Author Archives: mexicomystic

About mexicomystic

Expatriate American,living in Tlaxcala-Puebla area for the last 49 years. Officially accredited Tourist guide for the State of Tlaxcala.

More than ZIPPO Lighters

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Sometimes my wife tells me ….”You’re just a bum in the park, even worse, you’re a Circus Bum”.

Well, maybe so , I was on the Circus for a long time. But even a circus bum gets to rub elbows with the rich and famous sometimes. Let me tell you about  when I was in Show Biz.  In 1962 I was on the Cristiani Wallace Circus, Italian Brothers with a famous riding act and tons of talent. We were playing in Pennsylvania, I was on the Concessions Crew.

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The Cristiani Riding Act

bob circus

Yeah that was me, 22 years old and full of testerone.

Zippo-steel

We were in Bradford , Pennsylvania, A town famous for ZIPPO Lighters, but I ran into something interesting there and this is how it came about. We were setting up the tent and someone yelled at one of the aerial ballet girls, ” Happy Birthday Juanita”. A lady standing nearby said, Oh, is it your birthday darling, I’m going to help you celebrate. Well this lady bought wine and a cake and invited anyone who would like to come to her home.  Between shows I decided I would go and check it out, I caught a cab and went to the adress, it was a huge mansion and I went inside and they were serving wine. I looked around and there were paintings covering the walls, I was looking at one of several mostly blue figures when the lady said to me, My husband collects artwork, those are all Picassos when he was painting his Blue Period.

hsnley4   Mrs. Hanley in her home.HANLEY and the Train

The Hanleys receiving some Art pieces.

The painting looked so fresh I touched it. Later I heard it was painted about 1904.  There were also Manets and Cezannes hanging in the room.

Mrs, Hanley (Tullah) was born in Hungary, Her Twin sister was also at the party, there was a gong in the corner ,I couldnt resist , I rang it. Tullah started doing a belly dance. She laughed and said she and her sister once did a strip tease act. Mr. Hanley came in, he looked very aristocratic. I had another glass of wine and looked at the time. I told Tullak, Thanks for the wine its getting close to show time I have to go. As I walked out the door another guy who had came in with Mr. Hanley was also leaving and said he was passing by the circus and could give me a ride. He got into a brand new Caddilac. As we were going along I asked him What kind of work he was in and he said He was the Director of State Income Tax. And What about Mr. Hanley, I asked?
He said, “He’s an heir to Quaker State Oil”

Then he said something that surprised me and I thought about what he said for years. He said to me, ” You’ve got it made”. I asked , “What do you mean?”

He said, “You work outdoors under open skies, in the fresh air, you meet interesting people, you travel all year to new places and you’re surrounded by beautiful women.”  I thought, well. yes thats true. And I said, “Well, come join us, they’re always looking for help and you have a  talent obviously for book keeping.”

He said, ” Oh no, I have too much invested here to do that”.  Ah heres the Circus, I got out and thanked him. Later I thought about that conversation. He was wealthy and I was a circus bum….but I had something that he would like to have and couldn’t…it was a thing called Freedom.  It’s like the Kris Kristofferson song , Bobby McGee” that says:  Freedom’s just another word for Nothing Left to Lose.

Sometimes even  a circus bum gets to rub elbows with the rich.

I heard years later that a Picasso painting and a Manet was stolen from their home valued at more than a million dollars but were recovered when the thieves abandoned them in an old shack. Mr. Hanley passed away a few years later and his wife passed away in 1992. She donateed many works of art to museums. She said “Out of all my husbands collections I’m the one he likes to brag about”
I can jus imagine Mr. Hanley waiting at the back stage entrance with a bouquet of roses for Tullahs act to finish.

  

A couple of years later I was in Bradford again and I spotted  someone I thought was Tullah and I said, “Hello Mrs. Hanley”.   She said, No, I’m her twin sister Amy” So I took her in the Big Top and got her a ringside seat.  Some people even if they’re rich still have the courtesy to talk and act decently toward lower classes, something you rarely see anymore.

