"Evil is like a cancer, when you're a child"
Quote by Migdoel Noel Torres
I’ve gone through and heard so many horrifying stories since I was a child that my life as a kid can only be labeled as petrifying. Have you ever been so scared that you open your mouth to scream or want to yell or speak and nothing comes out. In fact even making a noise to get attention is impossible because you don’t want whatever is making you petrified upset. For years I thought that only happened to me until I got a little older and saw a Bud Abbott and Lou Costello movie (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.) Then I realized that being almost scared to death made one speechless, even noiseless.
My name is Noel Torres. I was born in Kings County Hospital in the mid-fifties. I’ve lived my young life in East New York, Brownsville, and Bushwick all in Brooklyn. My parents are Puerto Rican. My father (Polo) was born in El Riel de Patillas and my mom (Carmen) was a few towns away in Guayama. Now the ladder town is known as a witchcraft town, it’s just like Salem was in 1692-93 where a witch and warlock craze swept the small Puritan community, and many men and even some children were accused of witchcraft. By the end of the trials in 1693, 24 people died, but contrary to popular belief and what you see in the movies, witches weren’t burned at the stake alive. They were hanged. This was the sentence for those thought to be witches or warlocks. In Salem 20 were hanged, one Giles Corey was pressed to death with stones and three were jailed. Guayama if they had witches were luckier, known were executed. Guayama is known as “La Ciudad Bruja” (Witch City) or “Pueblo de los Brujos” (City of Witches). Even today the baseball team there is called, Los Brujos de Guayama (The Warlocks of Guayama.) And one of their big festivals held in March is called Carnaval Brujo (Warlock Carnival.)
Some people there still practice Santaria either for good or bad. Santaria is a belief, a mixture of Catholic religion with African religion. A blending of Mesa Blanca spiritualism, Brujeria, Santerismo, Folk Catholicism, Taino Indigenous magic, and voodoo. It’s very important to know that witchcraft is everywhere, but in some countries, it's practiced more than others. Puerto Rico compared to other islands such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and especially Haiti, has fewer witchcraft practices. The city has a history of witchcraft, as does the town of Loisa, the difference is that the people of Loisa, have darker completion, while the people of Guayama are mixed. I, as most of my family are, what many say of Caucasian descent since my great-grandparents are from Spain and France. Still, the knowledge of witchcraft that was handed down is about the same in both towns. Although my parents shunned me away from it, I was still able to pick up some customs from watching some rituals I saw growing up and through what I went through when I got caught in a witches' spell when I was in second grade, that’s for a later blog.
This is how we got our city's name and reputation. Guayama (Southern Part of Puerto Rico) as I am told got its reputation after the Spaniards brought over slaves from Africa, and they breed not only with Spaniards but with Native Indians called Tainos. It’s said that the leader of that area was a Chief called Guayama, he was a powerful medicine man, Witch, Wicca, or Wise. That makes me a descendant of these people. To this day people always say be wary of Guyanese. And growing up in such an environment I learned at a very young age the meaning of why. I also learned the meaning of fear and the meaning of being petrified.
A few years ago I wrote a book called Conjures (Sold on Amazon.) And a horror film of the book Conjures is in the planning stages. When I first decided to write the horror Conjures, well it wasn’t the horror I was going to write. That wasn’t even the name. That came afterward. I first started to write a horror of true events when my parents told me about my past experiences with the supernatural, but those feelings of dread and fear of the past catching up with me again was too much for me to bear, so I decided to write about fictional monsters killing people. Monsters that I know aren’t real although there is some truth in some of those legendary creatures that roamed the Earth and/or the Universe, like Aliens, Vampires, Werewolves, Succubus, and even Zombies, yes Zombies who do exist by the way, but not like you see in the movies with the exception of "The Serpent and The Rainbow." Yes, I know the truth of Zombies which I will tell you, how I know, and who taught me about them in a future blog.
My father owned a 3 family house on Strauss Street between Sutter and Pitkin Ave in Brownsville York, Brooklyn 11212. We had an apartment on the third floor. My father also owned the Bodega (Grocery Store) in the building in where some wrestlers used to hang in. My father was always at the old SunnySide Garden arena in Queens watching his friends wrestle. My father was good friends with some well-known wrestlers of those days. Wrestlers like WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino, Mr. Puerto Rico, Argentina Apollo, and many others. Some of those wrestlers used to go to my father's store and drink just before a fight.
So I will start with my first encounter with the Supernatural. I was about 5 years old and my family and I had gone to see a wrestling match at the Sunnyside Garden arena. On this particular night as we got home, my grandmother opened the door and the rest of the family followed. I remember dashing in to be the first one in the apartment. I stopped cold because it was dark inside, an eerie light was coming from the lamp post that barely lit the living room because of some obstruction blocking all the light from entering. I could see immediately as I looked at the window that a figure by the window was blocking the lamp light from illuminating the living room. It was a dark figure about 3 or 4 feet tall, it had scary-looking wings. it had hands with sharp long nails. I never noticed its feet but later on, I found out they had long nails too, and whatever it was had horns. The strange thing was that this creature was mostly on the outside of the window. I did not get scared, maybe because I was too young to know better, but when my Grandmother saw it she started to scream the words Jesus magnifica (Praise the Lord and magnify Him) and she started to make an imaginary cross with her hand gestures from her head, to her belly button, to her left shoulder and then the right shoulder. Then still started waving her right hand quickly on her side, as to make her fingers snap. The Bird-like creature flew away as my father and mom carrying my baby sister (Edna aka E.T. called that before the movie by the way,) ran in. My dad turned on the lights as my mom put the baby down and tried to console my inconsolable grandmother. My grandmother just pointed at the window and said, “Un Denomio, Un Demonio!” (A Demon, a Demon.) My dad looked out the window and looked back at her, “No hay nada ahi” (There is nothing there.) Now worried at seeing everyone else so concerned I told my dad that I had seen a strange, almost human bird on the window ledge. My mom grabbed me and hugged me as she and my grandmother at that time devoted Catholics began praying.
It wasn’t till years later that I found out what I had seen that night. It was a Gargoyle. (By the way, NYC has the most Gargoyle statues in the world.) To this day I hate watching those movies although I did see the one that starred Rae Dawn Chong in, Tales From The Crypt’s “You Broke Your Vow 1990” I saw it for two reasons 1- I had to see if it still effected me like before (And it did) and 2- because I had a crush on Rae Dawn Chong.