It’s that time of year when ghosties, goblins and ghouls come out of the woodwork. Literally according to Haunted Santa Fe, a historical overview of legends and lore born of real people living real lives, and then in the afterlife returning with spectral visitations that make things go bump in the night.
What I like about Ray John de Aragón’s wonderful book is how he ties history to these legendary figures. His richly told accounts stir the mind to a time long before statehood, when many cultures were streaming into New Mexico to join the native peoples already here, not always with favorable outcomes. The tales recounted in Haunted Santa Fe reveal that cultural montage with Martyr Mysteries, Koko Man, Julia Staab, the Forlorn Spirit, La Llorona, and Billy Bonney’s Ghost, among others.
He is an educator who uses stories to bring life to northern New Mexico’s deep and wide history, whether he is delving into fiction, writing nonfiction, or creating a melding of the two. The most interesting tales come from a grain of truth. Aragon broadens the horizon of his prose in Haunted Santa Fe to engage the reader and perhaps elicit a shiver or two.
A native Las Vegan, he brings authenticity to his work by drawing on his roots and remembered stories told to him by elders in his family over the years. Haunted Santa Fe is one of fifteen books he has authored. He has written for or been featured in more than one hundred publications.
As a traveling storyteller, Aragón has thrilled audiences with his frightening and enthralling tales of ghosts and the supernatural. Holding advanced degrees in Spanish colonial history, arts, legends and myths of New Mexico, he has presented on these topics for the New Mexico History Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the University of New Mexico, the College of Santa Fe and many more. His books are available at online retailers or in bookstores.