Haunted Tales from the Border

In the spirit of Halloween, the following stories come from a little rural town named Perote, located on the outskirts of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on the border with Texas. This is a rural farming community where people have raised corn for generations. Today, most of the streets are dirt streets, and at the time that these events took place, during the 1950s and 1960s, there was no electricity or plumbing in the area. 

The Romani Clairvoyant 

Don Antonio (Toño) Peña is not a man that whole-heartedly believes in ghosts and witchcraft. He used to say that all he told was simply what he saw happen, which sometimes he could not explain to himself. He once told a story about something that happened to him in the 1950s as he was driving from Perote to one of the towns nearby. At a stop, a Romani woman got into his truck. Toño complained and demanded that the lady get out of the truck, but she would not leave and insisted on riding with him into town. Resigned, he drove and took her along with him. 

As they neared the town, the lady told Toño, “Your brother recently passed away.”

Toño, in a serious tone, confirmed her statement. His brother had just died in a tragic accident before his very eyes. It was weird that the lady would mention this fact out of thin air, but it wasn’t surprising that she knew this fact. In the ranches and towns nearby, news traveled faster than the electricity that still hadn’t reached them. 

“He didn’t just die; they killed him,” said the woman.

Toño was confused. “How can that be,” he asked. “I was right there when it happened. It was an accident.”

“He got a curse that was meant for you,” she told him. “The curse was for you to die.”

Toño was not a superstitious or religious man, so he responded that this was nonsense. His brother’s death had been an accident and that was that.

“If you don’t believe me,” she said,” when you get home, dig the dirt at the door to your cabin in which you sleep. There you will find a dead chicken. For the curse to work on you, you should’ve been the first to cross through that door, but your brother beat you to it.”

It turns out that on the day he died, Polo had woken up before Toño and was the first to cross the cabin door. It should’ve been Toño that crossed the door first that day because it was Toño’s turn to toil the soil with the tractor that morning. For some reason though, Polo woke up before Toño and headed to the fields to work in the tractor.

Just at that moment, they reached a stop and the lady got out of the car. Curious, Toño dug the dirt at the door of the cabin he shared with his brother, Polo. Sure enough, he found a chicken buried in the dirt.

It had rained a lot in the days leading to that morning, and the tractor got stuck in the mud. Toño arrived to help pull Polo’s tractor out of the mud. This required Polo to be able to make the appropriate gear changes precisely when needed, but at some point, he slipped and did not change into the appropriate gear. His tractor turned upside down, and the steel wheel crushed him. As much as Toño tried to pull the wheel from him, he couldn’t remove the wheel on his own. Polo died soon after.

A Stern Ghost

Sometime after Polo’s death, a couple of his teenage nieces and nephews were hanging out, talking and catching up. They must’ve been getting too loud because suddenly, there was a loud knock on the door. Someone opened the door, and Polo came into the room, stared them down, and walked out. Everyone present was flabbergasted and to this day all swear it was their uncle who they saw that night. 

The Lady in White

The following story was told by Victor Hugo Peña. 

It was a night with a full and beautiful moon. Everything was completely dark, which made the moonshine even brighter. Our mom had passed away a year before. We lived close to my grandpa and our aunts and uncles, so my brothers and I usually only used our house to sleep in. That particular night, it was my dad and my two brothers and me. It was hot, so we had all our windows and doors open. 

Our house had a window facing my uncle’s house across the little dirt street. If we needed to use the restroom, we needed to use the outhouse, which was a short walk away from our house. Being only eight years old, I was too scared to go on my own. So if I wanted to pee, I would do so right outside the window facing towards my uncle’s house. 

That night, when I had to get up to pee, I noticed a lady walking outside of my uncle’s house. She was wearing a long, old-fashioned dress; even for back then, it was old-fashioned. It was something elderly ladies wore when I was little. Her head was covered by a white veil. I couldn’t see her head nor her feet. She went from my uncle’s house towards one of the random wooden buildings he had. Tired, too innocent, or both, I didn’t give this lady much thought and went back to sleep. 

However, I still vividly remember the images from that night. Years afterward, I realized why. What I saw was probably not just an elderly lady; it was very likely a ghost. Skeptical myself, I told my cousins about that night. They confirmed that they too have seen this lady several times. Nobody knows who or what she is. 

The birthday boy all in white is Victor Hugo Peña. It was his last birthday, six years old, with his mother, pictured here too. His father, Victor Antonio Peña, is the shirtless man standing in the picture. Give him a break. It was hot and there was no A.C… and they were in the country.

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