.
  • The traditional colours of Halloween are orange and black. Orange represents the harvest, while black symbolises the death of the summer and the darkness of the coming months.
  • The apple was sacred in ancient times and was often used for divination. Hence the idea for bobbing for apples – you are searching for your future. Like wedding cake it is believed a woman can put a piece of her bobbed apple under her pillow to dream of her future love.
  • Traditions around the world.
  • Top 10 Irish traditions for Halloween.
  • Halloween superstitions explained.

Urban Legends

  • Poisoned candy/chocolate. False.
  • Blue star tattoo hoax. False.
  • Campus murder. False.
  • Terrorists? False.

Things to do

Websites (credit)

Halloween makeup tutorials

Safety first

  • If you’re going trick or treating always let someone know where you’re going. It is best to trick or treat in pairs/groups.
  • Don’t eat all your sweets at once. Trust me.

The Goddess of Nightmare

poland-marzanna-doll-lg(c)  terradaily.com. All images remain the property of their creator.

Disclaimer: I am posting this for fun and because people enjoy reading about these things. If you choose to play any of these games then you do so at your own risk.

Goddess of Nightmare

In some counties the arrival of spring is heralded by the ritualistic drowning of a straw doll which represents the Goddess of winter Marzanna. This reflects the defeat, or death of winter and the rebirth of the world. You can find more details of how, why and when this ritual is performed to this day in Poland here or here.

Many countries have their own ways of celebrating the Spring Equinox, which is also known as Ostara among pagans. Many of these rituals are designed to celebrate or promote fertility, reflecting the natural world at this time and many ceremonies involve water. While water is associated with life, it is also commonly linked to the spirit world, as I have talked about previously in my blog.

When I was a child I often heard the equinoxes referred to as ‘turning days’ or ‘between days’ and was told that these times can be dangerous. I was told not to go out walking in places associated with spirits or fairies as I could be stolen away or harmed. Although I have never been able to find much about this (which isn’t fiction based) there are still many rituals specifically associated with such times,

Even in the modern world effigies are still submerged into water, commonly considered a spiritual conductor, to allow for communication. On other occasions they are locked in boxes and placed into rivers or beneath the earth. You only have to look at games like One Man Hide and Seek or Daruma San to see that there is a consistent link between spirits and water.

However, if submerging effigies can bind spirits or open up an avenue of communication then burning them is dangerous. It can anger them and if done so without proper preparations, liberate said horror to come and seek its revenge – many of these games warn that burning without putting protection in place can result in possession of the original caster.

Swiatowid from Reddit spoke of a Polish Goddess named Morenna whose effigy is burned every spring to banish winter – Morenna may be another name for Marzanna (can any readers confirm/deny?) or may be another deity entirely. Morenna is known as the Goddess of Nightmare.

Swiatowid says that If you burn a female effigy in a dark room while there is snow on the ground outside then this summons Morenna. The burning of any token associated with her will be taken as a grave insult and she will attempt to punish you. This plays out something like Midnight Man, except that as the Goddess of Nightmare Morenna takes a different approach.

If she catches you then you will be plagued with nightmares so unpleasant that they commonly end in madness. It is said that you can avoid this by remaining awake, although I cannot find any information on how long you need to do this for. If she succeeds then these nightmares will continue every time you sleep until the following spring when Morenna ‘dies’.

Marzanna (the supplied link contains more information on how and why the ritual is performed to this day in Poland).

Initial credit for this goes to Swiatowid from Reddit.

Mothman

Mothman

(c)  google images. All images remain the property of their creator.

Mothman

History/Origin

The Mothman became fairly well known after the film The Mothman Prophecies was released. This was based on the book of the same name written by John Keel. The movie came with the usual ‘based on true events’ disclaimer, but exactly how true was it?

It was first sighted in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in November 1966 and there followed frequent sightings until 15 December 1967 when the Silver Bridge collapsed into the river. You can view a transcript of the newspaper report on the sightings here.

Mothman was first viewed by five men who were digging a grave near Clendenin. They described it as a man like figure who flew close over their heads. On the 15th November 1966 Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette called the police after seeing a large white creature with glowing red eyes.

Many other sightings followed, some describing it as a ‘large bird with red eyes’. While the Sheriff believed the sightings were nothing more than an oversized heron, another man blamed Mothman for the disappearance of his dog and interference with his television set. Dr Robert L Smith at West Virginia University said that the sightings were probably of the Sandhill Crane who would fit the descriptions.

It was said that Mothman spoke to several townspeople, warning them of a great disaster that would shortly befall the town. The Silver Bridge collapsed soon after, killing approximately forty six people and after that Mothman was no longer seen in the town. Moments before the tragedy many people claim to have seen Mothman standing at the point where the bridge would collapse.

There have been numerous other sightings of the creature over the years with Linda Scarberry claiming hat she and her husband have seen Mothman ‘hundreds of times’. There are also reports that he was sighted before many other disasters such as the Tsunami in India, Chernobyl, the war in Iraq and September 11th.

