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Superstition, Pirates, Ghosts and Folklore of Bocas del Toro, Panama [Kindle Edition]

Malcolm Henderson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Superstition, pirates, ghosts and folklore of Bocas del Toro, Panama is a collection of legends and stories as told by the local inhabitants of the archipelago. The tradition of 'story telling' has been recorded so that these folktales and folklore stories are never lost. Tales of pirate treasures, ghost sightings and the myriad of superstitions gathered from various tribes and indigenous folk are both telling and entertaining.


When the sun's rays no longer touch the jungle canopy, the ground below is plunged into darkness. The howler monkeys on cue cease their calling and all await in fear the visit of the Tulieveja and the spirits of long dead pirates and their victims. It is a time when those who experience such spirits are home with the doors and windows closed.

Here's a bit of what you'll see inside:-

* Bocas Superstitions about the dead, snakes, fishing, pirate treasure warnings and many more.
* Pirates in the Archipelago
* Tuliviejas (The Wailing Women)
* The Darklands
* Accounts of Experiences with Spirits from many Bocas del Toro Locals
* A Consequence of Disobeying the Instructions Given in a Dream
* A Bocas Shaman – The Snake Man
* and so much more...

Some of the local superstitions include:-

Peel an orange without a break and hand the peel on one side of the main window and then do the same again and place the second peel on the other side of the window. No evil spirit can pass between the two peels.

When you return to your house in the dark, stand before your door, turn about three times and enter backside first. That way no evil spirit can follow you inside.

If you sleep along in your bed, put a pillow in the empty space beside you or a ghost will climb into bed with you.

These great stories are a wonderful way to understand the culture and the traditions of this eclectic archipelago of islands and its colorful population. Put your feet up and enjoy Superstition, pirates, ghosts and folklore of Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Product Details

  • File Size: 777 KB
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AV8Q9Y2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,080 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's been said that truth is stranger than fiction. There are a lot of strange things in this book about Bocas del Toro, Panama. And it's a very entertaining read.

The book consists of first hand accounts of the superstitions and folklore as told by old-time residents of the area, and in their own words. I like that the author includes photos of these people.

Before there was TV, the people were more aware of their neighbors and the spiritual things happening around them in this archipelago. First there were the indigenous, and then the slaves from the Caribbean who brought their voodoo and African witchcraft practices. And lots of pirates. After that came the Christian missionaries.

The first part of the book lists superstitions by category. How to avoid bad luck and evil intentions, types and accounts of the visits of evil spirits, omens, placing protective plants, pictures and mirrors in the home, how to walk to avoid being followed by an evil spirit and how to prevent it from entering your home. How to tell if a visitor is a friend or an evil spirit before letting them in the house, and how to get rid of party guests overstaying their welcome.

Other superstitions listed are about mothers and babies, dealing with the dead, snakes and fishing, some Chinese lore and disciplining children.

I loved the pirate stories. The Bocas lagoons were used as a base from which to attack Spanish treasure ships on their way back to Spain. It's believed that there is still a lot of buried treasure in the peninsula.

Before you go treasure hunting, however, there are a few protocols to be observed. Apparently you are supposed to wait for a pirate ghost to visit you in a dream, and reveal the existence and location of the treasure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating compilation of oral tradition January 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The most valuable aspect of this book is that it is a compilation of oral traditions within a community that may not exist anywhere else, at least not in the English language. Malcolm's subjects are real people with real histories and he has done a wonderful job of preserving their stories. Because I actually live in the Bocas islands, I have met a few of these people and know of others, but I learned many things I did not know.
The local superstitions cataloged in the book are also interesting, but of more interest to me were the views of Malcolm's interviewees on matters relating to spirituality and the supernatural. I found it interesting that of those interviewees who believed in supernatural beings, spirits, and ghosts, most of them seemed to view those entities in a negative light, especially those beings who are of the female gender. Students of comparative spirituality will find this topic worthy of more study. This book definitely has a place in university curricula, its more than just an entertaining read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Of Entertaining Ghost and Pirate Stories January 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is divided into two parts. Part one deals with local Boca Superstitions, and to me this was the least interesting part of the book. These are Bocas del Toro versions of don't walk under a ladder, but a lot weirder. For example, things like if you return home in the dark, turn around three times and then enter your house backward. Apparently, this confuses any spirit that might be following you. A little of this stuff goes a long way.

Where the book DOES get interesting is in part two, which deals with real pirate and ghost stories. As you might imagine, Panama has a rich history of these kinds of tales, and the author interviews many people with a story to tell. Are these stories real, or just tall tales? Who knows? The main thing is that they are all entertaining and give you a real feel for a place that hasn't been totally corrupted by the modern world. If you like ghost and pirate stories like I do, you'll enjoy this book too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spent Great time with this book :) January 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a bible of Superstitions! I picked this up because I was curious, and then I kept reading it all night until I fall asleep. I was alone by the way.

