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Collectors Corner!

 Ed Sandoval Gallery's Newsletter

102-B Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM 87571
(575) 770-6360
Special Spooky Edition: Close Encounters...
Hello boys and ghouls …a warning that this newsletter is not for the faint of heart (said in my best Vincent Price voice). Ba-ha-ha-ha! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

I’ll be telling stories of my close encounters with…who knows? I’ll also tell a tale or two about creepy legends I heard as a child…myths (or are they?) that still live on in New Mexico.
I’ll start with my weirdest encounter. One day about 20-25 years ago, I was painting at my Studio De Colores, absorbed in my work (I might have even been painting "Ghost Rider" pictured to the left). I heard the bell ring that was hanging over the front door to announce guests as they entered. I looked up, and three people walked slowly toward me.

Normally, when people come into a gallery, they wander around and look at things. These three did not. They kept their gazes focused straight on me, not the artwork hanging on the walls. Dressed normally, they looked like ordinary tourists but were…stern. Their faces were blank, emotionless. 
Their energy was all wrong. I put down my brush and walked toward them, greeting them and asking where they were from as I normally do. I can’t tell you what happened next. I know they just stood there and began to ask me questions, never averting their gaze, and I answered each question, but I was in some kind of daze or hypnotic state.

I remember thinking, “These are really odd, strange questions,” but I still answered. The incredibly bizarre thing is – when they left – I couldn’t remember a single question they asked me or what I said in response. It was as if the world drained away. I was in a tunnel, but when they left, reality snapped back into focus and I could think clearly again.
I’m convinced they did something to erase my memory. Now I’m not saying with absolute certainty they were aliens…but I’m pretty sure they were aliens.

That encounter has always stayed with me, which is strange since I can’t remember any of our conversation, no matter how hard I try. I wonder what they asked! I wonder what I said!
Ghosts Are Nicer Than Aliens

Once, painting alone in a field in Mora Valley, I glanced up from my canvas and saw three Native Americans on horseback. I was startled! They stood there looking at me, their hair fluttering in the soft breeze, and as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared. To me, they resembled plains Indians, not pueblo Indians, and they inspired me to create the painting shown to the right.
A very nice ghost also appeared to me in Palm Springs, CA. In the 80’s and 90’s, I owned a construction company that built adobe houses in Taos and across the Southwest. One day, I met a man, Frank Jones, who had just purchased one of the first adobe haciendas built in the area. It had belonged to Cecile Bennett, and although it was old and charming, it needed a LOT of repair. Frank couldn’t find anyone in Palm Springs who knew how to repair adobe and kiva fireplaces, so he asked me and my crew to come out.

While we were out there, my son and I stayed in the hacienda while we were working on it. It was a beautiful old home but had many areas where the adobe had deteriorated. I especially liked the living room – there was an old kiva fireplace and a shelf along the walls near the ceiling filled with hundreds and hundreds of baskets. Cecile Bennett had owned a trading post back in the day that sold indigenous Native American goods, and she had collected the most wonderful array of baskets.

In the evenings, we often went out to dinner with Frank. He was a great guy. In fact, his hacienda was in a canyon, right below Bob Hope’s house, and one time he took us up there to meet Bob Hope and see his house. It was quite modern, with a roof-line that had tons of copper that would shine at sunrise and sunset…

Anyway, one night we came back from dinner, unlocked the door and entered the living room. There she was – a woman in a long, white dress was standing next to the fireplace. We froze and stared. She looked at us, we looked at her, and then she smiled. We had been standing there staring for at least 30 seconds – this was not some figment of our imagination, and we BOTH saw her. I think she appeared to say “thank you” for restoring her beloved home. She was happy. After that night, we never saw her again. 
La Lorona ("The Weeping Woman")
When I was a child, my parents warned us kids not to play by the irrigation ditches. “La Llorona will get you! She'll drown you!" We believed them and steered clear of any and all waterways on the farm.

La Llorona (pronounced “LAH yoh ROH nah”), Spanish for “the weeping woman,” has been part of the Southwest's Hispanic folklore since the conquistadors arrived. The origins of this tragic tale, which began in the heart of Mexico but traveled up to the northern territory (present day NM) are unclear. There are also multiple versions. In the legend I heard as a child, there was a young, ravishingly beautiful woman named Maria, who had long, flowing black hair. She lived simply in a rural village and one day caught the attention of a rich Spanish nobleman who rode by.

Captivated by her beauty, he courted and married Maria, and for a while they were happy. But after she bore him two sons, his mood and behavior began to change. He ignored her and left her alone for months at a time. Maria was desperately sad, but she loved him and always waited for her love to return.

