Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Porto Liure is infamous as a haven for pirates and privateers, but in truth, its infamy is even deeper still. Known as particularly—and even peculiarly—picturesque, it has drawn artists, poets, the idle rich and other "sensitive" types for generations, who wander—hopefully carefully, given the towns' somewhat exaggerated (but not entirely) lawless reputation—its cramped narrow streets, and its sultry seaside views.
It is unclear if this superstition has any basis in reality or not. True, nights when the full moon is in the crown (which happens on average three times every two years) a number of girls go missing. But since they are usually unreported, only those who have eyes to see and pay attention to the signs believe there to be any pattern. Associate lecturer Enrico Sançez at Porto Liure's small Academy is the foremost expert on local folklore. He's a taciturn, bookish fellow—suspicious and uncommunicative, and prone to easy frights. But when drunk, he occasionally talks in private of his suspicions, theories and speculations about many of the supernatural goings-on in Porto Liure. His pet theory about Black Maria is that the torture and murder of all those girls wasn't just to satisfy her sadistic urges, but was a ritual designed to grant her eternal life. It wasn't ever completed before she was put to death, but it had been sufficiently advanced that the grave had only a tenuous hold on her, and when the moon died, as the expression goes, she was able to transcend her death at certain times. Her goal now is to finish the ritual as quickly as possible and return in full to horrible unlife as an eternal predator on the lives of mankind.