So who was Mothman? Some claim that he was an alien and this is the explanation that author John Keel seemed to provide for the events in West Virginia. In his book he said that residents of Point Pleasant experienced precognitions, sighted UFOs and were visited by men in black, although he doesn’t specify whether they looked anything like Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones.

Skeptics continue to blame other factors, including the birds previously mentioned who were mostly unknown in the areas where Mothman was reported. There were numerous hoaxes perpetrated after the original reports with people tying lights to balloons and setting them free all over town.

Many people over the years have claimed to have explanations for Mothman, while others are convinced it cannot be explained. What do you think?

How do I recognise him? 

The Mothman is said to be a large humanoid creature with red eyes and moth like wings.

Where will I find him?

He will find you.

How do I get his attention?

Reports about Mothman differ greatly. Some describe it is a completely alien creature who provokes severe feelings of fear and dread. Others say that it merely wishes to help humanity by warning them of events before they happen. A great number of reports have described Mothman as malevolent, a figure who enjoys tormenting and chasing people. They cite disappearances in the area around the time Mothman was seen and view it as a dangerous entity that may be directly involved in tragedies. So I guess he’ll find you.

How do I escape?

Mothman will leave when he’s finished.

General information

Residents of Point Pleasant now hold Mothman festivals, an annual event that began in 2002. It features a 12 foot tall replica of the creature that was created by Bob Roach. The town is also home to the Mothman Museum and Research Centre, which opened its doors in 2005. The festival begins each year on the 3rd weekend of September and includes guest speakers and tours of areas where Mothman was sighted.

Articles

Paranormal Warnings

Crypto Mundo Recent Mothman sighting Lost Tapes Unexplained America USA Today Pictures: Image Image Image

Videos

Related articles

Hungry Ghost Month

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(c) Original Artist. All images remain the property of their original creator.

Hungry Ghost Month

Facts

  • In China, the Hungry Ghost Festival, otherwise known as Yu Lan takes place on the 15 of the seventh month (14 in Southern China). But the entire month is incorporated into this festival. It falls on a full moon.
  • It is believed that during this month the gates of Heaven and Hell open and spirits are able to wander the earth and visit the living in search of sustenance and entertainment.
  • The Hungry Ghosts are thought to be those who were improperly honoured at the time of their death.
  • The Japanese version of this festival is called O-bon, or Bon.
  • So what are Hungry Ghosts? The Hua-yen Sutra states that your actions during your lifetime will cause your soul to be reborn into one of six possible realms. The worst of all people will become a Hungry Ghost. Nefarious deeds such as murder, stealing and sexual misconduct are enough to damn your soul.
  • Hungry Ghosts are considered dangerous. They can adopt different shapes, from moths and birds to beautiful men and women with dark purposes.
  • Instead of ghost, people use the terms ‘backdoor god’ or ‘good brother’ to avoid offence.

Traditions

  • A major part of this festival is the honouring of ones ancestors. This could include preparing feasts in their honour, burning joss paper, or even money. An empty seat for each deceased member of the family forms part of such meals and they are treated as though they are alive. Some people have even been known to burn cars or other items of significant value. Once a burning has been completed, the person should vacate the area as it may have opened a portal and the person risks being possessed or harmed.
  • Street performances and Operas are also held, but the front row is always left vacant for their supernatural visitors. These take place at night and are often very loud. They might include enacted folk tales, opera or various other things.
  • Incense is often burned at night, which represents prosperity.
  • In each street there may be offerings of food and it is important not to disturb them in any way or risk being cursed or suffering a mysterious illness.
  • Fourteen days after the festival started, water lanterns are placed outside of houses to enable the ghosts to find their way back to the appropriate realm. Once the candles are extinguished, it means the ghosts are back where they should be.
  • Other activities may include the release of small boats made from paper, which signifies guiding lost spirits home.
  • People should be home before dark and avoid walking late at night or risk possession or death.
  • Swimming is also a bad idea as spirits have been said to drown people.
  • Driving at night is avoided as to do so is to risk a spiritual collision which can lead to misfortune.
  • You should avoid wearing red or black clothing.
  • You also should avoid hanging washing out overnight.
  • You should avoid looking into a mirror between 20:00 and 8:00..
  • Do not wear any clothing that belonged to a dead person or they will come and claim you.
  • If you look into a body of water that reflects the moon then your first born child will die.
  • Some sources state that ghosts seek to take people back to hell or trade them in their place. If you hear whistling behind you, then you should never turn around.
  • You should avoid empty, desolate places.
  • People don’t get married, or move home and avoid making new business dealings. It is also taboo to give birth or have your hair cut.

Websites

Videos

Photos

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As always, if you have stories about this festival or would like to make any corrections to the information supplied then please contact me. I’d also love to hear about any local festivals you might practice or know about.

Did you enjoy reading about this festival? I am attempting to create more posts about festivals from around the world.