 

 

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Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico

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El Presidente  (the orange one), says he’s going to release documents about JFK’s assassination this week . Hah! we’ll see about that. Analysts say there probably won’t be much new material except maybe some things about Oswalds journey to Mexico. Some sources claim he never came but it looks like there was a lot of finagling going on.

After reading all the theories and reports,etc; because I’ve lived amongst Mexicans and get a feel as to what’s a coverup and what has a tinge of truth about it I think he did come to Mexico, we may never get the whole story but you can put pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together and get an idea even if pieces are missing.

It was said… Oswald took a bus to Mexico City and stayed about a week. He stayed at the Comercio Hotel.

HOTEL COMERCIO  1963

I don’t think this place exists, it either went out of  business or went down with the earthquake, it was a dump, about $5 bucks a night in 1963.

reports say Oswald called the Russian Embassy and the Cuban Embassy and went to talk to them. Both places were closely watched and phone calls monitored 24/7, photos taken of anyone entering or leaving. Mexico City was a hotbed of intrigue back then just like Berlin, the Cold war was in full swing.

   The Cuban Embassy 1963

   The Russian Embassy 1963

Then WHERE are photos of Lee Harvey??  After the assassination a photo of a man leaving the Cuban Embassy claiming to be Oswald surfaced.

    No  way!! I think it was a “Red Herring” Another strange thing was the phone calls, the call to the Cuban Embassy asking for an appointment was in perfect Spanish, Oswald didnt speak Spanish…OK, maybe he had someone make the call for him, could be, he was seen at the Quaker Organization Residence (they sent missionaries to Latin America) someone said an unknown Quaker gave Oswald  a ride to the Russian Embassy on a motorcycle. Later it was revealed that the CIA recruited field agents and placed them there from the main office in Pennsylvania. (Odd Coincidence?) Then there was a call to the Russian Embassy in broken Russian but Oswald spoke perfect Russian because of his stay in Russia. Then who was it? Also rumored that Oswald met with Valery Kostikov a Russian KGB Agent .      Oswald in ’63.

According to Mexican Secretary named Sylvia who worked at the Cuban Embassy Oswald wanted a transit Visa from Cuba to Russia but was told it couldnt be done from Mexico City, he left in anger but returned the next day and was denied a visa again. Now here is something that happened that has a ring of truth about it… She told him… MAYBE if you get a letter asking for support from some big name in the Communist Party it would help expedite the situation. Now we hear several rumors that are unconfirmed but very possibly accurate. Oswald was in Mexico another 4 days. He was seen at the University of Mexico (A place loaded with Marxist at the time) where students were having a TWIST PARTY (Chubby Checker was the rage at the time).

 

It was also rumored someone from the Cuban Embassy was at the party and had said: “That damned Kennedy should be killed” Did Oswald hear that and did it plant the seed of an idea in his brain? Now what happened we don’t know but the person who swore she saw him at the party was no other than the wife of Octavio Paz a very famous and well known Author. Whatever, Oswald returned to Dallas and we all know what happened that November in 1963.

 

So my theory is Chubby Checker had something to do with it. Maybe we’ll get some answers next week but I hear many Politicians are trying to block opening the documents claimng it would be a security breach.

CRADLE OF THE NATION

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cuna

Tlaxcala likes to call itself the Cradle of the Nation (Cuna de la Nacion), because during the conquest , 1519 till 1521, many conquistadors “married” native women and the following year gave birth  they claim to the first “Mestiza” children. Half Spanish and  half native. The first true Mexicans.  BUT… in reality by going back aways in time to 1511 we discover that a Spanish ship with explorers sank uff the coast of Yucatan and only two men survived and made it to shore where they were captured and made slaves by the Mayans. Their names were Geronimo Aguilar, a priest explorer and Gonzalo Guerrero a sailor. They spent seven years amongst the Mayans and became assemilated into the tribe and learned the Mayan language. Geronimo the Priest maintained his vows of celibacy but Gonzalo the sailor after a year or so married a native girl and had two children, Thus becoming the father of the first Mestizo children in Mexico.
A few years later Hernan Cortes stopped in Yucatan and discovered them and Geronimo jumped at the chance to be able to return to Spain.  But Gonzalo refused to go with them, not only did he stay with the tribe but when other Spaniard treasure seekers arrived he fought along with the natives against the Spanish and ended up being killed.

