Ghosts of Taos tour guide Melody Romancito had a group of ghost hunters, mediums, and sensitives for last night’s tour. It was a delightful sharing of stories and a real pleasure to spend the evening with Seth F. and friends from Manitu Springs, Colorado. We’re sorry we don’t have a photo, but everyone left their cameras in the car :)
You’ve shopped around. You’ve gone from neighborhood to neighborhood and open house to open house, and you have finally found your perfect, adobe restoration project. Everything is going smoothly until your electrician meets you at the top of the basement stairs and tells you you’re going to have to find another electrician because he’s not going down in the basement again. Ever.
Or, let’s say you’re doing the work yourself and as you begin to work on particular areas of your dream restoration project, your tools begin to go missing or are moved, ostensibly when there’s no one else around.
These are common claims from people who have bought homes in the Taos area. The buildings in question don’t even have to be old to for it to have its own resident spirits, entities or paranormal “issues.”
What should you do if you feel you may have stirred things up in your home with restoration phases, opening long-closed passageways, or tearing down old walls? Should you try to make peace with the spirits that you have stirred up with your changes or do you take it upon yourself to help the spirits to move on?
Renovation: The perfect storm for paranormal activity
Experts say the conditions of changing ownership, large interior and exterior changes in a structure is the perfect storm for paranormal activity. These actions can also release held energies in wood, stone, and adobe.
Additionally, houses that have been empty for long periods of time are susceptible to attracting these energies because the “ghosts” or entities know they probably won’t have much chance of being disturbed or bothered by the living.
Something else that might contribute to the accumulation of spirits is energies or attachments are what are called “haunted objects.” These are most likely items purchased at estate, yard sales and antique shops. The physics of how an object can hold information is complex, but the field of measuring that information is known as psychometry or the ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Not necessarily a new field of study, scientists are just now discovering the grounds for such information storage in objects, because these phenomena have been reported as long as humans have thought to make note of it.
The most common haunted objects include:
- Antique bed frames and headboards
- Paintings (especially self-portraits)
- Clothing (especially gowns)
If you love antiques it might be hard for you to forego garage sales and antique shops. There’s something special about an item that is found after a delightful hunt. But perhaps that “specialness” is actually a lure to get you to take it home. It is always a good idea to inquire about the history of an item before buying it, especially if it’s especially old and expensive and you’re bringing it into your home. The more expensive something is the less likely you’ll want to part with it, even if you discover it’s the source of your paranormal activity.
Before carrying these object into your home, you might want to give them a spritz with salt water, smudge them and let them sit in a light airy spot for as long as you can. You could even clap your hands, bang on a pot lid with a spoon or ring a bell loudly over the items and say, “Be on your way. I wish you no harm.” This gives any attached spirit an opportunity detach itself and leave before you bring the item into the house.
Be assertive and take charge
If you’re having paranormal issues in your home or restoration project, there are a few steps you can take yourself that might help abate the situation. These are the actions you should be able to take on your own without having to call in experts.
There are several schools of thought about steps one can take to rid or at least quiet paranormal activity in a building. Most will agree that a tidy, nonchaotic environment is helpful in clearing an area. It may be difficult to keep things tidy while a renovation is going on, but taking the time to return tools to their proper place daily and making sure construction trash is collected outside goes a long way toward appeasing spirits who take to hiding tools and making things rough for the sloppy contractor. Of course, some spirits are so annoyed by the sudden increase in activity and change to their old digs, they might just throw a fit anyway.
This is when you need to step it up a bit with some sage-bundle burning, or smudging. Be careful about the sparks that fly off the sage bundles around construction littler. That’s another reason to keep the area picked up. There’s less opportunity for ghostly pyrotechnic shenanigans and unexplainable accidents.
Another step you can take is to spritz the area with salt water, and if you like, a few drops of essential oils like rosemary, lavender, and frankincense in the water can really make an impact on the heavy feeling in a room.
Another thing experts recommend is to keep a log or a journal of any activity that occurs. It’s a great way to recall the events while they are fresh in your mind but also to see if a pattern of activity exists. The determination of such a pattern would be extremely helpful to an investigator.
It could show a natural cause for the activity such as a furnace or refrigerator kicking on If the activity turns out to actually be paranormal you may decide it’s a paranormal investigation or maybe even a spiritual cleaning is needed. Obviously, if it looks like the ghostly events are occurring at a certain time (or day), then this would be the time an investigator to schedule their inquiry.
When you are compiling your paranormal activity journal or logbook, here are a few things that you want to include:
Note the exact time and date when the activity occurred.
Make a note of everyone who was present and what they saw. If possible have each witness record their thoughts in their own words.
Note the weather conditions at the time.
A journal is an invaluable tool if an investigator or medium comes to help and it will go a long way in establishing evidence about the haunting in your home.
