IT all began more than a week ago when a Benissa diver found a knotted bundle submerged near the Peñon de Ifach.
This contained an almost complete skeleton and objects that included a doll, feathers, twigs bearing names and income tax documents. The sheet-wrapped collection had been in the water between two and three days, Guardia Civil investigators said, although the skeleton had previously been buried for around 40 years.
Divers located another bundle the same day, again on the seabed adjoining the Peñon, and nine Benissa divers spotted another that night. The Guardia Civil brought the second find ashore but the third has not been located although two more have since appeared. One spotted by a snorkeller and another by Guardia Civil divers.
Unlike the other sheets, this was embroidered with symbols used in Afro-Cuban Santeria which is based on elements of African and Catholic worship. Disconcertingly, one motif depicted a horned goat more often associated with devil worship.
The contents of the bundles were a mixed bag and included a crucifix as well as a statue of Santeria’s mother goddess, Yemaya, mistress of the seas and oceans. All were found in the sea off the south face of the Peñon and none of the bones showed signs of violence or blood crimes, presumably in keeping with Santeria whose ‘spells’ centre on love, money, health and luck.
The bones were in contact with the ground for decades, said the pathologist who examined them, which rules out cemeteries in Calpe and surrounding towns where niches are used for burials.
Meanwhile investigators traced the names on the tax papers in the first bundle to Badajoz (Extremadura).