The iconic figure of the witch, wearing a hat and a pair of shoes, which on the broomside cuts the night air of Escasu, is one of the graphic stylizations that have been made of European witches, very old but widely disseminated in The Western world from the publication of traditional folk tales compiled from the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century by different writers (Anderson, Grim, Perrault and others). The profile of this witch begins to associate with the tradition of the witches escasuseñas, belatedly, that is, in the fourth decade of century XX.
Long before this fact, the origin of the presence of the “witches and witches” in Escasú (name of huetar ancestor) goes back to beyond colonial times. Our region was inhabited by aborigines particularly experienced in the knowledge of plants and their medicinal applications. The popular medical recipe that we still have escasuseños and meseteños in general is a compendium, often mixed of the recipes of aboriginal and Spanish grandmothers based on the wise application of poultices, drinking and ingestion of certain natural products. It is well known that the colonizers called the aboriginal physician-priests, the shamans, “witches”, an expression still common in most people to refer to them (“a witch doctor of Boruca cured me”). Our popular tradition affirms that the Aboriginal family that originally inhabited Escasu had a broad domain of natural medicine that is still alive today.
But in order to put things in a better context, a key fact must be added. Today we have a cut out view of the historical Escasu. We assume that the whole history called “escasuseña” is what happened in the present 34 square kilometers of the canton. In fact, the Escasu, spoken by many historical documents (the Escasu Party, created in 1848) extended from the present boundaries to beyond the present Puriscal canton, to the Pacific. (The first district to split was Puriscal on August 7, 1868, followed by Mora on May 25, 1883, and finally Santa Ana on August 29, 1907). The huetares of Quitirrisí, Piedras Negras, Cerro Nene, and other nearby places are from that mestizo cultural historical perspective “escasuseños”. A testimony of this reality is that the mountainous mass that extends to the edges of the canton of Puriscal continues to be called “Cerros de Escasu”.
Perhaps this distinction of being a “witch village” is shared for the same reasons with the Paradise of Carthage, that community also founds the origin of its witchers in the aboriginal identity, also decided, in the near twentieth century use the same symbol Profile of the European witch that we use today the Escasuseños.
* Note to the reader: For historical reasons the author of this note always writes Escasú with that and not with zeta.