Lord of Poison (Mexico City)

Written by Mark McElroy

I love a creepy story — and the Lord of Poison tale is good old Catholic folklore at its finest.

Just inside Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral, you’ll find an ornate altar crowned with a cobalt-colored Jesus. While already familiar with black icons of The Christ (many of which, especially in Europe, are more likely Christianized icons of Isis), this was my first time to see anything quite like this.

Here’s the story: a local priest had the habit of kissing the feet of this statue on a daily basis. Assassins poisoned the feet of the figure, knowing that each time the priest kissed the statue, he would be sealing his fate.

The legend goes that, over time, the statue’s feet curled inward, with one foot covering the other, as a way to warn the priest of the foul play. The poisoned feet also turned black — and, ultimately, the entire figure blackened as a way to tell the church members that something horrible had gone wrong.

Locals still venerate the image, referring to it as “The Lord of Poison.” Surrounded by flickering candles and Christmas bouquets, the Lord of Poison acquires an inexplicable magnetism. The truth behind its inky, reflective flesh doesn’t matter one bit, as this is another of those wonderful cases where believing the story is a lot more fun than debunking it.

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Mark McElroy

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