There are more steps you can take to regain control of your environment if you think it’s being plagued by spirits. The internet is full of information, from the basic to the elaborate, and it may get to the point with your particular situation that you want to call in an expert.
When it’s time to call in the experts
You know it’s time to call in a professional investigator or medium when your situation is all you can think about, you’re afraid to spend time in your home or when you feel like you are in actual danger or being harmed.
If you’re simply experiencing paranormal activity, think about weighing your options before you go about contacting a paranormal exterminator. Are you in any real harm? Are the infrequent yet persistent events easy enough to deal with? If they are you should do what you can to make peace with the spirits and manage to coexist. If you can’t abide them in your space, call a priest, religious leader or do a google search for Taos + psychic medium and a list of local professionals will be presented.
Another avenue for supplies, research and connections is Optimysm, 129 Kit Carson Road, (575) 741-8545 https://www.facebook.com/OptiMysm
Other items mentioned in the article are readily available on amazon.com or by searching for other, perhaps more magical providers.
We just got an email from some visitors who asked if the road through Taos Canyon, especially right there in Cañon, was haunted. They said:
Email 1: Good morning, We just spent Sunday night in Taos and have a question. Is there a ‘ghost story’ involved with highway 64 – within the first few miles, leaving the plaza headed up to Eagle Nest? Or locals that may like to play tricks on people driving by? We saw something very interesting and are just curious.
Reply: There are lots and lots of ghost stories along Highway 64, which is understandable. When I first moved to the area in 1986, I lived 10 miles up the canyon, and that first year there were two road deaths right in front of my house in the short time I lived there. Another man who was well-known in the community committed suicide at the Shady Brook Inn in the late 1980s. Also, when I would drive into town, it sometimes looked like a man was trying to wave me down. I doubled back , but there was no one. Another time, I thought I saw a car off the road and signaling with headlights for help. I called the Taos County Sheriff but there was nothing. I’m not even going to talk about the other creepy, weird things I used to hear at night. So … what did YOU see? :)
Email 2: Oh wow! We were going to turn around but decided that we didn’t want to know that nothing was there. We haven’t been able to shake the feeling yet. Something just wasn’t ‘right’ about it! We saw a woman with her hands up to her face on a curve just a few
miles out. She was wearing a lace dress that was blowing in the wind.
Reply: Oh my goodness! That sounds like La Llorona, or the Woman Who Weeps. Sounds like you had a classic sighting! Very exciting, but a good thing you didn’t stop!
Email 3: WOW, well I just got chills…..again! That is what we saw, both of us. The only difference in what my boyfriend (he was driving) and I saw was that I thought she was facing us and he thought her back was more towards us. The feeling we had was sad when we saw her. Both hands up to her face as if crying or screaming, black lace – long dress that was flowing in the wind. The dress was old, from another time period. Very strange and exciting! Thank you for sharing the information with us, I appreciate it very much! Maybe we can ‘shake’ the feeling a little bit now.
We had a great group take the tour last Thursday, even with the rain! Visitors from Santa Fe and Tulsa, Oklahoma braved the elements. Photo by Jim Cox.
Reading “The Raven” to the Plaza Ravens
I read upon the Plaza, sweetly,
but no corvid came near to hear me.
Though the sun’s rays tilted and then filled me
with the golden light of settling day.
So, I read to all who’d gathered with me by the biggest tree.
They knew the poem and even one mouthed it along with me.
But if you thought you may have seen them
sitting there with me as the daylight mellowed into gold
Perhaps you did, but I was essentially alone.
There was no one there, you see.*
– M. Elwell Romancito
*with apologies to the style, ways and good name of E.A. Poe
To mark the 171st year anniversary of the publishing of “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, author of “Ghosts and Haunted Places of Taos,” M. Elwell Romancito has planned an informal reading of Poe’s “The Raven” to the ravens of Taos Plaza, Saturday, Jan. 30th at 4 p.m.
“I know it’s last minute, and a day late and — let’s face it — it’s kind of a silly idea, but it has been one of my favorite poems since I was a kid, and even though the Plaza Ravens don’t care much about the doings of humans, they might just get a kick out of the idea,” Romancito said, adding “They certainly seem to have a sense of humor.”
Romancito will also have signed copies of her book available, which highlights the history and supernatural stories of the historic district of Taos.
“Ghosts and Haunted Places of Taos” is available online by visiting ghostsoftaos.com and also locally at Op Cit Books in the Dunn House Shops (formerly Moby Dickens) in Taos.
Romancito has prepared an audio recording of her reading from the introduction of the book which can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/romancito-house/reading-excerpt-ghosts-haunted-places-of-taos
If you are interested in the reading of “The Raven” to the ravens on Taos Plaza, Saturday, Jan. 30th at 4 p.m., stop by the gazebo on Taos Plaza. Also, if you would like a copy of Romancito’s new book, drop by and pick up your copy.
