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Adobe Angels: The Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos
Antonio R. Garcez
Red Rabbit Press, 170 pages

Adobe Angels: The Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos
Antonio R. Garcez
Antonio R. Garcez was raised in a home with strong traditional ties to the spiritual world. He took it upon himself to research ghost stories of New Mexico. Antonio's maternal Grandfather, who was a Mescalero Apache from Southern New Mexico, attended the Santa Fe Indian school in his youth and had a great influence on him. Antonio's paternal grandmother, who was Otomi Indian from Old Mexico, also had an impact on his spiritual direction. During his childhood, he was taught by both sets of grandparents to be cautious and respectful towards spirits, folk healers, witches and forces considered to be occult in origin.

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Red Rabbit Press

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

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I do believe in spooks! Or, I don't. It's one of those, anyway. Just about everyone falls into one or the other category. Some, probably, are in the disbelieve-but-don't-take-a-chance-of-offending middle ground. Believing, however, has never been a requirement for enjoying a good ghost story. The Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos at its best is a very good ghost story -- at its worst, it's still an unusual and entertaining new slant on regional history and a much-needed record of oral histories.

Garcez' Adobe Angels series takes a serious look at the supernatural side of New Mexico. After giving the reader a healthy dose of history about the area, the haunted structures, and the people -- Indian, Mexican, Anglo -- who settled and resettled the state. Few areas of the United States have been as hotly disputed and have changed hands so many times. Maybe that's what makes for the tenacious nature of the spirits that reportedly cling to their territory.

In conversations with individuals who have recounted their brushes with these ghosts, Garcez offers first-hand accounts of the hauntings. "First-hand" may be a bit of a misnomer; either every resident of New Mexico shares identical speech patterns with their neighbours, or Garcez has done a great deal more editing of the interviews than he implies. This practice has diluted the uniqueness of the accounts somewhat. It would be interesting to read the actual transcripts of the interviews, to get the flavour of the region in the dialect of its people.

The storytellers in The Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos share tales of ghosts -- both benevolent and malevolent. Sister George, the big-hearted nun who roams the grounds of her old school, is one of the good Samaritans who linger. In Taos Pueblo, Indian spirits appear to those spending a night sleeping under the stars. The sad cries of an infant haunt the sterile halls of La Residencia hospital. And demons reach out from the other side to terrify and wreak havoc on those foolish enough to call to them.

Taken as factual accounts or as imaginative storytelling, the narratives make for almost compulsive reading. Even in the sections where the "ghosts" manifest as little more than a footfall or a feeling of being watched, the background information is enough to carry the reader through to the, shall we say, juicier segments. Okay, not every spirit can be chilling or dangerous or heart-rending.

If The Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos catches your attention, you don't have to stop there. Apparently, you can't swing a molajete with giving a ghost a bloody nose in New Mexico. Garcez has continued his quest, documenting the ghosts of Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico, and even extending his search into Arizona.

Try one or devour them all. I just might go for the entire series. I could use a course in the history of the Southwest, and this is the most painless path I've discovered.

Copyright © 1999 Lisa DuMond

Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. She co-authored the 45th anniversary issue cover of MAD Magazine. Previews of her latest, as yet unpublished, novel are available at Hades Online.


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