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Old 09-08-2006   #11
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The two volumes of short stories by Quiroga I have (actually they're my wife's books) are published by Editorial Porrúa of México and the first of these does indeed contain "La gallina degollada". So I look forward to reading the tale. Thanks for the advice.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 09-08-2006   #12
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In which part of México do you live, by the way?

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 09-11-2006   #13
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Quote Originally Posted by mark_samuels";p=&quot View Post
In which part of México do you live, by the way?

I'm from Monterrey, Nuevo León, at the Northeast of the country, just a couple hours drive from Texas (At the speed I drive)... I'm planning to leave the country and live somewhere in Europe, though, likely Spain, either Asturias or Navarra... that's where my ancestry comes from and I have always wanted to go back there, for mere nostalgic reasons, but I might as well end up somewhere else, perhaps in some Slavic country...

Anyway, people die...
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Old 09-11-2006   #14
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Monterrey!

I spent a few days there last year, the mountains are incredible and, at night, it looks as if the sky has been turned upside down and all the stars have come down to earth.

I prefer D.F. though. Soy chilango.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 09-11-2006   #15
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Re: Donald Crowhurst

Yeah, although that when you get lucky. The industry and the excess of light have gradually darkened our skies, (mind the pun) except in the outskirts and some neighborhoods. Where I live, right in the outside of the big city, in one of those new "walled" neighborhoods crowned by the mountains, you can see quite a bit of stars. I'm actually buying a new telescope late this year, since I sold my old one. Where I used to live, in Obispado (the neighborhood on the hill crowned by the Obispado museum, you probably visited it) you could also see quite a few stars, but mainly because the street my house was in had very few street lights because the neighboring house was a large asylum like home for old ladies, ran by an order of Spanish nuns, and the poor women were bothered by the lights.

That charity home was the incarnation of misery if I've ever seen one. They were all senile wealthy ladies left there by their families to rot. Various of these women went insane there and it saw two purging fires during my life time in that house, both times resulting in various old ladies ending in the hospital, at least five of them died. I have been told that in the 1930's it was a nursery home until some wacko broke in and killed a few of the homeless kids (apparently a disgruntled employee) it was latter bought by some Spanish nuns and converted in the asylum type institution it became. After the last fire, the nuns and the ladies moved to a fresh new building, just a couple of streets above the hill. I managed to break in once and there was an eerie feeling of death and stagnation on the air. The building's interior is decorated with burnt effigies of Christ, the Virgin and blackened crosses that were no longer useful. Despite my scientific rationale, I kept feeling observed, perhaps by derelict tramps, but I blame infrasound waves for that (there were two radio stations near the area). It was pretty Ligottian, in a sense.

It was bought by some doctor some months latter and, contrary to common sense, he tore the whole thing down instead of remodeling it. The lot stood vacant for a few months and it was then turned into a flat parking lot for the business growing a couple of streets down. The effigies ended up in some rare fly market somewhere, or so I was told. Pretty eerie fate for that building, if you ask me.

Anyway, people die...
-Current 93


I am simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
-Emil Cioran
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Old 09-11-2006   #16
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Re: Donald Crowhurst

Karnos, your tale about the fate of the "charity home" is a good reason for all of us to either read or reread "Dr. Locrian's Asylum" (yet again). Even the stars, " bright puppets in the silent, staring void" are mentioned. A fantastic post!

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

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Old 09-11-2006   #17
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Re: Donald Crowhurst

Wait until I tell you more. The entire hill has an incredibly interesting story, you could write a book about it. It is crowned by El Obispado, back in the day the house of the citys bishop (Obispado comes from the word Obispo=bishop) you have a whole view of the city from up there, there are two graveyards just a stone throw from the top, one of them covered by vines, rotten greenery and fallen crosses and effigies. It was in that hill (and this will sound pretty Lovecraftian, think Charles Dexter Ward) where an ancestor of mine, along with other heretics, was burnt by the New Spanish branch of the Spanish Inquisition. They usually punished the heretics at the square, but his case was different. He was a blue blood, the son of a lesser count or duke with properties in Asturias, Spain. He married a Lutheran woman he met somewhere in what todays northern Germany, I think Hamburg or Lübeck (Im not quite sure, its somewhere in the records) The woman, curious enough, turned to Catholicism, whereas he converted to the Lutheran faith. They traveled here, where they made a small name for themselves, but unfortunately for them, the authorities found out he practiced the Lutheran faith in secret and no amount of bribery could get him out of that mess, so they caught him, judged him and was executed along with a couple of marranos (pigs, the term used to describe converted jews who practiced Judaism in secret) that held important position in the local government. He left eleven ( ) children, six boys and five girls and they and their mother were forced to change the surname (Thats why mine is written slightly different from the original that can be found to this day in various Asturians back in Spain)

El Obispado had an assortment of secret passageways that connected to various properties of both State and Church (although back then they were almost part of the same entity). The use of these tunnels during the time of the Viceroy is anyones guess, so you can let your Lovecraftian fancies go wild, but it is said that, among many things, they were used to smuggle large bribes and even women to the bishop. It was an strategic position during the French Intervention and during the time of the American/Mexican war, briefly before the siege of Monterrey by the American forces, El Obispado was used as a headquarters and the tunnels as escape routes; quite a few more executions took place. It gained quite a bit of bad reputation during the Mexican Revolution as the headquarters of a sadist bunch.

