La Malacosa — A Texas Legend of High Strangeness

The journey of Cabeza de Vaca
Texas weirdness stretches from the latest UFO sighting to the most ancient of enigmas. One obscure account in particular, from nearly five centuries ago, still causes heads to scratch even now. Just what exactly visited one local tribe in the 16th Century? Was it man, demon, or something more out of this world?

According to chronicles published in 1542, Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his beleaguered retinue encountered Native Americans known as Avavares (a Caddoan people) living in South Texas who told him of a visit from a short, bearded entity they received 15 years prior to The Spaniard’s arrival in 1534 .

So vague was their impression of the being, the tribesmen weren’t sure if it was even a man, a woman, or what. Sometimes the stranger would attend the tribe’s ceremonies dressed as one of their men, and other times he wore women’s garments. It was as if he either didn’t know the distinction or simply didn’t care. While at these festivals, the interloper neither ate nor drank anything. When asked where he came from, the odd man would simply point enigmatically to a hole in the ground and simply respond “from down below.”

In Cabeza de Vaca’s account, the entity is referred to as La Malacosa, a Spanish compound word for “the bad thing.” It’s not clear if the Spanish translated a local term as La Malacosa or if this was simply how they described this seemingly monstrous entity. And his actions can indeed be described as such.

The Avavares recounted how La Malacosa would visit their homes at night brandishing a hot firebrand, grab whomever he wished, and slice their sides open. He would then reach into the gaping wound and excise a section of entrails that he would then toss into the fire. He then made three cuts in one of their arms and then another elsewhere. He then dislocated the victims arm before resetting it once more. Strangest of all, when La Malacosa placed his hands on their wounds, the closed immediately. The stranger was also prone to sending their dwellings high into the air and letting them crash to the ground.

The Spaniards didn’t believe this tale, brushing it all off as a folk legend. The tribal leader with whom they spoke though took them to others in the village who verified these events transpired just as described. Was La Malacosa a demon from the depths of hell or an alien from a subterranean base? Perhaps a time traveler? A traveler from elsewhere in the world who predated Spanish contact? Maybe La Malacosa was simply a strange encounter with an ordinary man that turned into a fantastic tale as it crossed barriers of language, culture, and time.

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A shrine at the hospital

Long ago, I lived with my family in a government quarters behind the hospital in a town just south of Kuala Lumpur the capital of Malaysia. Being the restless teenager, I cycled everywhere every time I could leave the house. Sometimes, I would go into the hospital compound to visit a small coffee shop which sold my favourite sweets. I would also get a drink and enjoy it there to replenish my energy before more cycling.

Beside the shop stood a small shrine dedicated to one of the Hindu deities: Ganesh with the elephant head. At the time the shrine looked new. I was there buying some sweets when they had a Pooja (consecration) ceremony for the newly installed statue of the deity.

That was when I learnt that the shop owner's son was the one who built the shrine. He was an orderly at the hospital. A pleasant looking man whom I sometimes see him there helping out at the shop.

One day, I heard a man ask the son why he built the shrine. This is the son's story which I will tell from his perspective. This may not be as accurate because it has been decades and I am translating from a mix of Tamil, Malay, and English.

The son's story

A year ago, I was working late. So, I came to help my father close up for the night. After my father left for home, I stayed behind to finish up some paperwork. It was almost midnight when I locked up and started to walk down the walkway past the morgue to the exit.

In front of the morgue, I came across a young man who was crying inconsolably. This was not unusual at the hospital.

I asked the man if he was okay and if he needed some help. The man turned to me and said, "they must hate me, Annei". (Annei is Tamil for big brother and also a term of respect that we, regardless or race, use to address an older Indian man)

"Why do you say that, Thambi?" (Thambi means younger brother, also a term of endearment).

"I've been here since last night and no one has come for me" said the young man who I think must have been Malay or Chinese.

"Don't be like that, Thambi, maybe they are on their way. I'm sure they'll be here tomorrow. Trust me".I said. That seemed to can the man down a little.

"Thank you, Annei". He said as he lifted his head and smiled at me. I'll never forget that face and the smile. I don't know why.

So, I left him and went home. He waved. I waved back.

The next day, a family came to claim their son's remains. They came from clear across the country and back then the roads were not as good as they are today. So, it took then a while to get here. They told us that their son who was studying at a university nearby had been involved in a road collision, and had died. When they received the news, they were at their farm which was far in the interior, that made their journey take longer.

The medical officer instructed me to check the identity of the remains in the morgue. I took a member of the family with me and we headed to the morgue. When I pulled away the shroud to reveal the face of the body, it struck me that this was the young man whom i had spoken to the night before. Half of his face was gone but I could still recognize him. His father verified that this was indeed his son and then he cried. I led him out to where his family was waiting. Then I left them and came back to the morgue to finish up my job.

"You don't need to be sad, Thambi. Your family is here. They love you very much. I'll get you ready and then you can go home, Thambi", I said to the body.

