The Strange Case of the Teleporting Spaniard

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

ON October 25, 1593, Gil Perez, a Spanish soldier, was arrested in the Plaza Mayor in Mexico City for alleged desertion and being unable to account for his presence in that city. He was disoriented, confused, and panicky. Now, why did the authorities in Mexico think that he was a deserter? He was arrested because he was wearing the uniform of a regiment that was based in the Philippines.

Perez himself had no idea how he got to Mexico. When interrogated by members of the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico, Perez related that he had a normal and typical life as a soldier in the Philippines, and that he did not engage in any acts of collusion with the dark lord Satan, which, to the priests conducting the investigation, was the only plausible explanation for his presence. Nobody could explain his apparent teleportation, which apparently happened overnight.

According to Perez, on the night of October 23, 1593, the governor-general of the Philippines, Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, was assassinated by his own Chinese rowers while attempting to besiege Ternate with a fleet of galleys. The Chinese in the Philippines at the time had… a reputation… but Dasmariñas, wishing to show a gesture of good will, did not chain them to the oars as was the custom at the time. He also foolishly allowed them to carry weapons with them. Three days after he left Manila, the Chinese killed him and most of his men while they slept and stole his galley.


Meanwhile, news was sent back to Manila that the governor had been assassinated, and Gil Perez’s regiment was assigned to defend the palace and wait until a new governor could be appointed. Tired, Perez decided to lean against a wall and sleep, and according to him, when he opened his eyes again, he was in Mexico. Unsure how to react, he continued to do his guard duties until someone approached him and asked him why he was there.

The news of the death of the governor general of the Philippines had not reached Mexico, and the inquisitors, thinking that this “teleportation” story was absolutely, positively the weirdest thing they had ever heard, decided to throw the book at Perez and label him a Satanist. They threw him in jail and possibly had plans to execute him after a few months.

Two months later, a ship coming from Manila arrived in Mexico story with news – the governor general of Manila, Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, had been killed on the night of October 23. Even some of the passengers on board that ship said that they recognized Perez, and one went on to say that Perez was seen crossing the Pacific at high speed without a boat. The slack-jawed Mexican authorities decided to release Perez and return him to his garrison in Manila.

Some sources say that this story was documented immediately when it happened, others say it was only recorded a hundred years later. Still others say it’s a complete fabrication, but if this is true, what could have possibly caused it? Is teleportation a freak occurrence that simply goes unreported because people end up getting teleported over the ocean or onto mountains? Was Gil Perez really a deserter with good timing whose alibi actually came true? Did he anger the most powerful “arbularyo” or “mangkukulam” in the Philippines? Or did God Himself feel bored that day and simply pluck Perez up from the street in Manila and throw him into Mexico? Sadly we may never know.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 03, 2013.


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