terça-feira, 7 de fevereiro de 2017

Haunted Porto: Legends, Stories and Myths, Through the Night

Cláudia Aragão, Journalist from the newspaper Jornalismo Porto Net (JPN), did the Haunted Port Tour, here are her impressions:

Do you know the legend of Gaia? And the myth of Hotel Teatro? These and other stories are told by Pedro Vasconcelos, organizer of the tour "Haunted Porto". In a fast rhythm, the seven-seater 4X4 vehicle leaves Trindade Metro Station shortly after 6:00 p.m. Chatting a little, and in ten minutes we already know a few fables.

"It is said to be haunted." Pedro refers to Hotel Teatro. The tragedy of the nineteenth century that happened there, in the old Baquet theater, seems to be still present, at least in spirit. More than a hundred people died in a fire, so there are rooms that open on their own and people can hear knock on doors. At least, it is what is said today.

But the Teatro Hotel is not the only victim of haunts. In Afurada, one can see a house on the top of a hill that is frequently visited by ghost hunters. At the beginning of the century, several paranormal investigators swore to have listen the phrase "Get out of here!". But the authenticity of the event remains a mystery.

Obscure Symbols

Along the route, which lasts about seven hours and includes more than a dozen stops, we realize that the stories are immense, but there are curiosities that stand out. In fact, in all supernatural phenomena, the four elements (water, earth, fire and air) and the crossroads, are present. Flowers have a double function: to give a good smell to the dead and to keep him company, ending their life too...

"When we talk about magic and religion, we talk about myths," explains the organizer of the tour. The candles are also everywhere we visit, but Pedro emphasizes that blacks are synonymous to black magic. In the mountains, it is also common to see a cross attached to the cliffs. This happens "to be closer to the sky, but also to sactify the place avoiding that "others" take place...", clarifies Pedro Vasconcelos.

As for hazards, he ensures that they are controlled. "Any activity always has risks, but as long as we stay on track, I do not think it's dangerous," he says. However, there is an episode that he does not forget, when he was visiting a haunted site: "We were telling stories and then suddenly there was a groan in the middle and it was a little awkward. Everyone thought it was somebody on our team, but I insure it was not."

The ride goes on through the night, so fear can be our biggest enemy. But for the organization, "the course is good at night, especially in winter". In reality, no one enters the most obscure places without Pedro Vasconcelos checking the space. In addition, the leader has the opinion that the best are groups "between two to nine people", so that they create bonds and are able to tell the stories without many distractions.

What to do at Porto?

The first event of the team was Halloween Late Harvest in 2014. From then on, they realized that this tour "could have an interesting capacity in terms of commercialization" and so they re-made it to make it more extensive and "with more staging points", says Pedro. In addition, the organization thinks that in the late afternoon, after touring the rabel boats and visiting port wine cellars, many tourists think: "what to do now?". Thus, the ideal activity was born and complement to a little escape in the town.

To collect stories and places with obscure activity, they searched for haunted sites and, simultaneously, did a research on legends related to the History of the region. It was all these elements that led them to the "Haunted Porto".

So far, the age group that most seeks the tour are people between 30/40 years old. French, English, Spanish and Portuguese are the languages available. At the price, 66.60 euros, is included transport, dinner and very "suspense". For those interested in legends, stories, myths, witchcraft and hauntings, reservations are by phone or email, and can be made through the website and Facebook. It is advisable for participants to wear comfortable clothing and prepare themselves, because the end of the tour may even be breathtaking...

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