The Witches of Cerro Calvo

By Angel Christopher

The amazing story of a dog who never missed a funeral in a Cuban small village. This story appears in the book The Witches of Cerro Calvo, available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

In the town of Vueltas province of Villa Clara, Cuba, people still remember the ephemeral life of a dog that had a peculiar reflection: his nose was trained to “smell” the Death. People say he arrived one afternoon at the town’s mortuary where family watched a man’s body, and perhaps for those twists of destiny, the dog stayed all night beside the coffin and the next morning accompanied the funeral to the cemetery. Thereafter, the dog appeared in the village whenever there was a funeral -never missed one- and then disappeared. And he did it with respect and responsibility.

The dog became famous and was the target of the comments of the population, divided between two opposing currents: one saw him as docile and harmless, by chance or a conditioned reflex (it was said that the animal went to the funeral home in search of food); another, impressed, saw it as a mission of death. Only God knows why!, but the truth is that the dog became legendary and the Cuban TV visited the small town to film the history. 

Intelligent animal

…Crowns, flowers, lit candles, funeral coffin, people crying: when a Cuban TV team arrived to record the dog in his solemn mission, a mock funeral with all of the details was prepared. Everything was done very carefully, very patiently, without forgetting a detail, and the dog, as usual, came to the ceremony on time. Then the procession proceeded, and the dog started barking before the funeral car. However, before reaching the parade to the first corner, the animal stopped and realized that this was a farce, that there was nobody in the carriage, and returned to the town quite angry. This was confirmed by their owners who claim that for several days the dog was very annoying. It was something that stunned all the locals.

Real testimony

Jose Hernandez, a civil engineer aged 53, a resident of Vueltas, said to me that when his father was seriously ill, the puppy appeared at home. First, he was playing with the family dog while anyone in the house suspected anything. Then, the dog began to enter the bedroom where Hernandez’s father lay on his deathbed. Since then, the dog “visited” throughout the illness until the man died. Later, he accompanied them at the funeral, and then never again set foot in the house.

Meanwhile, the funeral home staff said the dog appeared just moments before receiving the deceased. Once even, having no novelty that day, closed the local and upon reaching the corner they found the dog began to bark death like crazy, preventing it from continuing their journey. Then a neighbor told them that the phone did not stop ringing: an old man had died and should prepare for the funeral!…

Revenge or pure chance?

On the night of May 12th, 1996, the puppy was in front of the funeral home, playing with other dogs, when a bus went barreling and slaughtered animals, killing them on the spot. The reaction of the townspeople was so violent that they wanted to lynch the bus driver, but the police stopped them. He had killed the pride of the small town!

The funeral dog was buried in the cemetery like any human being and a sea of people accompanied him to his final resting place.

Later, the bus driver had a mortal accident: he crashed the bus into a railway station and died. It happened less than two months after the death of the puppy. It was revenge or pure chance? We’ll never know: there are a lot of unanswered questions in our life. What no one doubts are that “the funeral dog” lives forever in the memory of his people.

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