Dead Chickens and Santeria at the Romero Cemetery

Black Chicken Meme…Isla in the cold… Garbage bags full of chicken parts… The black hen… Matt Staggs makes a life-long enemy…

The Albuquerque warehouse district is cold as hell at midnight.  And dark.  This little spot goes dead around 6 p.m. and refuses to drag its scraggly ass up until 5.  I’ve been sitting in the cold for two hours, cursing Matt Staggs and chain smoking.

A single tweet from Matt two week ago piqued my interest, beginning a chain reaction that ends with me on a wild chicken chase to find out who’s been leaving the corpses of black hens in a dusty family cemetery for two years.

A story that has been copypastaed ad nauseum around the internet for some reason, the last two weeks:

“KRQE-TV reports ( that Michael Gabaldon, co-owner of Romero Cemetery, says for two years, dead chickens and chicken parts have been dropped off overnight.

He says the chickens have been left periodically from every day to every two weeks.  There also are bones or feathers scattered throughout the cemetery.

Gabaldon says he doesn’t know if the chickens are part of a religious ceremony, but he called the bizarre practice disgusting and creepy.

He says he hopes to put up a gate to keep cars out at night.”

The original article (which has disappeared from the website at the moment) gives me a few more details that allow me to locate the cemetery, a private family plot used for over two hundred years.  Bundle up, kiss the dog, and go-a-visitin’.

Earth Valley is a dead end street that noses in between a handful of warehouses.  At its end, the road splits, one direction leading to a collection of dirt piles, the other to the Romero cemetery.  There are two or three houses at its entrance, and these are guarded by what appear to be scarehumans, stuffed effigies posed in what I can only guess is an attempt to frighten off whoever has been sneaking in at night.

I park the car.  Even in the daytime, the wind sweeps through the headstones and tries to squeegee your nose off.  It’s miserable, and I’m already in a foul mood from low blood sugar.

I immediately start to wonder if this is the right place after all, when I spot a black garbage bag off to my right.  Then another.  And another.  Taking a closer look, I see a black chicken wing sticking out of a hole in one of the bags.

I guess this is it.

Let the wife snap some pictures and head home at a terrible speed to cook dinner and hunker down.  It’s supposed to get down to 15° F, and I have to work on a layer of protective fat if I plan to head out again after dark.

On the way out, a pickup truck packed to the gills with a poor family pulls onto the street.  They boredly stare at us as they slow down, obviously eyeballing to determine why we are there.

I leave them to wonder and peel out onto the main street.

At this point, I am still excited about the prospect of BREAKING THE STORY on those dastardly chicken murdering bastards.

[continued at Right Where You Are Sitting Now]

Frater Isla

Frater Isla also writes under the name Joshua Lee. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.For more of his work, visit .

7 Comments on "Dead Chickens and Santeria at the Romero Cemetery"

  1. Echar Lailoken | Jul 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm |

    Thanks for sharing Fr. Isla. I found this to be interesting.

  2. InfvoCuernos | Jul 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm |

    Not sure its Santeria they’re practicing up there in N. New Mexico. Maybe you could befriend a local Romero and ask.

    • Frater Isla | Jul 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm |

      Oh, Santeria is alive and well up here, but I would love a Romero friend!

      • InfvoCuernos | Jul 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm |

        I got a friend who’s a Romero from North Nuevo, I’ll see if he knows anything. Meanwhile you and Scoobie Doo check out the local food and Thelma is looking for the “lesbian connection”.

        • Frater Isla | Jul 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm |

          Oh, hell, son. Put him in touch!!

          • InfvoCuernos | Jul 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm |

            He’s actually from Chimayo- you know, the place with the holy dirt. I hit him up yesterday, but he’s currently in Vegas so its like he’s on the moon.

  3. emperorreagan | Jul 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm |

    KFC is a jealous god. You better be careful consorting with others than demand chicken, otherwise they might turn you into a double-down for the Colonel himself.

Comments are closed.