Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Palenque Archeological Site and Why I Won't Go There Again

Bruce and I never made it to Guatemala's Tikal, the largest Maya ruins in Central America. We were determined not to miss Palenque in Mexico, considered to be a very large and important site in Chiapas, Mexico, and although not as large as Tikal, comparable to it.


We had visited other Maya ruins in both Guatemala and Chiapas. All the sites we'd been to before had been peaceful, tranquil settings, where I wanted to just sit and bask in the feelings of these ancient cities. We supposed we'd have a similar experience upon visiting Palenque, although on a grander and more glorious scale, making us really excited about the trip.



How surprised I was to find that Palenque was the opposite. No sooner did I step foot on the land than I had a compelling desire to leave. But we had traveled many miles to get here. My restless emotional state seemed silly. Nonetheless, I couldn't relax. I started walking and just kept going as fast as I could through the park, hardly stopping to look at the buildings.



People were climbing steps and wandering through the palaces on top of the structures. All I could do was follow the pathways around and through the site, giving just a quick glance around. Bruce wanted to go slowly and take photos, while I wanted to walk far and fast as quickly as possible. We agreed to meet at a central location in an hour and a half, at 11 am.

He took all the photos while I felt the frantic urge to just get away.



After thirty minutes I was done, wishing we'd set up our meeting time for earlier. I walked around the edge of the park to kill another thirty minutes, then wandered toward our meeting place hoping I'd run into Bruce.



At last I saw him with his ever present backpack and cowboy hat making his way down the stairs of one of the structures. I walked across the grassy area towards him, thinking how nice it was that we'd found each other ahead of schedule. I visualized the two of us running across the field in a joyous reunion.

On the contrary, Bruce plopped down heavily on the bottom step of the edifice. I couldn't bring myself to go to the structures I'd been avoiding for the past hour and sat down on a stump in the field. We were within shouting distance of each other so we conversed in loud voices.

"Are you ready to go?" I hollered.

"Almost, just need to rest a bit. I'm really tired," he said back in barely a whisper.

"What? I can't hear you."

He repeated himself loud enough for me to hear. A young couple walking hand in hand nearby must have thought we were crazy. Why were we shouting? Why not just sit together? What was wrong with us?

Always sensitive to what people were thinking about me, I forced myself to get up and go sit next to him. He told me how tired he was, how heavy his nearly empty backpack felt on his shoulders, how he had to rest a bit, then he'd be ready to leave.

Finally, we got out of there. Later, we reflected on our varied experiences. He had felt this strange, unbearable exhaustion and heaviness after exploring the structures, especially the tunnel pictured below. I'd felt an inexplicable need to get away. There were several other strange occurrences that I won't go into.
Picture of darkness 
In the end, our conclusion was that bad things must have happened in this area those many centuries ago.

Anyone who wants to know more about Palenque can easily find information online. What I'm sharing is not ancient history but personal history, how the two of us felt very negative vibes coming from this place. A place I never want to visit ever again.

Has this sort of thing ever happened to you, where you felt terribly uncomfortable in an environment for no sensible reason?

28 comments:

  1. That definitely sounds like a place to never visit again. I have visited places where I've felt uncomfortable but I don't think I've ever felt like the energy was drain out of me. Sounds like y'all had a connection to the negative energy there.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. That sounds scary. I've never had it happen, but I believe it could. It would be intriguing to read up on the history of the place.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How weird. I've never visited a place that had a super negative vibe, but I've been to ancient sites that certainly gave off an unusual vibe. Sorry it was such an unpleasant experience.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm glad you told this story because this happens to me quite often. The first time was in Sedona. As I got closer to the red rocks I felt as if I was in a cage or net. It wasn't so much unpleasant, but surreal. I'm told it's a common reaction.

    The second time was on board the USS Lexington, a WWII ship docked in Corpus Christ. Greg and I were the only visitors there that early in the morning. I got separated from him and found myself in a dark room. I touched a metal table and all at once I heard thunderous noises and screams. I let go and it stopped. I got out fast and ran into Greg and the tour guide. He turned the lights on in the room and he said it was the sick bay. He also wondered why the lights were off because he had just turned them on. I sure as heck didn't touch them.

    There are other instances but I don't want you think me any more crazy than I am. :)

    I was just glad to read your story and know I wasn't alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maria, same here, why I'm glad you shared your experience.

      Delete
  5. I've been places like that, but I always feel they are IMPORTANT even if unpleasant--like something weighty happened there and there needs to be a moment of respect given. Dachau comes to mind, but the history there, of course, is well known. It DID have that feel though.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read this and was very tense about what you were feeling. Strange and creepy. I always trust my gut and would have wanted to leave if that dark emotion had overcome me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes, I've had this happen to me before and it's very unsettling. I wonder if it has something to do with our own personal histories as well, because I had the opposite experience at Palenque and Sedona (which one of your other commenters mentioned). Odd!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Palenque.

