The house of the spirits

“I only believe in what my eyes see and I do not tell lies, because I do not like to deceive people”, warns Feliberto Cala Vidal before telling his story, in order to avoid suspicion.

“I lived in that house for about a year with my wife, until one day I said: my old woman, I’m leaving, because I cannot continue here. I felt I was dying, that they did not want me, and if they did not accept me, I had to leave.

“One night we were talking and I was very cold. I tried to move my arms and I could not do it. I tried to move my legs and I could not do it either. Then I saw a lantern moving through the air, glued to the wall. When it was about a meter high from the floor I said to my wife: turn on the light, and the lantern was suspended. Little by little it became dim, until it completely disappeared, and I began to get warm again.

At his 67 years old, Feliberto has never been a man going around with stories of appearances. In fact, he had never noticed anything supernatural before moving to the haunted house of Palmarito, back in the 1990s, nor did he feel it again after he left the place.

"I just believe in what my eyes see and I do not tell lies", Feliberto says. Photo: Ronald Suárez.
“I just believe in what my eyes see and I do not tell lies”, Feliberto says. Photo: Ronald Suárez.

Despite his age working in the country side, associated with the farming cooperative January 1st, he remembers with nostalgia the time when he was a master chef in the officers’ club of the old air base of San Julián. His passage through the house of Palmarito, more than 20 years ago, is only a distant episode he does not usually talk about, because doing so means evoking old memories marked by mysteries and death.

“Almost everyone who has lived in that place for a while has been dying. A brother of my wife, for example, drowned in the sea; another, who stayed after, committed suicide; another family, living there, lost a son; and the current owner has cancer, people say. “

For Feliberto, and for other people in the area, the explanation might be in the first inhabitants of the house, a wealthy family that became the owner of most of these lands at one time: “These people were landowners and gossiping tongues tell they did not accept anyone. That’s why, when they died, those things began to happen.”

Superstitions aside, the truth is that after them no one else has stayed in the house for a long time. Located about 100 meters from the road, in the area known as Palmarito, near the town of Las Martínas, the opulent construction -raised in the first half of the 20th century- still retains the majestic port from another age.

The mysterious building is located about 100 meters from the road, in the area known as Palmarito. Photo: Ronald Suárez.
The mysterious building is located about 100 meters from the road, in the area known as Palmarito. Photo: Ronald Suárez.

Despite the abandonment and the much havoc caused by weather and cyclones, it would not be too difficult to re-condition the house. However, its present owner does not seem to be interested in doing so, and although he keeps it closed he only keeps in it part of the farm implements with which it cultivates the surrounding lands.

“The thing is that nobody wants to live there”, adds Antonio Maria Quintana from his portal, about 500 meters from the haunted house: Not long ago came one who partially repaired it and moved in. He told me that he was not afraid of anyone, but he left in the end.”

“There are serious people who have stayed there for some reason and do those stories”, agrees Juan Barrabí, another neighbor of the area: “Omelio Baños, for example, who is an 80 year old man and tells no lies, told me that he would not stay another night again, because the doors opened by themselves.”

“They say that the cauldrons fall, that the rocking chairs move, that the ghosts of the people who lived before appear. I’ve been listening to those stories since I was a child”, says José Miguel Suárez.

Feliberto Cala, the man who endured in it for about a year, remembers that his wife’s brother had a small child, and every time he brought him to visit, he had to run with him to the medical post with fever or other health problems: “One night that I was alone, because my wife went to visit her daughter, I felt a voice walking towards the house, shouting ‘Pedro, Pedro!’, which is the name of a person who had worked there. I picked up the machete, went out, and saw no one. Then I heard inside the house a woman’s voice asking to be put in bed. At that moment I was afraid. If you are in a place where you hear voices and do not see a soul, do not tell me you will not be afraid”, Feliberto says.

“Another time, I saw a dress and a blouse with white sleeves, those old used by women years ago, floating in the air. If I say I saw flesh, I’m going to lie to you. It was just a dress moving toward me, as if trying to get on top of me. I told my wife: old woman, I do not stay here for another day, and then we left.”

No matter what the listener may think of him, Feliberto has no qualms about telling his strange experiences. However, in Palmarito there are also those who believe that everything is just a legend, the result of chance, imagination and fear.

“I have stayed there several times and nothing has ever come to me”, says Yoan Garcia, who lives right in front of the mystery house on the other side of the road four years ago.

“I do not believe in that either,” agrees Antonio María. “Here the cauldrons fall every time, but it is due to the frogs”

A distant relative of the first inhabitants of the solitary house, Antonio even assures that if necessity compels him, he would be willing to spend the night there. And with a half smile, he warns, “Maybe I cannot sleep, but I’m staying stay.”

"People who move in there do not stay for long, even though that is a great house", Antonio says. Photo: Ronald Suárez.
“People who move in there do not stay for long, even though that is a great house”, Antonio says. Photo: Ronald Suárez.

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