Manby, Most Hated

Ghosts of Taos podcast Season 1, Episode 5: Manby, Most Hated

Arthur R. Manby was and still is the most hated man in Taos. Even today, his story is considered to be one of the greatest mysteries of Taos.  Listen to hear a little of Manby’s complicated story and why he was the “most hated man in Taos.” If you’re curious about the podcast, your host, or the book, “Ghosts of Taos,” visit our website at

Gravely Famous

Ghosts of Taos podcast Season 1 Episode 4: Gravely Famous

Taos has its share of the famous – both dead and living. Kit Carson Memorial Park is a burial ground steeped with history and mystery. In this episode we explore the history and play an interview with Dr. Kathy Cordova of El Prado New Mexico as she talks about what she found out about those three graves over by the Dragoon Lane entrance of the Kit Carson Memorial State Park while she was a Cultural Reporter for the Smithsonian Institute.

Spooky Stays

Ghosts of Taos podcast, Season 1, Episode 3: Spooky Stays

Haunted Hotels and Inn in the Historic District of Taos. Here are a couple of stories about our more active properties. So often I’ll get the question, “what’s the most haunted hotel in town?” and I would be hard-pressed to have a concise answer because so many of the hotels have a reputation of one degree or another. The center of town is a good pick, but other places, quaint little B&Bs have had their share of stories. Here are just a few.

EVPs – What are they saying?

Season One, Episode 2 of the Ghosts of Taos podcast:

Electronic Voice Phenomena is one of the more popular techniques for paranormal investigations. In Season 1 Episode 2 of Ghosts of Taos, we’ll be talking about an investigation at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house where I was lucky enough to be allowed to leave a running digital recorder on Mabel’s dresser in her bedroom. We managed to pick up several EVPs in the room. Listen to them in this podcast!

Photo by Scott Major on Unsplash

EVPs – What Are They Saying?

Announcing the new “Ghosts of Taos” podcast

We’ve decided one of the best ways to get past the Covid-19 restrictions is to offer a new Ghosts of Taos podcast for those of you who are interested in paranormal and supernatural stories and legends of Taos, New Mexico.

I’d love to pop in a player for you, but until it gets picked up on RSS streams, we’ll just have to pop in a link:

Ghosts of Taos Podcast

#paranormal #supernatural #ghosts #history

The Coco Man, farm spirits and rude gestures

According to Wikipedia,

The myth of the Coco originated in Portugal and Galicia. According to the Real Academia Española, the word coco derives from the Galician and Portuguese côco, which referred to a ghost with a pumpkin head. The word coco is used in colloquial speech to refer to the human head in Portuguese and Spanish. Coco also means “skull”.

Many Latin American countries refer to the monster as el Cuco. In Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, where there is a large Hispanic population, it is referred to by its anglicized name, “the Coco Man.”

In fact, I have heard the Coco Man invoked to either scare children or to relate just how scary the idea of the Coco Man is to a fully-grown adult who has been raised under the stern influence of a boogeyman that will come to get you if you’re bad, and maybe even if you’re good.

The idea of the Pumpkin Head now meshed together with El Cuco sends a shiver down my spine.

I had originally ascribed the idea of pumpkin heads as some sort of farm spirit that had gained autonomous movement (Read my account of seeing pumpkin heads), but now I’m going to have to re-examine that line of thought.

I am also thinking about one of the local gestures of either extreme dislike or a male full-arm and hand greeting gesture with somewhat “affectionate” undertones, especially between young men who are friends. The position of the hand suggests helping someone to give the gesturer a blowjob, but since the gesture means “skull,” it suggests servitude until death, “you’re my bitch even in death,” etc.

I’m really not sure how all these symbolic ideas fit together, but somehow, I think they are related.

New and old ghosts

ledoux2Every time I walk down Ledoux Street in Taos I am reminded of my friend Tally Richards. Her gallery used to be at the top of the street. It’s harder and harder to keep track of what’s there now. Perhaps that’s the reason why us old timers tend to refer to places in terms of what has been there in the past – not what is there now.

This is a little excerpt from her memoirs – materials she left with me – maybe for safekeeping or for carrying a torch for what it was like to live in Taos as a transplant in the past. It’s an idea of Taos the way it used to be. Not what is here now.

11 October 1972

I learned from Fritz [Scholder] to think in terms of selling paintings for what I need. For instance, one day he said, “If you sell “Tired Indian” ($5,000) you can get a pickup.” Before he said that I would think, “Who’s going to help me now?” Crazy. My goals now are to pay all my bills, especially what I still owe to Wade, by October 31 and to have two thousand by January 1, 1973.

The new movie theater on the Plaza is finally in operation, plus a film club on Thursdays. There has been such a rash of good movies and I was so hungry for them that I’ve really been indulging myself.

A couple of weeks ago Daddy sent me a painting of a little boy kneeling by a brass bed with an old-fashioned quilt. Above the bed is one of those old-fashioned plaques that says: “Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home.” Below the painting is written: “Dear Lord please make Mamma and Papa stop fightin’ ’cause it’s hard to take sides when you love them both an’ besides I’m ashamed to face the kids.” On the outside of the package Daddy had written, “Explanation follows.” I’ve received no explanation so I still don’t know whether it’s a personal statement, apology or whether he thinks I should represent the person who painted it. If it’s a personal statement then I’m deeply touched.

I had no money to repair the adobe fireplace in my office, so one morning it was cold and rainy and I decided to do it myself. I scooped up some adobe that had washed off the walls, added some straw and slapped it on. I was so proud of myself when the smoke went up the chimney.