While in Cempoala, Veracruz, the Spaniards were given some native girls and amongst them was a girl named “Marina” or so named by Cortes, later she was called malintzi,.. she had lived on the Coast and knew Mayan but as a slave moved to the area where Nahuatl language was spoken. When Cortes found this out he had someone who could speak to everyone under Moctezumas power… she could then intrepret it to Mayan and Geronimo would reintrepret it into Spanish.  Later on Malintzi would become Cortes’ lover and bear him a son.

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It was said that she learned Spanish within 3 or 4 months time. and she was about 17 years of age. An Amazing feat. Although many consider her a traitor and the Tlaxcalans also for teaming up with the Spanish, you have to consider the circumstances of the time.Tlaxcala was surrounded and embargoed for over 50 years and at constant war with the Aztecs, Malintzi had been sold as a slave and it was her chance to break those chains.

After the fall of the Aztecs, Geronimo was granted land by the Viceroys for his participation in the Conquest and Malintzi and her son was given a house in Tenochitlan, Now Mexico City , it can be seen across from the Archeological Ruins of the Templo Mayor in downtown Mexico City.  Her son as a young man was involved in an uprising against the Royalty and beheaded.

Cortes abandoned Malintzi and returned to Spain, He was already married to a wealty woman there. He lost all his fortune and died practically in poverty.  Fate has many twists and turns.

Knitting in Tlaxcala with Juanita

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This is an old blog, our dear friend Steve passed away and we sure do miss him. Patricia returned to their home in Wisconsin. Really great friends.

Silversard@Genuine-Tourist.com

Our gracious host, Juanita, is very talented.  One such talent is a style of knitting that does NOT use knitting needles, but only fingers and is very “rapido.”  At our “Welcome Party,” she presented MsSardo (Patricia) with a recent sample of her knitting.  See following . . .   

 So, the ladies wanted to know how to make such nice clothing so quickly.  If you are interested, read on . . .

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AZTEC DRUGS and Herbs

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Psychotropics , herbs and plants used in Prehispanic Rituales

The Indian tribes of Mexico had a Cornucopia of plants to choose from in their natural medicine chest. It was said that after the Conquest (1519 – 1521) that within a 3 or 4 year period the Apothecary shops of Europe tripled in size because of the newly discovered plants that were discovered.

For the most part because of the huge amount of herbs I will stick to the better known  ones that people are familiar with.

In Mexico City at the Museum of anthropology you can see a statue of Xochipilli, the goddess of flowers, dancing and love games. Around the base of the statue you can see different types of plants and flowers.  There are psylicibin mushrooms, tobacco, cacao flowers and white and blue morning glories.

Xochipilli goddess of flowers   sinicuichi   wildtobaccoinarizona

Also pictured is a plant called sinicuichi (sun opener) which causes auditory hallucinations. I would surmise that the priests would eat these to hear what the gods had to say to them

Another well known plant is Toloache or the devils herb as the Spanish called it. It was used to induce visions for hunters to help them catch prey, supposedly.  It’s from the Datura family and the Indians believed it would give them supernatural powers.  I have heard of women on the Gulf Coast (Yucatan) putting it in men’s coffee because they thought it would cause them to fall in love  with them. A very dangerous and potent drug if it’s given in too high a dosage.

the Devil's Herb  Toloache Datura plant

The Huichol Indians  in the USA and parts of Northern Mexico have a ritualistic pilgrimage every year to gather Peyote, an extremely hallucinogenic cactus that causes visions similar to LSD causing them to go into a trance of altered state.

