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Monday, October 14, 2013

Frightened To Death 2

Stormy Sea
This post is an update to: Frightened to Death, posted October 7, 2013, This post is based on my family's experience as it was related to me by my grandmother.
The commercial fishing experience for the men was not typical of the modern day work schedule.  As limited as the use of science was back then, much of the commercial fishing effort was driven by factors that affected the success of the fishing effort.  Some example of the factors might be, the ocean currents (which affected high and low tides), even the time of the month, season of the year, and the moon’s cycle.  Previous successes might also play a role, as well as, commitment to the customers that expected a fresh catch.
At least one day and sometimes as much as two days prior to heading out to sea, there was increased activity amongst the crew.  Gathering the supplies needed for the journey, from rain gear to food/water supplies, and fuel (petroleum, matches, and wicks for the lanterns).  Of course equally important the lines and nets for the task at hand. The journey to the fishing destination was at least one whole day away and sometimes longer depending on the weather, and currents.  I know that regularly they would tow a vessel behind them to use for extra carrying capacity.  On the trip that would be my grandfather’s last, the weather was less than ideal.
As they arrived to their destination, there were a couple of islands nearby that usually served for a base.  In this particular trip one of the islands had a bad reputation of being hunted by evil spirits, and was considered off limits.  There were some ideal areas for fishing near the island, and since the goal was to catch fish, the crew got as close as they dared.  On this particular trip the weather had been bothersome but not the worst they had ever seen.  The wind was constant and so was the rainfall, combined with the rough seas, it made for an ominous experience.
Late on the afternoon of the day that they would be returning to base and preparing for the next day’s trip home, the storm seem to intensify, and the dark storm clouds seemed to roll in out of nowhere.  The late afternoon suddenly became as dark as a moonless night.  As the crew worked feverishly to bring in the lines (nets) for the last time and stow them away, someone notice a large ball of fire revolving above the island’s thick jungle vegetation.  The palm trees weren’t burning, from the large orange/red fire ball that reflected on the water between the fishing vessels and the island.
The story was told that when my grandfather saw the “fireball” apparition he looked in its direction and while shielding his eyes with one hand from the brightness he made a fist with the other hand and called them, “espiritos culeros.”  Loosely translated it means, “A— - hole Spirits.”  My grandfather was so clean cut that he didn’t curse and that was the worst he could come up with.  But that was plenty to anger the spirits according to witnesses from the crew.
Almost immediately, the ball of fire rolled on the water towards them and settled itself next to the fishing vessel that my grandfather was on.  The witnesses said that they could see the brightness but were surprised that there was no heat emanating from the flames.  As the crew knelt in prayer, the ball of fire transformed itself into a large skiff with two Grim Reapers rowing on either side of a coffin surrounded by four large candles at each of the 4 corners of the coffin.
My grandfather went into shock almost immediately and a high fever set in that would stay with him until his death a little more than a week later.  By the time the crew arrived home, more than a day had elapsed, and my grandfather might have had a chance for recovery but the high fever took its toll and it didn’t take long for the damage to seal his fate.  My grandmother was so dependent on his leadership that she didn’t know what to do, and the best they could do on the island was to bring the local “Curandero” (A curandero is a person who practices the use of curanderismo. He/she is usually a spiritual guide/leader within a community. This person is usually the person sought when someone is sick or experiencing unusual circumstances).
They tried everything they could to cure him and determined that he was scared to death by what he had seen, and that it was something not in his belief system.  He spent the last week of his life in a coma and didn’t get to say goodbye to the person he loved most in this world.  The part my grandmother didn’t tell me was that his spirit lingered in her house still trying to protect her, until she was told by the curandero how to send his spirit to rest.  I was told how that was done, but that shall remain the family’s secret with me.  The best is yet to come….

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