Folklore of the Rio Grande Valley


By Dr. Juan Sauvageau

Bridget Wagner was a strong woman. For ten years, ever since the death of her husband, she had run her ranch with an iron hand.

Powerful companies, which had been buying land all around, wanted very much to purchase her property. They cajoled, schemed and even menaced, but to no avail. She met all challenges and kept her land.

Her pickup truck turned over one night as she was returning home and she died in the accident. Her only survivor was her daughter, Gretchen.

The last shovel of dirt had barely been thrown over the grave, when lawyers started to descend upon the ranch. They offered a ridiculously low price for the land. Gretchen was told she had a choice of either accepting their offer or going to court and losing everything.

Mrs. Wagner had died without leaving a will and had never told her daughter where she kept the deeds of the property. In the desperation Gretchen was calling to her mother almost reproachfully. "Mamma," she was saying, "why didn't you write a will? Now we are giving to lose everything!"

Four weeks went by. The lawyers had set a deadline. One more day, one more night and she would be evicted.

All through the day she felt she was not alone. She sensed her mother was trying to communicate with her but that the voice couldn't quite reach her.

Gretchen went to bed that night with the same sensation. "Mamma is here. She is trying to tell me something, but what?" She lay with her eyes staring at the dark ceiling. A couple of hours passed by; she just couldn't go to sleep.

Suddenly, around midnight, there was a terrible noise downstairs in the hall. She heard the sweet voice of her mother at the door of the room. "Gretchen," the voice said, "don't be afraid. I came to help you."

In the hall, the large mirror was shaking violently and as soon as she arrived at the foot of the stairs, the mirror exploded in pieces, revealing a safe in the wall. The little wheel of the safe started to turn as if moved by invisible fingers. Two turns to the left, one turn to the right and the door opened.

The voice said, "I will never again be allowed to talk to you. You'll find everything you need in the safe. Goodbye."

The white form disappeared. Gretchen was alone again. She found in the safe a will in which her mother had left her everything, along with the deeds of the property and a fortune in war bonds.

She did not go back to sleep. She sat on the porch and waited anxiously for the coming of the lawyers. She was ready for them. Her mother's love had been so strong that it had gone through the walls of death itself.

Although this may only appear to be a mere story, many people believe that spirits of the dead truly communicate with the living, and often that communication appears in many different forms.