I looked away from the face to check the tag against the paperwork on my clipboard. When I saw the face again, I was about to cover it with the shroud. I could have sworn that he smiled just a little.

The next day, I asked for permission to build this shrine so that perhaps the spirits from the morgue will not wander around this place at night.

This was years ago. The shop, the shrine, the morgue, and a couple of the buildings nearby are now gone. In their place now stand multi-storey buildings. In one of the buildings, not far from where the old morgue was, you'll find the new morgue.

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The Stanley Hotel

Built at the start of the 1900s by Freelan Oscar Stanley, the Stanley Hotel would become both an iconic hotel for movie fans and paranormal investigators and ghost hunters. Stanley moved to Colorado in 1903 with his wife Flora because his doctor had instructed him to get fresher mountain air for the tuberculosis that he was suffering from. He had been given only 6 months to live. When Stanley moved to the area his health improved.

Real “The Shining” Haunting Story

The Stanley hotel was of course the shooting location for The Shinning and you would be forgiven in thinking that is where the paranormal stories stem from, well they don’t.

Stephen King didn’t actually write the book while staying at The Stanley Hotel, this is a well known misconception, but he did have direct influences from the hotel that he picked up when he stayed at the hotel before. Stephen King has been trying to write a story about a Haunted Amusement park but his close friends who he confided early drafts to told him they didn’t like the story. With this King decided to put that story on the back burner and refocus his attention.

King and his wife, Tabitha, went travelling through the Estes Park and the Rock Mountains when they came across a closed road due to bad weather at the time. While turning back they decided to seek shelter and stayed at The Stanley Hotel. It is said that King experienced some paranormal or strange events when staying there which eventually resulted in writing of The Shinning.

Is The Stanley Hotel Haunted?

Over the years there have been many well known and heavily respected people that have stayed at The Stanley hotel and a lot of these people have also commented on a presence or sighting which they couldn’t explain. Ghosts have been reported to walk the halls and even haunt specific rooms, one ghost in particular is the ghost of Freelan Oscar Stanley himself! It has been reported that his ghost has been seen walking around the lobby and Billiard rooms, these happened to be his favourite rooms when he was living.

Freelan Oscar Stanley has also been seen walking through the bar and walking straight into the kitchen before disappearing.

Flora Stanley’s ghost has also been sighted often in The Stanley hotel. When she was living she would spend time entertaining hotel guests in the ballroom by playing piano for them – apparently to this day you can see her in the room and playing piano, not to mention a few reports of the piano actually being played!

The Stanley Hotel is clearly not just any old haunted place in america, it has history, paranormal stories and even photos of ghosts.

Which Hotel Rooms Are Haunted?

There are a few guest rooms throughout the hotel which have been reported to be haunted, one being room 407. Lord Dunraven is a ghost which has been reported on more than one occasion. It is said that he stands in the corner of room 407 closest to the bathroom and occasionally the lights will turn on and off.

The room with the most amount of paranormal activity is arguably room 418. According to reports the ghosts within that room are mostly children. The hotel cleaning staff have been known to report strange sounds coming from the room when it was known to be empty and imprints of someone laying on or in the bed when no one had stayed in the bed the night before. Many of the rooms guests have commented on the sound of children playing at night and some have even complained about the noise only to find out there are in fact no children in the hotel at the time.

There is a story about the room Stephen King stayed in, room 217. The room had a horrific accident around 1911 whereby the house keeper, Elizabeth Wilson was almost killed becuase of a gas leak explosion in that very room. She did survive the accident. Since the passing of Elizabeth Wilson in the 1950s the room  is said to be haunted. Guests have reported and commented on there suitcases being moved, cleaned up or even packed and ready for checking out of the hotel.

The Hotel’s tour guides tell a story of a ghost child being spotted by staff members and some guests, it is said that Stephen King saw this child on the second floor of the hotel. The child was apparently calling for his nanny.

The Stanley Hotel Ghost Picture

There are a lot of reports and paranormal experiences to talk about with regards to The Stanley Hotel but one of the stories comes with a photo. A tourist was on the ghost tour of the hotel and while taking photos of the outside of the hotel snapped the photo below. Knowing of the connection between the ghost reports and children on the hotel the:

“The room number is 1211. Last Friday, there was a single man checked in that room who was part of a business conference. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have a child with him, but it is unlikely that he did.”

The Stanley Hotel Ghost Proof

The Stanley Hotel Ghost Proof?

The post The Stanley Hotel appeared first on Paranormal Research Society.

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Strange con men and scams – Frank Abagnale

Catch me if you can! Frank Abagnale is a former cheque con artist, forger and imposter who, for five years in the 1960s, passed bad cheques worth more than $2.5 million in 26 countries. The recent blockbuster film Catch Me If You Can is based on his life. His first experience of fraud was as a youth when he used his father’s Mobil card to buy car parts that he would then sell back to the gas station for a lower price. He did not realise that his father was the one who had to foot the bill and when…

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