By: Perla Hernandez
When I was younger, I lived in Mexico for about a year and a half. Adapting to the culture was definitely something my sibling and I had trouble with. We lived in the countryside with rivers, farms, and abandoned places that were our main sources of entertainment. Since we were young and naïve, we spent most of our nights scaring each other by running through buildings that were said to be haunted. We created our own ghost stories and retold ancient horror stories while sitting in the haunted houses and on our homemade tire swings.
The story about La tumba encadenada or Chained Tomb is one of my all-time favorite ghost stories. This story originates back to my mother’s youth. This is one of our favorite ancient horror stories that we love to retell at family gatherings.
Chained Tomb is about Maximo Rivera, a man that every women wanted, and that every man wanted to be. He was brutally killed by the men of his city because they were terribly jealous of his fame and success. The murder was instigated by his brother Lorenzo, whose envy was greater than anyone else’s. The malevolence stemmed from the fact that Maximo was extremely greedy. His murder would later prove that greed as strong as his never dies.
Maximo was humiliated by being chained up to a carriage and dragged through the city while the villagers spat at him. They all followed him to an unmarked tomb, where piece by piece, he was buried. Before closing off the tomb, his chains were thrown in with him. After his death, the villagers celebrated at his estate, where his murderers proudly claimed his possessions.
Everything was fine for a couple weeks before strange things started happening to his killers. They began hearing strange noises, like his screams while he was being humiliated or his angry words when he was being spat at. The murder was haunting these men; one by one, they went insane. Lorenzo was the worse – he claimed to have seen his brother’s head in his house, on the most valuable piece of furniture Maximo had, a couch.
The objects the men stole began disappearing without a trace. They started pointing fingers, which led them to take night shifts to monitor their possessions. The men who took watch found themselves next to Maximo’s grave the morning after, with no recollection of how they got there. Incidentally, they would later be found dead in the same spot.
The town was terrified at the unexplained events after Maximo’s murder. They gathered to apologize at his grave in an attempt to put his soul to rest. However, when they arrived, they found the tomb was desecrated, and his limbs were chained together on his torso with the chains that had been buried with him. Lorenzo thought the only way to stop him was to place a cage around the grave. Rumor has it, until this day you can hear him dragging his chains around asking for his prized belongings to be returned to his home. Right before dawn, he returns to his grave, setting the cage back in place every time.