Through the mid-20th century Hispanics in Santa Fe continued to practice the funeral traditions of medieval Spain, which included the superstitions associated with death. In the 1940s and 50s they believed that they had their own Angel of Death. A mysterious man by the name of Alejandrito roamed the streets of town. This man had an uncanny knack of knowing when someone was about to die. People feared his presence and would say, “Alla anda Alejandrito rodeando las animas. ¿Quién se ird a morir?” “(Alejandrito is gathering the souls of the departed, I wonder who will die next?)
A Mystery Man
Alejandrito was born on Alto Street near Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. During his lifetime he was referred to as an “innocente,” a person of limited mental capacity. Born into a poor family, Alejandrito was also mute. He always wore hand-me-downs and a large dark coat over layers of other coats regardless of the season. He stood 5 feet and seven inches high, was very thin and had a sunburned weathered face from years of living on the street.
Alejandrito’s life remained a mystery, not much was known about him. But what people did know was that when someone died, no matter what part of Santa Fe, within hours Alejandrito was at the house. He stayed with the mourners and would lead the funeral procession to the cemetery. The community of Santa Fe believed that God spoke to Alejandrito telling him when someone was going to die.
Death Comes for Alejandrito
In 1960 on a cold winter morning Alejandrito was found frozen to death. His body lay next to the Santa Fe River by Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Ironically, he died not far from the home where he was born. For the man who attended so many funerals, consoling the bereaved, no one was there for him. For Alejandrito his fate was to die alone.