Tuesday, 13 January 2009

In search of witches in rural Spain

I recently traveled to Galicia, in North-West Spain, in search of examples of "Brujeria and Santeria". In Lamens terms Witchcraft. I asked around in neighbouring farms to the one where my dad comes from and where I used to spend my summers as a little kid.
I'd always heard stories about
meigas , Galician witches, and how they lived in the forests and cast there spells on little kids. Although being from London I didn't really expect these to be true.
This part of Galicia is extremely rural and up until 40-50 years ago they didn't have any electricity or motor vehicles, everyone walked everywhere and worked the land with bulls and cows instead of tractors. There was no money and if you wanted to eat you had to grow it or kill it yourself.
I was told, that due to these circumstances, stories of folklore and witchcraft came about, probably a little bit out of boredom too.
Nevertheless I set out to find some huts in a nearby field, where a supposed middle-aged and very cagey male Witch of sorts operates. I was told that he was very fond of nailing animal hearts to the ground and walls and lighting everything with 100's of small candles.
I set out at 7am on my walk to the field.

As I left the farm I passed these 5 or 6 cows, I stopped to look at them and they were ALL staring at me from various different positions. This already freaked me out, as I'm not used to seeing cows or having them look at me like they've been sent by the devil and they know what I'm up to.
I quickly kept walking through the blinding fog and freezing cold which was not helping the already very eerie feel of the whole thing.
I eventually found the path off the main road, where not a single car had passed by, which lead to this mans field and as I turned a corner I found this;

There they where, the four small huts and that is not a wonky lense on my camera, the fog was pretty thick. All of a sudden everything I looked at seamed a bit evil, from the roofs of the buildings to the trees and the bushes. I suddenly noticed I was alone it was 7:20am and the mad farmer turned Witch might accuse me "of being on his land". I already envisioned a toothless crone wielding a shot gun and a necklace made of ears.
These are some of the other snaps;
Notice the white flag and palm tree leaf, he had also filled in the gaps around the top of the roofs so as to stop people snooping.
I then scarpered pretty quickly and went back to bed and back to sleep.
Pretty strange morning.

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