The whole hill is teaming with old houses and structures. There is an old building called Carmen Romano; todays an eerie music and dance academy, but back during the Viceroy it was a convent inhabited by an Order of nuns. The building has large and eerie hallways, large halls, classrooms, cells and dungeons (today remodeled as class rooms) horny nurses saw the end of their lives in those dungeons, where they were flagellated, beaten and tortured quite a lot of blood was spilled in those halls. You can actually listen to strange and quite disturbing sounds in that place, but of course it is the result of old and new materials being exposed to the constant reverberation of sound waves daily (it is, after all, a music academy in an old stone building).

By now you probably have a firm picture of this hill, but to make matters even more interesting, there are at least five houses that visitors claim are haunted. (This not mentioning the stone stairs that lead directly to the Obispado, covered in vines and through which a cold wind always travels) A lot of stuffs been said about these houses, from devil worshiping to drug traffic to good ol haunts. One of such houses was my front neighbors house (The asylum was my left hand neighbor). It was built in the 1940s or 1950s by a very devout Irish architect thats buried in one of the wasted graveyards I told you previously. My neighbor at the time, -and you can start thinking about more Ligottian fun here-, was a crazy local clown that had a shortly lived TV show. He kept claiming the house was haunted, that he had crazy dreams every night and he and his family kept experiencing bizarre events such as whispers, flickering lights and the like. Of course, it all could have been a lie, but he was so distressed about it he called a priest to check on the house TWICE.

Another of such houses is officially empty. There was a brutal mass rape-murder combo in the 1950s. The houses been on the market ever since, but no one wants to buy it, however, because it does have an inhabitant; a demented old lady who waters the dead flowers in the garden every day. Rumor has it that shes actually a survivor of the ordeal, but I cant confirm any of that. Ill see if I can take a picture of that house tomorrow and post it here haunted or not, its eerie either way.

As you can imagine, lots of Goths, bohemian artists and anyone interested in the dark side of history haunt this hill frequently.

That was long, my longest post in TLO. Ill leave you with a picture from El Obispado.

Obispado

Anyway, people die...
-Current 93


I am simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
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Old 09-12-2006   #18
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What a fascinating account! Thanks for posting it, Karnos.

Unfortunately, no, I didn't get up to El Obispado (and in fact knew nothing about it until you just enlightened me) but I regret having missed the opportunity to do so! I was only in Monterrey for a few days as my wife was involved in an international gathering of writers on the subject of Jean-Paul Sartre.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 09-12-2006   #19
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Re: Donald Crowhurst

Obispado is loosing some of its charm, though. Since a citys center always grows outwards (at least thats the rule in the consumer Americas, I dont know in good old Europe) it slowly but steadily eats away the outer layers, incorporating what used to be non-center areas into the center, whereas the rest of the city grows on the periphery. Since Obispado is near the citys center (not the pretty area of the center, but the ugly one, thriving with business of all kinds) it has slowly changed into a less baroque form of itself. When I was a kid I remember walking amongst the old houses, always in a half lit state because of the lush trees in their gardens (My house had an incredibly tall pine tree, thats why the front façade was always cool in warm days). Now those houses have been sold, their owners dead, and turned into business, the trees have been cut and the houses vandalized to fit their new found purpose. Fortunately the houses on the upper streets are still intact.

I wasnt able to take a picture of the house of the murders, it was a rainy day autumn is coming. I owe it for you tomorrow!

Anyway, people die...
-Current 93


I am simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
-Emil Cioran
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Old 09-14-2006   #20
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Re: Donald Crowhurst

Quote Originally Posted by Karnos";p=&quot View Post
That charity home was the incarnation of misery if I've ever seen one. They were all senile wealthy ladies left there by their families to rot. Various of these women went insane there and it saw two purging fires during my life time in that house, both times resulting in various old ladies ending in the hospital, at least five of them died.
I've already mentioned Thomas Ligotti's "Dr. Locrian's Asylum" as more or less required reading in relation to the tragedies at the "charity home."

Langdon Jones' 1968 story "The Coming of the Sun" is the account of a devastating fire within a mental hospital. The story is included in Mr. Jones' excellent collection The Eye of the Lens (1972). I first encountered the story as a teenager in Harry Harrison's anthology Author's Choice 3 in 1973 or so. Langdon Jones himself from the story introduction in Author's Choice 3: "The first idea came when I was watching the television news, and heard of a fire in a mental hospital, in which several patients in padded cells had been burned to death. Apart from finding this a particularly horrifying idea, I began to speculate on how this destructive fire was interpreted in the patients' fantasies, and that was the beginning of the story."

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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