Every night, at 6pm, Joseph puts in his bedroom corners, plates with mustard seeds and bottles of holy water. Also, in his nightstand, he puts images of saints, holly books and garlic cloves underneath his bed. All these to make sure, a witch doesn’t appear while he’s sleeping.
La Jagua is a small town in Colombia with 1.400 habitants, located in the state of Huila. Originally, it was an Indian community and a place for Indian ceremonies. Today, this town is recognized by few. For those who know it, it is “the town of witches.”
Joseph describes the witches as “weird creatures, with sharp nose, always wearing black dresses to camouflage within the dark, who are always smoking and laughing… they are inoffensive spirits that flew from Europe through the Magdalena River to avoid death at bonfires.”
Joseph says that he hasn’t seen them and that they haven’t hurt him. However, some nights, he wakes up, with plenty of bruises around his body. Once he goes to the doctor, they disappear.
There is people that mentioned that they saw them. “One day I was walking at night and witch felt from a tree… She was an old woman with sharpie nose, no foot, flying in a broom. She was looking at me with her penetrating eyes… I started to sweat, tried to scream and my voice didn’t come out, meanwhile, I prayed.” The day after, he woke up with bruises all over his body.
Other man mentioned that, every night a woman with long hair, sleeps next to him. He hasn’t seen her because, once she enters in his room his body paralyzed from head to toe, he can’t open his eyes or talk.
Most habitants of La Jagua have their own story to tell about witches. Most of them believe that witches exist and try to bleed and protect themselves wit traditional rituals. The funniest is that these doesn’t avoid them to appear and the people of this town have learned to live with them.
As many Latin American folk tales they come from The Indians, who developed these stories fully charged of imagination and that are still alive by being transmitted through generations.
My dad is from Huila. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t has any fear and doesn’t believe in witches and spirits. I asked him if he has ever been into la Jagua…. His face turned white and start to talk to me with his serious voice “I don’t believe in witches and anything of that but, if they exist, I know they live there.”