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  • Nicole Olsen

Scary Stories to Read Before You Visit a Mission


For as long as I have been coming to Tucson I have wanted to visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac, so I decided this trip I was going to make it happen. Despite the intense July sun, kids complaining of ear infections, and the long drive south, I was determined to make it happen. Simultaneous to this trip the kids were reading the classic children's book, "Scary Stories to Read in the Dark, which contains a very spooky tale of a girl who wonders into a church filled with spirits of the dead. When these spirits realize she is among the living, only there by mistake, they chase her through the chapel grabbing at her and trying to keep her from escaping. Asher had just retold me the tale the night before as we sat out under the stars so I should have been able to predict what would happen the next day as we walked into the over 200 year old Spanish mission, but of course I did not.

It really did not even hit me until we were inside the dark and eerie chapel, with dozens of faces carved in wood, painted in frescos, starring from above and below, while we were amongst those who were in silent prayer, when my children began to lose it. Their whimpers turned louder and I knew it was time to make our exit before their fear became more vocal.

After a brief powwow, a reminder that ghosts were not in the building, and a promise of ice cream on the way home the boys were able to continue our tour, clutching each others hands and only traveling in tight pack the rest of the time indoors.


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