Strange Disappearance Of Bernardo Vazquez
By James Donahue
When pop musicians assume the names of mysterious
and mythological figures their barrage of promotional material overwhelms efforts to research the origins of the stories that
made this person important. Such is the case of Bernardo Vazquez, the young San Juan man who it is said experimented with
black magic to make himself disappear.
As the story is told, Vazquez not only succeeded
in disappearing, he never returned from where ever it was he sent himself.
The best account of the Vazquez story that
we could find was published in Fate Magazine’s November, 2000 edition. It’s author, Helen Torres, claims that
she was present in the Vazquez home when this event occurred, and thus became an eye witness . . . not to the disappearance,
but too the young man’s boast of what he was about to do behind closed doors in his room.
It all happened in 1936, in the midst of
the Great Depression, when Vazquez, a resident of Fernandez, was experimenting with the black arts in an attempt to gain either
wealth or fame in the heart of global despair. Apparently he lived alone in a rented room at the rear of either the Torres
house, or a house in the immediate neighborhood.
Torres wrote that Vazquez, then a young man
of about 20 years, “was always in a hurry and in his mind the most important wish was to obtain immeasurable riches
– with no concern as to how he obtained them.” She said he was an “avid reader, especially books on black
magic. His appearance was anemic and his eyes had a penetrating look.”
She said she became interested in Vazquez
because of a strange spell he seemed to put on anybody he talked to. “With his mysterious look and his whispered voice,
Bernardo intriqued anyone he talked to. Mama and I would listen to him as if we were in a hypnotic trance, and when she thought
that she had heard of all Bernardo’s schemes and everything related to the unknown, out of nowhere he bewildered us
with something different.”
When Vazquez told them about his scheme to
make himself invisible, he outlined a most gruesome story of the kind of ritual he was about to perform. It involved the killing
of a black cat by boiling it alive in a tin can of water over a wood fire in his hearth. The wood had to come from an old
abandoned coffin in a cemetery. Once the cat was dead and fully cooked, he said he would dissect the creature until he found
a “Y” shaped bone between its ears.
“Once I find the bone I will be the
most powerful man on earth,” Vazquez said. “Every time I put it under my tongue I will become invisible. Can you
imagine all the things that can be done when you are invisible?”
Torres and Mama told Vazquez they thought
he was crazy and urged him not to harm the cat. But like all of his earlier schemes, they wrote it off as just another nutty
idea from the mind of a most unusual but troubled young man in the neighborhood.
But a few days passed and they did not see
Vazquez again, which began to trouble the women. They said they had gotten used to his daily appearances and it was unusual
for him not to stop by. They investigated, and when police forced open the wooden door, there was no trace of the young man.
Torres wrote: The humble place had a smelly
stench and a disgusting look. At the center of the small room was a very old table, a decomposed and crumbled black cat lay
there, disemboweled. Nearby was a hearth full of ashes and the remains of burnt logs. In a corner there was a miserable bed
covered with an old shredded sheet. A dirty shirt and a pair of pants hung on two rusty nails on the wall. But Bernardo was
She said as far as people of Fernandez are
concerned, Vazquez was never seen again.