Tag Archives: Myths

VooDoo Curse

VooDoo Curse on the Cincinnati Red’s

It was said that pitcher Pedro Borbon (he was into voodoo, curses and cockfighting) of the Cincinnati Red’s (said to be one of the finest pitching arms to ever come from Dominican Republic) was so angry at being traded in 1979 that he put a voodoo curse on the Reds that lasted 10 years.

When the curse was finally lifted Borbon said, “Yeah, I lifted it. I told everybody when they traded me that I was putting a curse on them and they’d never win again. The people who did me wrong are not with the team any more, so now I don’t care if they win.”

Curse lifted?

The 1990 Reds finally won their first game. Was this because of the hex that Borbon lifted or just because they played well? We will never know for sure.

Polo Magnetico

Polo Magnetico / Magnetic Pole (or Magnetic Hill)

There was an old man in his 90’s that seems to have all the “facts” about Polo Magnetico, according to him when he was interviewed by Dominican newspaper El Caribe in 2003. This “expert” says things move up this hill because of the two underground mines that are found here. One is a petroleum mine and the second is a sulfur mine. According to him, and the locals, objects here move uphill. A car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill. A bottle or ball left on the road here will also mysteriously roll up hill.

This place that is magic is located in the Barahona providence of Dominican Republic along the Cabral-Polo highway. This stretch of road is between the towns of the Auyamas and Polo. It is on a hill called La Cueva/ The Cave. The only thing that marks the place where this natural phenomenon takes place is a sign placed there by the Brugal (rum) Company. There are pale remnants of a painted circle with a yellow dot in the center. This is all that marks the spot, this and people standing around watching the happenings in amazement.

Optical Illusion

Now you may wonder what causes things to magical roll uphill on their own. In truth, it has nothing to do with magnetic fields, electricity or unknown mysterious forces. The slope of a magnetic or gravity hill is an optical illusion. Gravity has nothing to do with what happens here. The most important thing contributing to this illusion is an obstructed (or mostly blocked) horizon. If there is no horizon it can make judging the slope of a surface very difficult. There is no reference point. Objects that normally seem to be more-or-less perpendicular to the ground (such as trees) may actually be leaning, thus misconstruing your visual reference. Since we do have a sense of balance to determine the slope of the ground, visual clues can override this sense, especially if the incline is slight. So, whatever name we give it, Magnetic Hill, Gravity Hill, Mystery Hill or Electric Brae it is an optical illusion. One of the hundreds of known gravity hill locations around the world.

For me, I prefer to blame it on folklore, the mysteries of nature and the supernatural. It makes life a little more enjoyable and mysterious….

Balaguer and His Hat

Joaquín Amparo Balaguer Ricardo

Born September 1, 1906 – Died July 14, 2002. Balaguer was the President of the Dominican Republic from 1960 to 1962, from 1966 to 1978, and from 1986 to 1996. It was said that as long as Balaguer had his hat on that there would never be a major hurricane.

The story is told that he made a pact with the Virgen de la Altagracia. During all his times being president there was never a natural disaster that he had to deal with (the hat on could mean a real hat or maybe the proverbial hat meaning he was still in charge).

Interpretation of Balaguer and the mysteries surrounding him by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
Interpretation of Balaguer and the mysteries surrounding him by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu

Once when Balaguer had a heart attack the island was hit with a small hurricane. The Dominican people believed he had died and they were not told as this is the only way that this hurricane would have hit the island.

I was told by friends of mine that the people were truly afraid when he did die in 2002. Many believed that soon after there would be a giant catastrophic event in the Dominican Republic. It is said that he was buried with his hat on so the island will still be protected until it rots in the grave.

There are a few other mysteries surrounding Balaguer. He wrote poetry and many works of literature. One of these books was called Memorias de un Cortesano. Balaguer, in this book stated that he knew the truth about the controversial death of the revolutionary journalist Orlando Martínez. This book had a blank page in the center. He said that when he died the page would be filled.

The page in the book is blank to this day…