Halloween in Buenos Aires: Top 5 Spooky Legends
Halloween is a traditional and cultural event that occurs mainly in English-speaking countries, so for this reason it’s normal to assume Halloween in Buenos Aires does not exist. However, such celebrations do in fact take place in the city and tend to involve a number of elements connected to the lore surrounding witchcraft. As in English-speaking countries, the costumes, decorations and other items sold during this period revolve around witches, vampires, ghosts and monsters. Below is a list of the top 5 Halloween myths and legends of Buenos Aires.
1. The Golem of Barrio Once
The Golem of Barrio Once is an anthropomorphic figure from Jewish mythology formed from clay, which comes to life. It measures about 3 feet tall and is a kind of local hero who saves car accident victims and prevents theft. Legend has it that the Golem was born in the mid-sixteenth century and created by the hands of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel of Prague. However, while some claim it was hidden by the rabbi in a hospital annexe in Caballito, others believe that it is currently concealed in the darkness of the Pasaje Carlos Ambrosio Colombo.
2. The Lost Station
Line A is the oldest subway line in Buenos Aires and has thousands of stories surrounding it. For example, it has been said that they had to change the route of the line due to an encounter with a mysterious graveyard and that it is possible to see the ghost of a bride at a certain time between certain stations, amongst other fables. However, undoubtedly the most interesting legend is that it is a ‘lost’ station, i.e. it cannot be seen.
Some think that the line passes between the stations Pasco Sur and Alberti Norte, which were closed in the past half century as it was not efficient to have so many subway stops within walking distance. Nowadays, these stations can still be seen along the line, and there are many witnesses who claim with certainty that they have seen one of the stations fully lit with people dressed in period clothing, waiting for a train that will never arrive.
3. The Caretaker of Recoleta Cemetery
In 1910, the caretaker of Recoleta Cemetery, David Alleno, committed suicide. David was fascinated by the cemetery’s tombstones, which are today a tourist attraction, and began to develop an obsession, wishing with all his might that one of these tombs could someday be his eternal abode.
David started collecting money to buy his eternal spot in the cemetery. When his brother, the administrator of the cemetery at the time, won the lottery and shared the prize with him, David travelled to his hometown to order a beautiful tombstone worthy of standing alongside the many works of art in the cemetery. As soon as the tombstone was completed, he carved on its base the words "Fue el cuidador del cementerio desde 1881 hasta 1910" (He was the caretaker of the cemetery from 1881-1910) and then at the end of the year committed suicide. The following night, the new cemetery caretakers claimed to see the ghost of David wandering the aisles continuing to admire the tombstones.
4. The White Lady Luz Maria García Velloso
This is one of the most important legends of Buenos Aires, and perhaps the world. The white lady is a figure of urban folklore, the story of a woman who takes it upon herself to trick single men that surrender to her charms. Usually it is the ghost of a woman betrayed by her partner, or who lost children tragically. In Buenos Aires there are two alleged white ladies, one of whom is Luz Maria García Velloso, who died in 1925 aged 15 and was also buried in Recoleta Cemetery. Legend has it that long after her death, her spirit encountered several young men, who invited her for a walk or a coffee. After meeting them, the white lady would say that she felt cold, and the men would kindly offer her their coats. She would then accidentally spill something on the coat and promise to return it the next time they met. When the men arrived at her home to retrieve it, they were informed by her mother that she had died long ago. They would run to the cemetery to confirm whether or not it was true and find her tomb there along with the stained coat.
5. The White Lady Rufina Cambaceres
The other white lady is Rufina Cambaceres. There are different versions of her story, one of which is that after her father died, her widowed mother had a secret romance with the ex-president of Argentina, Hipolito Yrigoyen. Hipolito used to visit Rufina and her mother and the young girl, unaware of his secret relation with her mother, began falling in love of him. In May 1902, during Rufina's birthday celebrations in the Colon Theatre, a friend revealed this dirty secret to her, and the deception had such a great effect that her heart became paralysed. Rufina was buried in the same grave as her father and on the night of his funeral, the cemetery caretakers heard some noises in Rufina's grave. When they went to look at it, they noticed the coffin had been moved from its original place. They notified Rufina's family and when they went back, they were truly shocked by what they saw; Rufina's body had been turned the other way and her body and face were covered with marks, as was as the coffin's cover, as she'd had an apoplectic attack and woke up after she was buried. The legend says that she wanders around the cemetery in the night, crying for her beloved Hipolito, still dressed in all her clothes and jewels.
By Anna Flavia Castro | Translated by Camilla Day