Belize is a nation in Central America and there are amazing shorelines and dense jungles in the area. The jungles are home to wild cats while the beaches are known to be scuba diving sites such as the famous Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole in Belize. (Link: https://www.departures.com/travel/belize-barrier-reef)
Aside from the beaches and the jungles, Belize is also home to rich historical sites. One of which is Xunantunich, which means “Stone Woman” per the Yucatec Maya language. It is a tourist attraction for the ruins in the area as well as for the alleged paranormal activities.
One of the Maya ruins at Xunantunich. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g635532-d19645896-Xunantunich_Maya_Ruins-Hopkins_Stann_Creek.html)
The History of Xunantunich
Xunantunich was first explored during the 1800s by one Dr. Thomas Gann, a British medical officer. After that, a lot of activities took place there but by 1924 all the activities in the area were abandoned. Gann visited Xunantunich a second time and it was reported that during his second visit, he was able to unearth a lot of Maya treasures. The whereabouts of the supposed treasures are unknown but it is believed that they are displayed in museums in the Maya Artifacts section but their origins are not identified. The artifacts could also be with private collectors.
Dr. Thomas Gann photographed with one of the Maya artifacts he found. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Gann)
Since then, many archeologists took interest in the area. Various excavations were then launched at Xunantunich and later it was developed into a city. A visitor’s center was even built to show some photos, maps, and explanations of the significant events in Xunantunich.
Some of the excavations revealed a plaster decoration or panel with sky and land frames. There was also a three dimensional seated figure and another figure in a dancing position clutching at ropes. The ropes are said to be birth ropes, which women held on to while giving birth. A residential plaza was also unearthed. During the Middle Preclassic period, it is believed that Belize Maya settlers established a small village in the area but declined during AD 700 to 1000. Allegedly, an earthquake caused the settlers to leave their small village.
A plaster decoration at Xunantunich. (Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/madmack/316562612/)
The Stone Woman Of Xunantunich
Legends claim that the ghost of a woman referred to as Stone Woman haunts Xunantunich. She was first spotted in the 1800s after a man from the village of San Jose Succotz Belize went hunting near Xunantunich. She then saw a beautiful statuesque Maya maiden, who was dressed in the traditional clothing of a Maya woman. Others say the Stone woman is dressed completely in white and has fire-red eyes.
The woman stood motionless by the mouth of a cave and so the man ran back and told his people about what he saw. A native priest and some villagers went back to where the Stone Woman was seen but they never saw her. Many locals later claimed that they saw the Stone Woman but none of them have been able to follow her into the pyramid.
The stairs going up the pyramid at Xunantunich. (Link: https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/nov/16/travel-xunantunich-ruins-belize/)
The people believe that the Stone Woman was a human sacrifice and her death was through a ritual performed on top of the El Castillo pyramid. The Stone Woman is said to be seen ascending the stairs of El Castillo only to disappear when she reaches the top.
Others believe that the Stone Woman is not a ghost but a spirit that is related to Maya history.
Other Entities At Xunantunich
Because Xunantunich is a very old place, it is said to be haunted also by other ghosts or entities that cause paranormal activities.
Locals claim that a goblin locally called as Tata Duende or El Sisimito live in the area. He is small and ugly and is said to wear a big red hat. He reportedly protects the animals and the jungle in general. This little man, however, lost his thumbs and his feet face backwards. He throws people off their path and into his trail and when you see him, he will allegedly ask you to show him your hands and he will then try to rip off your thumbs. Locals then warn tourists that they should tuck their thumbs into the palms of their hands so that Tata Duende will not do anything that will harm them. You will reportedly know he is there when you hear a whistle in the middle of the jungle.
How Tata Duende allegeldy looks like. (Link: https://www.csmbelize.com/single-post/2015/09/19/Tata-Duende)
Another ghost of Xunantunich is said to be a shape shifter called a Xtabai. Unlike Tata Duende, it is an evil spirit who initially looks like a beautiful woman. She is said to live in the trunk of a ceiba tree. She usually appears at night while combing her long hair. She then starts to sing a sweet tune or a song of love. Anyone who looks up the trees will surely be in trouble. Once the Xtabai gets your attention, she will ask you to come near and she will embrace you. You will then fall asleep and when you wake up, you will find that you have been embracing the thorny trunk. The wounds from this trunk will result in a fever and it will often lead to death.
The Xtabai also takes on the form of animals like snakes. However, she can also take on the form of someone you know.
How To Get To Xunantunich
There are a lot of tours offered going to Xunantunich. The tour will start with a two-hour drive going to the village of San Jose Succotz. Once you arrive at the village, you will board a ferry that will carry you across the Mopan River. From there, there is a five-minute ride to the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve.
A sign at the entrance of the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve. (Link: https://robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/on-top-of-the-mayan-world-at-xunantunich/)