Why did he leave her alone, and why did he want to leave her forever? Some say he was ordered back to Spain and wanted to take the children with him...but not her. Some say he had become bored with her and wanted to marry another woman. In any case, one evening, as she walked with her children near the river, her husband appeared.

Whatever he said, she went into a fit of anguished rage and grief. She seized her children and drowned them in the river. Their dead bodies sunk beneath the water and were carried downstream. [Ed's painting shows her wretched, tormented state of mind.]

Since that fateful day, she has roamed the earth - the wailing spirit of a doomed mother and jealous lover who spends eternity searching for her drowned children in rivers and lakes. Crazed by fury and sadness, she wears a white gown (her wedding dress?) while wandering and searching for more children to drag down into a watery grave. Did she think drowning other children would allow hers to return to her? We don't know...

Locals say her restless spirit appears at night, walking the banks of the Santa Fe River. They hear her weeping and see her ghostly image drifting between the trees along the shoreline or floating on the current with her white gown spread out upon the waters. Many are afraid to go after dark – they fear her curse and her wrath. And so, they no longer call her Maria – she is now La Llorona, the weeping woman.

Her legend has been passed from generation to generation. Even today, children (like us as kids) are warned not to wander out into the darkness or near water, for La Llorona might snatch them and drown them in the flowing waters. The Hispanic people believe that the Weeping Woman will always be with them, following the rivers looking for her children - and other people's children. She is a lost soul, a bogey-woman. Beware....

For a beautiful and heartfelt Spanish guitar version of the song La Llorona (and video), CLICK HERE! NOTE: Click "Skip Ad" after about 5 seconds to get to the song.
Why Are So Many Taos Doors Painted Blue?
It’s a Taos thing – “Taos Blue” – but many believe the color wards off evil spirits … That’s why you see shades of blue around windows and doors, especially at the Taos Pueblo. It guards the entry points into a home, protecting the inhabitants from malevolent forces lurking outside. I once heard this belief started hundreds of years ago, when the Franciscan fathers wore garments dyed with indigo. In any case, to be safe, go buy some Taos Blue and apply generously…or…night visitors riding on the wind might visit you…  
Visit from Van Gogh
Most of you know that I love Van Gogh - I mean I REALLY love Van Gogh. I read and think about him, I channel him in my work and I "feel" his presence. But one day...he came for a visit, and I have a witness!

I was sitting at the table in the gallery, and my friend Bob was sitting there too talking to me. I had just finished a portrait of Van Gogh (I've painted him many times). It's the middle of the afternoon, and we're just hanging out. The painting was on an easel right by the front door. If you entered and turned to the left, you'd be in front of it.

A man walks in. I didn't pay much attention at first, but he went right up to the portrait drying on the easel, and he just stood there. I noticed that he was dressed rather oddly...in clothing that didn't seem of this century. He was wearing black, and he had on a hat (like in the portrait!). I noticed some red hair peeking out of near his neck.

Bob noticed me staring at the back of the man, so he turns and also starts watching. Minutes go by. Nobody says a word. The man just stood there, staring at the painting. We stared at the back of him.

Finally, he turned around, looked right at me, nodded and heading out of the door. I couldn't get my wits about me very quickly, but I finally got up and looked outside. He was nowhere to be seen.

Bob and I both swear it was Van Gogh. He wanted me to know that he approved of my portrait of him. He studied it for MINUTES, and we were all silent - not a word spoken - and it was so crazy that he turned, looked at me, nodded and left. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.

I feel he still watches over me...
Ed as Andy Warhol at Halloween
To watch a spooky video produced by The Taos News about other residents' ghostly encounters, visit:

Happy Halloween!!!

In closing, I'll leave you with some of the lyrics from "La Llorona" ( Access Song/Video Here ).

He who doesn't know about love,
won't know what is agony.
He who doesn't know about love,
won't know what is agony.
I don't know what's with the flowers, Weeping Woman,
the flowers from a cemetery.
I don't know what's with the flowers, Weeping Woman,
the flowers from a cemetery.
When the wind moves them, Weeping Woman,
they look like they're crying.
When the wind moves them, Weeping Woman,
they look like they're crying.
Woe is me, Weeping Woman,
Weeping Woman, take me to the river.
Woe is me, Weeping Woman,
Weeping Woman, take me to the river.
Cover me with your shawl, Weeping Woman,
because I'm freezing to death.
Cover me with your shawl, Weeping Woman,
because I'm freezing to death.
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If so, please send your personal story and photo(s) to edsandovalart@gmail.com.
Ed Sandoval Gallery  
 102-B Paseo Del Pueblo, Taos, NM 87571
www.edsandovalgallery.com | (575) 770-6360 | edsandovalart@gmail.com