Friday, June 5, 2009

There is a Haunted Castle in Our Town

That’s right, I said haunted castle. Well, it’s actually as Kasbah, but still. Allow me to explain.

A few days ago after our tutoring appointment, we were talking with our tutor, Samira, about who knows what when she mentioned that every night after midnight there is a mysterious light that comes out of the middle of the field. No one knows what it is, but it originates from a 700-year-old crumbling Kasbah and rises into the sky over the field. If you are outside when it happens and you look at it, the light will rush towards you. No one has ever been hurt by the light, but everyone knows about it and is terrified.

Apparently, about 40 years ago the old man who was living there was crushed when the ceiling caved in after some heavy rains. No one has explicitly said that the old man is the light, but there are pretty strong superstitious beliefs in gins in the rural parts of Morocco. Whenever we ask any specific questions about the light, they shrug their shoulders and give us vague answers.

A few days later, we met with our tutor to see the haunted Kasbah in the light of day. During the day, it is just like any one of the numerous crumbling Kasbahs that line the river. Teenage boys and the rare brave girl challenge each other to go inside during the day, and until this day, Samira had never had the guts to go inside. However, her fear of looking wimpy in front of us was apparently stronger than her fear of the mysterious light, because she followed Sean and I inside. We found some trash, spider webs, and the bottom half of a Gila monster, but otherwise, it looked pretty normal.

Later on, some of the other young women in our neighborhood found out that we went inside, and they thought we were crazy. I can understand how superstitions like this one exist in relatively rural, isolated areas--they are common in other parts of the world as well. The strange thing is that our tutor, who is college educated and teaches feminist law classes, adamantly believes in the paranormal. And she is not the only one; there are plenty of similarly educated people around the world who have equally strong convictions about the paranormal.

Personally, I am not convinced. I have never had an experience that is remotely paranormal, but there is a growing number of seemingly sane people who claim that they have. My curiosity is piqued, and I plan on having a rooftop sleepover sometime soon. After all, how often to do you run across a haunted castle? I’ll let you know how it goes.