For more information about Romancito’s book, visit https://ghostsoftaos.wordpress.com/the-book/
by Teresa Dovalpage for The Taos News
Anytime is a good time to share a scary story, but Christmas Eve has long been associated with los fantasmas, ghosts of times past — and present.
Melody Elwell Romancito has managed to capture some of the most prominent ethereal inhabitants of our town in her newly released book, “Ghosts & Haunted Places of Taos.”
It wasn’t difficult to write it, she said, because “Taos is loaded.”
“You can’t walk around the historic district without finding a scrap of history,” Romancito said. “Like most places that have been the setting of dramatic events (hangings, lynching, fires, you name it), Taos has an ecstatic field that allows certain entities to exist.”
She was inspired to write “Ghosts & Haunted Places of Taos” by the lack of similar books on the subject.
“There is one by Antonio Garcez about New Mexico ghosts, and it does have a bit about Taos, but the information is scant,” she said.
Romancito says that it took her about a year to complete the manuscript, but there were six months when she didn’t work on it much.
“I was busy gardening,” she said, laughing. “It’s hard to take care of the garden and write about ghosts — or anything else, for that matter — at the same time. But I had outlined the book and continued working on it until it was ready.”
Romancito held a book signing Dec. 2 at the Hotel La Fonda — a very appropriate place because ghost sightings are common there, according to employees and guests. They say that the spirit of Noula Karavas, former La Fonda owner, shows up in the lobby from time to time.
The hotel, of course, is mentioned in the book as a haunted location.
During the event, Romancito talked about the secret underground of Taos. Melissa Serfling, owner of Casas de Melissa, shared some scary incidents that have taken place in her haunted cellar — two tunnels run under her property.
Romancito also mentioned a spirit she met by the side of the road.
“I was driving and saw a man waving at me, but when I turned around, there was no one,” she said.
She later learned that he was probably a desencarnado.
“Many of them can only move a few feet away from the place where they died,” she said.
Romancito admitted that, despite her many experiences with spirits, she has never encountered a famous ghost like Padre Martinez or Mabel Dodge Luhan.
“Yet,” her husband, Rick Romancito, Tempo editor, quipped.
The writer shared some stories that are not included in “Ghosts & Haunted Places of Taos,” though they may be part of upcoming books.
The story about Las Calabazas, elemental beings she saw during a lighting storm, was one of them.
“The lighting was very bright,” she said. “I could see these figures walking by the tree line; they were tall, their arms were swinging and their clothes looked like pajamas, but instead of heads, they had enormous vegetables over their shoulders … squash and beets. They were using the energy from the storm to move across the field.”
Such elementals aren’t necessarily evil, Romancito said; they simply belong to a different dimension.
“They look gentle, but just in case, I didn’t want them to notice me,” she said. “So I kept quiet until they went away.”
“Ghosts & Haunted Places of Taos” will be followed by at least two more volumes.
“The second one is about places that aren’t located in the Historic District, like Martinez Hacienda, Mabel Dodge Luhan House and a few lodges,” Romancito said. “The third one will be about archetypal forces, like El Viborón, La Llorona and elemental beings.”
Romancito is perhaps the most qualified person to pen these books, as she is very familiar with most haunted places of Taos.
For about four years, she has been leading walking tours around famous locations such as the Kit Carson Memorial Cemetery (the graves of the three witches with their unmarked stones is one of the creepiest places I’ve ever seen), John Dunn House and the Old Taos County Courthouse and Jail, among others.
“I am just scratching the surface with the tours,” she said. “That was another reason why I wrote this book: I wanted to share all this information with people who aren’t able to take the tours, but are interested in the subject. Of course, the book contains more stories than the ones that I share during my tours.”
Romancito says she learns something new every time she leads a tour, either from locals who know about the history of the area, or visitors from other cities who have experienced or heard about paranormal activities somewhere else.
“With them, I have discovered many new approaches to these phenomena,” she said.
New Mexico Research and Investigation of the Paranormal
Taos is home to an organization that investigates diverse unexplained activities throughout New Mexico and surrounding areas: New Mexico Research and Investigation of the Paranormal.
Reyes Cisneros, co-founder of the organization, and Romancito have been working together since 2006.
They have conducted investigations with special equipment that registers paranormal activities in the former Moby Dickens bookstore, buildings in Doña Luz Lane and Ledoux St. and many other places.
“I love working with Melody,” Cisneros said. “She is very knowledgeable about these issues … and she is like our den mother.”
Romancito intended to create a keepsake kind of book, so it hasn’t been distributed widely, at least for now.
At this point, “Ghosts & Haunted Places of Taos” can be bought directly from her or through her website.
“This is the perfect book for those who want to know about ‘the other side’ of Taos,” Rick Romancito said.
To learn more about the tours or buy the book, visit https://ghostsoftaos.com. A Kindle version of the book is available on Amazon.