Huichol Indians   peyote painting

Morning glory seeds were also given to natives being counseled by high priests are Shamans. Thirteen seeds would be ground and added to a drink then the patient would be taken to bed and the priests would listen to his “dream” to decide what needed to be done.

morning glories

And of course magic mushrooms , Psylicibins, which are common around the Oaxacan area were used in Aztec times and even now Shamans there perform a ritualist Velada or Wake.

magic mushrooms  images (1) Maria_Sabina tim leary

waltcri-cri/ francisco soler dylan

dancing hippos burning aztec books

An article appeared in Life magazine  in 1957 about the mushroom rituals and many famous people went to try them. It’s chemical composition is very similar to LSD. Amongst home were people like, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, Timothy O’LearyKeith Richards, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Writer Aldous Huxley and surprisingly… Walt Disney visited well known  Shamaness Maria Sabinas on six different occasions . It was said he would go to Oaxaca and stay a couple of months each year at a hotel near the village.  Much of this is hearsay and hard to confirm but it makes us wonder about Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland Now. Disney did an animated cartoon for Mexican songwriter Francisco Javier Soler. Francisco was known Internationally as Cri-Cri and he wrote childrens songs. Disney said he was a Genius who understood the minds of children.
Many plants were used for their curative powers but the knowledge of many of them were lost when the Spaniards deemed the Codex Books of the Aztecs were demon possessed and ordered thousands of them to be burned.

THE FIRING SQUAD

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The Firing Squad

I was browsing through some old photos and I ran across a photo of my wife’s Uncle Moses When he was a much younger man and played catcher on a baseball team in Puebla in the early 40’s.

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Uncle Moses was the best man at my wedding and a great guy. So I found this photo of him on the team but there was something else about the photo that caught my eye. I told my son, look at this guy standing in the back row wearing a hat, there’s something wrong with his face.

ball team about 1940      10634360_10204461065107707_2124302285_n

 

He looked at it and said, You’re right, it looks deformed like he has no chin. He said, I’ve seen this guy or a photo of him somewhere before. So he thought about it for awhile and said, You know where I think I saw him was at Ripley’s  Believe it or Not Museum in New York.
 So we started searching through Ripley’s internet pages and sure enough we found some photos of the same Guy. It turned out to be a very interesting story.

The man who returned from his own execution

 

General Carranza

General Carranza

Back during the Mexican Revolution (1915) a young man by the name of  Wenceslao Moguel , whio lived in Yucatan, Mexico joined up with Revolutionaries fighting on the side of Venustiano Carranza gathered up a group of students to fight the opposing enemy, poorly armed and inexperienced they were captured and a Col. Ortiz ordered their execution by firing squad. Wenceslao was in the last group to face a squad of 8 soldiers and after a cigarette they fired 8 rounds into his body, he fell and the Col. Went over with a revolver and shot him in the head with a Coup de Grace shot.

Mexican Firing Squad

Mexican Firing Squad


 Another battle was taking place so the bodies were left where they were. But Wenceslao wasn’t dead, although severly wounded he managed to crawl to the church of St. James Apostle three blocks away where a church member  found him, took him home a helped to stop his  bleeding cared for him till he recuperated. After the Revolution ended he became known as the miracle of the executed man who returned from the dead.  He traveled around the country and even to the USA where he was invited on the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Radio Program in 1937.

Wenceslao Moguel Survivor of Firing Squad on Ripleys Radio Program

          Wenceslao Moguel
Survivor of Firing Squad on Ripleys Radio Program

Wenceslao Moguel and Robert Ripley

Wenceslao Moguel and Robert Ripley

 

  He returned to his beloved Yucatan home where he lived to be 85 years old and he passed away about 1975. 

Then I got to wondering, why was he at this baseball game. I think it was because he was paying a visit to Uncle Moses Father, )my wifes grandfather=, Major Rosalio Romero who had been in command of the military headqurters of General Carranzas troops stationed in Tlaxcala.