The governor then dismissed the
court and offered to help him hold his tongue by having his mouth sewn shut. Then he ordered the Andre tied and placed in
a box behind a full length silver-framed mirror ( just imported from Venice) and had it placed in his daughters room.
His daughter delighted in the gift of such a precious mirror.
Andre died a week or so later. The Countess never knew
of his disposition prissying herself and dancing in front of the mirror for years. She died years later during a yellow fever
From here the story takes on more of a legends status.
Stories about the Mirror sometimes called the Martyrs Mirror pops up with different twist throughout Christendom, reminding
all of the religious persecutions of righteous people.
It was the legend surrounding Fort Mose
that is juxtpositioned so perfectly as stand out. See Ft Mose part of present day St Augustine was founded by run away slaves.
(Mose is the original Indian name for the area.) In order to get their freedom they had to first convert to Catholicism. They
did however retain some of their cultures, oral tradition and practices like dancing and singing in Ring Shouts.
In the middle 18 the century many Mose died defending
St Augustine from the English at the Battle of Bloody Marsh (1742). The most heroic was Captain Antonio Estelus, who received
a gift, of a very old mirror, as a reward from the governor. The mirror was said to be so heavy it was carried to him by oxcart.
This made things difficult when the English soon insisted that he and the rest of the Mose people leave Florida.
It is said he set sail with Mirror traveling to Cuba
and then along the South American coast for 15 years, finally ending up in a part of Mexican Empire now called Nicaragua.
He spent two year building his new home, hunting and
selling pelts in the solitude of the rain forest beneath the smoldering San Cristobal Volcano. One day a beautiful girl named
Catherine appeared at his door. She asked to come in, glanced at the ornate mirror and pleaded to use it from time to time.
Catherine's dancing left Antonio breathless. Over the next few weeks during her daily visits he taught her how to dance in
the Mose traditional ring and she taught him how to mirror all her moves. During the dancing Antonio felt his jaw lock up
and his body Gigantonas (puppetized with uncontrolled moves). From the depths of his psyche came the thought, this is sorcery.
He eventually told this to a priest who came from St
Augustine back when Andre had. The priest explained his Mose Catholic belief that everyone has two souls, one godly- soul
leaves the body and returns to God at death, but the animal- soul may decide to stay on earth if it has unfinished business.
It is the animal- soul that may become a La Carretanagua
or a boo hag, types of phantom demons.
The priest told him not to let her in the house anymore
and to position two brooms as a cross at the doors and windows. Andre agreed to do this. That night Catherine knocked on his
door, he said, " By the power of all that is good you may not come in.", she pleaded with him all night and left just before
dawn. Then he heard a distant scream. He ran to investigate when the battlefield hardened soldier saw his worst horror. It
looked like the Niquiranos local Indian fur traders had made Catherine into a Taxidermy display on a tree. Just her skin left
to hang on a tree to dry.
The next day Catherine showed up at Antonio's house
to find the door open. A note on the mirror. The guilt for Antonio was too great. He climed San Cristobal and leaped into
its crater. The priest helped cover up this most grievous sin.
(The Watas did make the point that some phantom demons
leave their skin at night when they go hunting.)
The mirror stayed in the unfinished house for over a
century. The family that bought the house later expanded it and turned it into a lodge.
In 1890 more than a century after Captain Antonio Estelus's
death a new dance craze was taking place. The Tango invented in Nicaragua was brought to the larger cites of South America
it was based on mirroring the image of your partner, moving around in a circle and copying the movements of leaning gigantonas.
It is said in 1895 the first Tango contest had taken
place in Nicaragua the winner a mute Black Frenchman and his young Spanish wife, Andre and Catherine Clerk
Even more interesting the contest is said to have taken
place in front of what they called the Hall of Martyrs which centered around what was called the great Mirror of Mose.
After several decades the Tango craze died out, but
in 2005 a series of Tango Tournaments started up again in Nicaragua, under the appellation Volcada Gigantonas Tango Debajo
del Volcán. The First winner was a couple from the United States, Robert Makemson and his partner Cathy. Oddly they live in
Ponte Vedre Florida only 20 miles from St. Augustine .