But I did enjoy reading it and it did give in some insights, well, a lot of insights which I do not know about. This is an uncommon topic, I have not seen many talk or write about this. I did recommend this book to my friends and I recommend it for you as well if you want an exciting and informative time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Spooky Read! January 31, 2013
By Wendy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The intriguing thing about myths and legends is how did they start in the first place? These myths and legends of the Archipelago are fascinating and sometimes unbelievable! However sometimes there is a grain of truth in even the strangest superstitions and it is looking for this element of truth that kept me entertained through the whole book.

The pirate stories about the darklands shows the battle between man's greed and his fear of the unknown and the spirits that haunt those who dare to try and claim buried treasure that doesn't belong to them. A good spooky read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Send me another book soon!!!!!! January 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Malcolm is in amazing writer making you feel like you are there experiencing the events and scenes he describes. The only problem is they are so entertaining I can't put them down thus finish them and it leaves me anxiously awaiting his next book. Hurry up Malcolm!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless Recording of Lore Soon to be Lost January 15, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Malcolm Henderson has lived an exciting and varied life, ending up in a little known patch on the Caribbean side of Panama called Bocas del Toro (Mouth of the Bull). People are beginning to discover this area of remote and beautiful islands as tourists, but Malcolm digs deeper -- sometimes quite literally. He is undoubtedly one of the few Scotsmen in the world who has gone both ghost and treasure hunting. When he's not off on such escapades, he's interviewing local people in an effort to keep alive the stories and experiences which color their heritage.The result is this charming book. Malcolm currently lives in the "Darklands" in a house over the water, where he writes and manages his farm -- and contemplates.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Province
For decades, the province of Bocas del Toro was referred to by the locals as the forgotten province, but thanks to the diligent and persistent efforts of writers like Malcolm... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Piggy
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute
Cute stories, thought provoking in some instances. A quick read, but since I now live in Panama, will refer back to this again! Lots of superstitions of the area.
Published 2 months ago by C. Lintz
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting for Bocas fans.
I really liked the way Malcolm Henderson compiled this book of lore from Bocas del Toro. He showed how both superstition and intution can be explained without denying either. Read more
Published 15 months ago by L M Roth
4.0 out of 5 stars QUIRKY, FUN, ENTERTAINING!
This book was just too short. I didn't want the fun to stop.

However, I understand how difficult it would have been to compile the stories and witness accounts which... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Larks
3.0 out of 5 stars good but short
I liked the book enough and the writing was done really well. I would definately read the authors books in the future
Published 21 months ago by Smart Shopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite interesting
I had never heard of Bocas del toro before reading this book. It contains folklore and pirates tales, but most of all it tells the tale of the interesting and unique people of... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Deb N.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite an interesting read!
I've always enjoyed hearing about local beliefs, superstitions and myths. We lived in Saudi Arabia for many years and I liked the stories of the Jjins and discovering the beliefs... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, scary and interesting. What more could you want?
Despite being an informative book, it's quite an entertaining read also. I started it over breakfast and couldn't stop reading - it's just fascinating. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Ashford
5.0 out of 5 stars Folklore in the Jungle Uncovered
In addition to being an engaging writer, Malcolm Henderson has become what all of us in this chaotic and complicated world ought to aspire to be, an amateur anthropologist. Read more
Published 23 months ago by
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Tales of Ghosts, Pirates and Other Things That Go Bump in...
"Too often the transfer of verbal history to a permanent record is neglected and becomes lost with the passing of generations. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Author
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More About the Author

Twenty years growing up in England.
Twenty years a soldier in foreign lands.
Twenty-five years a player in the game of buying and selling art, first in the center of London and then in the U.S.A
Fifteen years learning, adapting and growing to love the country of Panama.

With a recently released book "Superstition, Pirates, Ghosts and Folklore of Bocas del Toro, Panama selling better than I had ever dreamed and another book well into the making, I am now enjoying life as writer as much as I enjoyed any of my previous careers. With three books listed on Amazon, I am for the first time accepting the title of "author". Until my third book was published, I classed myself as an amateur writer.

My new book is about how to have a ball after age 80. My working title is "Granddad in The Back Seat'. On entering this my 80th year, I reflected on my life so far and thought about where I go from here. Weighing the plusses and minuses of old age, I found there are many advantages that come with this stage of life and that by practicing some specialized techniques, I can lead a life which is both laced with fun and is beneficial to me and to others.

My experience of becoming "Granddad in The Back" has taught me how to keep a high measure of independence while getting the most enjoyment out of each day.

I am looking forward to the publication of this How To Book which reveals my sometimes devious techniques for thwarting the intentions of those who would prefer I sit watching TV instead of embarking on new adventures. In the book I will be sharing my techniques for keeping control and avoiding stress. I expect to publish in ebook format by the beginning of June.

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