Some historical legends are intriguing, to say the least, and while many people are suspicious of ghost stories and alien encounters, one particular Mexican folk legend certainly raises some questions.
Today, we’ll look at the legend of a 16th-century soldier, Gil Perez, who is said to have been transported over 8,000 kilometers.
According to legend, in late October 1593, a soldier serving the Spanish Empire (whose real identity is unknown, but who was identified in 20th-century reports as Gil Perez) was protecting the Palacio del Gobernador in Manila, which is now the capital of The Philippines today. On October 15, 1593, there was a lot of intrigues and the governor of Mexico, Gómez Pérez Dasmarinas, had been assassinated the day before.
At the time, sections of the Philippines had been under Spanish rule since 1565. As governor of the region for the seventh time, Dasmarinas was on a Spanish expedition to capture additional territory in the Moluccas of eastern Indonesia, when Chinese oarsmen who were on board his ship rose in revolt. Dasmarinas and most of his Spanish guards were killed in the fighting, while a few were able to escape. While a new governor was being elected, the Spanish colony in the Philippines was thrown into disarray.
While the rest of the Spanish population in the colony awaited word of the succession, the Spanish guards in Manila went about their business of watching over the Palace. During a night shift, Private Gil Perez began to feel dizzy and tired, which he immediately reported to his superiors. After being overcome by these emotions, he sat down against one of the walls and closed his eyes to rest.
It was as if Gil Perez had only closed his eyes for a few seconds before revealing himself in a completely different location than the one he had been in previously. Not knowing where he was, he was quickly caught by a group of guards wearing various uniforms who questioned him about his identity.
When he answered, he was arrested and sentenced to prison. He was told he was a deserter from the Spanish army, despite being in Mexico City, more than 8,800 miles away from the Spanish capital. Unfortunately for the soldier, Mexico City was still part of the Spanish Empire at the time, and his distinctive uniform, as well as his claim to have come from Manila, did not exonerate him, but they were still allowed to arrest him and put him in prison.
Gill Perez tried to prove his innocence by describing how the governor had just been assassinated. However, the news had not yet arrived because of the great distance between Mexico City and Manila. His accusers either thought he was mad, trying to explain now that he had been caught, or that he was in league with the devil. Only two months later, when a ship from the Philippines arrived in Mexico, news of the governor’s death reached the country.
As word spread, it became clear that reparations would be made to honor the Spanish soldier who remained imprisoned. His story has now been validated, and it has been determined that the soldier was telling the truth and that he had been teleported across the world unwittingly. This was further validated when one of the Filipino passengers on the ship recognized the soldier and admitted seeing him in the Philippines the day after the governor’s death, establishing that he was telling the truth. Fortunately for him, he was released and allowed to return home.
Although the legend of the teleporting soldier may be considered folklore, there are several contemporary accounts of the story. A century after the event, in 1698, Gaspar de San Agustin, a Spanish preacher and historian wrote a single account. San Agustin recalls the incident of the teleporting soldier in his narrative of the conquest of the Spanish Philippines and says that the man must have been transported using sorcery.
What happened will never be known. At least the story seems to have circulated in the century it took place, if not in the two decades since. It is not known if Gil Perez lived and if his account represents reality. Various paranormal interpretations of the soldier’s account have been advanced over the years, including witchcraft, alien abductions, and simple teleportation. It’s unlikely the truth will ever be known — but it’s certainly an intriguing story.