To All,

We are now in the season when people seem to focus on “ghost and goblins”. It’s very much turned into a commercial and money-making time as people venture out to plan “Halloween parties”, pick out costumes, some not so appropriate, and ways that appear to contradict what we, generation-old San Juan Capistrano descendants, were taught regarding our ancestral Spirit World. Some have even gone further and turned our Spirit World into a source of entertainment and money-making events – almost mocking the respectful and true meaning of our traditional teachings and beliefs that we were raised with and taught by generations of the members of our historical San Juan Capistrano families/ancestors. Some of the almost fantasized types of “ghost legend tours/stories” are not even truthful and seem to be created and made up to simply add to certain individuals/organizations’ entertainment atmosphere/goals. And some of their “ghost stories” are a bit over the top, “dressed” up and very much exaggerated – the “headless monk” and the “lady who turned into a wild wolf dog” etc… To too many of our historical families, this is something very DISRESPECTFUL and we want the public to know about/be made aware of our generations-old beliefs and traditions involving this most sacred season of our Spirit World and its connection to our ancestors and families.

Many of our historic families of San Juan Capistrano were raised to respect the Spirit (NOT Ghost) World. If the ancestral spirits came to us it was for a reason. We were taught they came back to finish and accomplish something that was left incomplete/undone during their earthly life. They came to us for a reason – asking for our prayers and for us to remember them. We were taught and told many times that when we encountered someone from our Spirit world (and we would at some point) that we were to do THREE IMPORTANT things. *FIRST was to QUIETLY OBSERVE AND BE RESPECTFUL, *SECOND, WAS TO SAY A PRAYER FOR THEM AS THIS IS WHAT THEY WERE REALLY WANTING FROM US AND *THIRD, TO THEN WALK AWAY QUIETLY BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER THEM. We were reminded to NEVER MOCK, TAKE LIGHTLY or OFTEN SPEAK OF this very special and personal encounter. We would be encouraged to remember our ancestral spirits and encounters with prayers and Masses – especially on the Catholic Feast Day of All Souls. This is a special day when we would attend Mass and then visit the gravesites of all our loved ones at our Old Mission Historic Cemetery – something very important to my/our ancestors. Now we celebrate a yearly “Annual Mass of Remembrance” on-site at our Historic Cemetery with many generational old historical family members in attendance – so our traditions go on…

On several occasions, I have experienced/encountered a very personal visit by the Spirits. These visits by the Spirits have occurred when I least expected it – and it was always an unusual type of surprise. I was involved in doing work and had nothing but my work on my mind. I would turn around and there they were just standing quietly and looking at me. There was no cold sensation, no uncomfortable feeling, no unusual sounds, and no negative feelings experienced. The Spirits were just there, they looked VERY HUMAN in appearance – NEVER “ghostly” appearance, they never appeared distorted or “spooky” looking, they appeared to be very much at peace, some would smile at me. I experienced these encounters at the Mission San Juan Capistrano on two occasions, Old Mission Cemetery on two occasions, and my home on 3-4 different occasions. They were both children and adult spirits. I never felt uneasy or got scared, probably because of the way I was taught and raised. I believe they were truly family ancestral members and I believe they were visiting me for a reason. So, I followed and did what I was taught as a young person. I quietly observed, said my prayer for them, and then quietly went on my way maintaining a deep respect for them and their “visit”. After some family research, I believe I even know who they were. Also, I felt honored that they came to me – they are/were my own family members.

I would PLEASE request that you take the time to REALLY UNDERSTAND and DEEPLY RESPECT our carefully handed down teachings, beliefs, and traditions about our San Juan Capistrano Sacred Spirit World traditions and beliefs. It’s NOT an occasion for personal ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES, MONEY MAKING, or MOCKERY. OUR TRADITIONS AND BELIEFS DO MATTER!

Thank you and for all my Ancestors,

Jerry Nieblas,
Direct Descendant of the ancient villages of Putuidem and Sagavit/Zodut, Zoget and Maria Bernarda Chigilia and Early Californio Rancho Yorba and Rios Familia