      Delete
  8. How unsettling. And creepy it hit you and your husband in different ways.

    I've never visited a place, but I was at a party MANY years ago where someone broke out a Ouija board and started playing. A heaviness settled on me and I had to leave. Really scared me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, We thought too how odd that it affected us so differently yet negatively. I've heard counsel to stay away from Ouija boards.

      Delete
  9. The photos look very nice. Strange about the aura that settled upon you. I guess it could have been the ghost of past events emanating from the place or maybe it was something coming from within you. Hard to say.

    I vaguely remember feelings like you describe, but I can't pinpoint them now. Maybe I've pushed these memories into the dark corners of my mind, but I know they are there.

    Yours is an interesting experience that might be worth some exploration. I think there's a good story plot to be mined from what happened to you.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arlee, yes don't the pictures look nice and lovely? Like the brochures we saw that made us want to go.

      Delete
  10. I can't think of a similar experience in my life. But I do believe one can have "feelings" about certain places. This is certainly something you and Bruce will never forget, and I'm glad despite the trauma that he got these excellent photos, and glad you shared them. (btw I now have this Blogger site I'm going to keep - really :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann, We are really glad we went as well. I took a few photos but they weren't as good as his, probably since I felt such a desire to just leave.

      Delete
  11. I can't remember having feelings like those you describe. Describe so well, raising the hair on my arms! Maybe human sacrifice took place there, maybe that left a mark that sensitive people could pick up on, centuries lates? The pictures are gorgeous though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inger, on one hand I think I'd like to know what happened there but then again probably better not to.

      Delete
  12. Hi Karen - how very interesting ... while I found Karen Walker's comment interesting too - I wonder ... but as I'm not there I can't see what would happen to me.

    I've certainly never experienced anything like that - I'd find it really disconcerting ... fascinating - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very interesting, beautiful place though. I had experiences like that before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so beautiful, isn't it? I look at the photos now and think, what was THAT all about, maybe was just tired or something.

      Delete
    2. It is so beautiful, isn't it? I look at the photos now and think, what was THAT all about, maybe was just tired or something.

      Delete
  14. I have had 2 similar experiences that were weird to say the least. One was years ago, at night, I was driving and was driving near all these hydro power towers. I was so freaked because I felt like death was around me. My ex remembers this to this day and I have no idea why I felt that but I never want to go near there again. The other time was when I was in Paris. We went to the Musee de Moyen'Age. I enjoyed the museum and behind was an old monastery that they were excavating. We were walking around and went into a a small space that was a crypt for a knight. It was neat, but at the same time, I felt very uneasy like someone was watching us. It was unsettling to say the least. I believe there is something we tune into but can't figure it out because we either don't believe or want to believe that we can sense bigger things that we can't see.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What an interesting and strange experience. I felt that visiting a fort in PA that had suffered a bloody defeat during the French Indian War.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes - and I'm glad you honoured your feelings. Once I was on the site of an old monastery in Looe, Cornwall, England and kept repeating to my friend - "Holy, this is holy. Holy." I have also spent lots of time at a Shinto Shrine in Colorado which drew me over and over again. And another spirit gathering spot in Cape Breton. Places of heaviness? The Tower Bridge in London, an historical part of Halifax where executions were held; certain schools. That's about it. So interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Karen what an unnerving experience... there are places that have spirits or vibes that I agree we need to heed, to many atrocities to think of.. xox ♡

    ReplyDelete
  18. I totally understand Karen. I've not been to Palenque, but have been to other places that gave me the heebie jeebies. I spoke to the grandson of the last Shaman of one of our Southern California tribes about this. He told me to do two things when this happens. The first thing was to get the heck out of there, because some ancient places retain negative power. Sometimes that power is evil and can do you harm (including making you crazy). The second thing was to rinse the evil off of all your bare skin that was showing while you were there. If you don't have water, you can use dirt, or act as if you were washing with water. Symbolic actions are many times just as powerful as the real thing. So again, I totally understand how you felt.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I know I commented earlier on this very haunting post, but I'm wondering how you're acclimating back in the western desert USA. You must miss the color in Mexico? You're probably super busy? Just thinking about you and Bruce and hope all is well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That does sound disturbing. I can't recall such a feeling, not so overwhelming, yet I definitely felt an evil presence when visiting Port Arthur in Tasmania, an old penal colony. Those walls can talk.

    ReplyDelete