The Guirola's family

Long ago, a tall, white and good-looking man appeared from nowhere, along the cobbled streets of Zacatecoluca. He had a lonely and melancholic air. He lived in a tiny cabin and claimed to be Rafael María Guirola.

He became a businessman and his first businesses were related to trading. He got married to Gertrudis De La Cotera y González, a descendant of Spaniards. From this marriage in 1826 was born Ángel Guirola De La Cotera. He studied his bachelor's degree in Guatemala City, where he worked for a while in one of the largest pharmacies after his graduation.

A couple of years later, he returned to El Salvador, where he spent his savings and acquired some loans in order to buy a few lands that were dedicated to the cultivation of indigo. Ángel showed a great ability exporting this product and extended his business throughout the Caribbean and the United States of America.

In 1858, he got married to the Jamaican: Cordelia Duke Alexander, who was rumored to know and perform odd rituals from the beyond. Commonly, practiced in the Caribbean region. Some of them were about deals with evil spirits. She was the person who according to the legend encouraged Ángel to make a deal with the Devil.

Rumors spread like wildfire around the country about his deal with the Devil. Specially, after some uncommon guests started to come to his house at very late hours. In those nights, people who used to live in the surroundings were able to see mysterious lights, inexplicable noises and all the paraphernalia nearby those who had any contact with them.

Some rumors said that the deal that Ángel agreed with the Devil is the following: “he would get all the fortune and youth that he wanted for him and his family in exchange of his soul and the next seven generations” (figure 1).

Figure 1. A picture of The Guirola's family. ¹

Without a doubt many people suspected about his fortune because he had too many properties around El Salvador and no one understood how this happened overnight, everyone had a feeling his successes where connected to the rituals known by his wife Mrs. Cordelia. His peasants, who frequently changed the pronunciation of some words and names of people, referred to Mr. Ángel as Mr. Virola. Until today, the Guirola's family have a peculiar nickname in Zacatecoluca: “The Viroleños”.

The Guirola’s family moved to Santa Tecla in 1866. In that city they built a splendid houses, but there was one that overshadow the rest that evoked the Parisian mansions. This magnificent mansion had two statues of eagles that seemed to majestically guard the entire city. For that reason, it was called: The mansion of the eagles (figure 2).

Figure 2. The mansion of the eagles. ²

They were assured in tales of the royal road of El Salvador. Furthermore, they were owners of almost everything in the city: lighting, water, public transport, trees of the forests and the animals that lived in. The new generations continued to benefit from their immense capital. All these capital allowed them to become part a selected club of feudal lords called the “14 families” and they controlled El Salvador's history for decades. 

Some people who had the opportunity to visit their mansions said that one of the members had a room lined with silver coins and on the roof of it, there was a symbol that resembled a goat. Also, some people said the family performed sacrifices of beautiful maidens. Many beautiful women affirmed the Godmothers of Wakening were subjected to all kinds of sexual practices and after them, no one ever saw them again.

Another Guirola used to walk around Santa Tecla dressed completely in black suits. He was accompanied by a dozen huge black dogs that walked freely by his side. These dogs were ripped out of their natural and were replaced with fangs of pure gold. In the last years, some people swear they have seen these beautiful dogs chained to some trees behind their former summer house (figure 3).

Figure 3. The summer house.

The summer house is one of the greatest pieces of art of El Salvador. Each of its six rooms has a unique European style, Italian, French, Spaniard, etc. However, people who live in the surroundings of it said it's hunted because they have experienced paranormal events such as the lights turning on/off without a reason during their meetings or there was a mirror in the bathroom that reflected an old lady sitting in rocking chairs from an unknown living room.

Furthermore, in the Mansion of the Eagles, the Guirola's family organized exclusive parties where they drank some concoctions in which the blood of bats was mixed with fine European liqueurs. Some old Salvadorans who said some members of the family never aged. However, because of their deal their life was full of tragedies. Many of the members of the family of unfortunate accidents that no one until these days can explain.

Obviously, many popular stories were added to the difficult events that experience this family and most of them were inspired by classical literature such as Goethe's Faust, Dracula, Bluebeard, and The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The truth is that Ángel Guirola was a good and noble man. A philanthropist who pioneered in agriculture. Also, he was a deputy, vice-president of the El Salvador and briefly he held the presidency during the administration of Dr. Rafael Zaldívar in 1884.

Additionally, the Guirola’s family donated El Cafetalón, a beautiful natural park. Also, a huge place for a foster house and a building for a hospital to care for the poorer and needy. All these places El Cafetalón, the foster house and the hospital called San Rafael are located in Santa Tecla.

Story inspired by “La extraña leyenda de una familia” of El Diario de Hoy by Marvin Galeas. © All rights reserved 1999 - 2018.

¹ ² © Copyright © Oscar Rodriguez 2017 - 2018.

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