Crypt Dweller and the Treasure Tree

Ghost Stories from Real de Catorce, Mexico


Jesse Rodriguez
| 1960’s/Unkown
Location | Real de Catorce, MX | Matehuala, MX


2.7 | Listener Stories – Strange Creatures, UFOs, and Graveyard Ghosts


There’s a pretty cool ghost town my parents visit every year called Real de Catorce. It is rich in history but is somewhat of an underground destination.

The film “The Mexican” with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts was filmed there. You can only access it via a one way tunnel, a tunnel that has seen its fair share of deaths by motor vehicle accident. The town used to be a rich mining community and is now a tourist destination for religious Catholics that pay homage to St. Francis of Assisi.

The town is rumored to be haunted and my dad had a paranormal encounter in one of his visits in the 1960s.

He got lost in the town and no one was around to help. He saw one man walking through the town nonchalantly and called for him… “Señor! Señor!”. The man didn’t respond, he continued walking to the cemetery. He followed the man through the cemetery desperate for some directions on how to get back to the main tunnel entrance. The man continued to ignore him and my dad thought the man simply was hard of hearing. My dad gained on him quickly and was within steps of him as he saw him walk into a crypt in the cemetery. He followed him inside, only to find it empty.

He was confused and exited the crypt looking for the man but there was nobody within sight. He made his way back to the cemetery entrance and retraced his steps back to where he came from and wandered his way back to the main square that was just outside of the entrance tunnel. He described the man as being physical (not ghostly or transparent looking) and couldn’t believe what had just happened.

This happened long before I was born, but the town itself has an eerie feel to it. When I visited with my parents on one of the many trips, I asked them if the town was haunted. This was when I told the story of what happened when my dad was young.

I understand things aren’t so great right now I’m Mexico but it’s a beautiful town worth checking out. I haven’t been back since my kids were born but I plan to visit one year since I haven’t been since 2008.

My parents grew up in a town called Matehuala which is just outside of Real de Catorce. My dad purchased a vacant lot next to my grandmother’s house that a vagrant named Felipe would squat in.

My sister and cousins would have dreams of this creepy old tree that towered over the property. They’d dream of people being hanged from it and hidden treasure at the base of it. We would hear a metal dragging noise along my grandmother’s walls adjacent to the property, but assumed it was the homeless man (Felipe, but we called him “El Loco Felipe” which means “the crazy man Felipe”. He was asked to leave the property but the noises were still heard. It’s is a common belief that when a place is haunted, someone’s treasure is left there.

My dad hired someone with the magnetic wands and they pointed to something at a certain point in the property. My dad hired an excavation crew and they couldn’t find anything but saw that they had dug somewhere else and he asked why. They said they were testing the equipment, but my dad has his suspicions. The crew mysteriously left without billing my dad, which confirmed his suspicions. I can’t say whether or not the noises stopped but the property was sold to a college professor.

This was around the time the downtown area was growing, as it was near one if the town plazas that features a nice gazebo and a small church nearby. A great location if you’re in the city. My parents have said that the town has grown significantly since I’ve last been. The vacant field in front of their home is now a row of homes and they have a Walmart! They still go since they have a house they own there even though I advise against it since they’re now elderly… But it’s home to them.

I hope I didn’t bore you with those stories.
Keep up the great work and I look forward to hearing your next episodes to come.


Real de Catorce is part of Wirikuta, a site sacred to the Wixárika (Huichol) Indians, resting high in the mountains of central Mexico. Each year many of the 9000 remaining Huichol Indians in Mexico pay a visit to Catorce for a spiritual pilgrimage.


Now spread out across several Mexican states, the Huichol claim this mountain valley as the birthplace of creation and come annually to participate in a peyote hunt.

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