Can Sales, Palma, May 27th, 2016

One of the more fascinating artistic concepts that exist in the world is to read an old almanac.
The Parenòstic, is published in Majorca by the Ultima Hora, news paper every year, with the occasion of the Dijous Bo of Inca.
On its pages one can find geographical details of the archipelago, a calendar of saint´s days, a wheel of fortune, celebration markets, a horoscope, recipes, moon phases, Earth orbits, time table of masses with winter and summer times, a formula for measuring surfaces and volumes, and how to determine the distances by the number of steps you take.

Sadly, some sections such as EN TORRAPIPES have disappeared. An amazing study about how planets have an influence in the human body and purgatives and bloodletting TABLES.

Un Almanaque de las Islas Baleares

Balearic Islands Almanac

Researching the Almanacs in the Old Files room, in Can Sales, I find a compilation of Palma Yearbook of the years 1885-1890, printed in the printing house of Felipe Guasp.

And, reading between the pages I find that in 1889 when my birthday is not a lucky day as the moon crescent is located above Aquarius, at 12 hours and 55 minutes exactly, and because it’s freezing cold.

I also discover that I am lucky not to live in 1652 when an epidemic of plague entered the island through the Port of Soller and quietly slips Inca, Selva, Campanet, Sineu, Petra, Lluchmajor, Buñola and Palma, killing 20,406 people.

And above all, I am happy not to live in 1731 when TORTURE was still applied. An inhuman concept that began to be used on the island in the fourteenth century and took many years to disappear.
I shudders reading the transcript of a trial that took place in Inca against MT accused of murdering Elizabet Guasp.
It is a film that recounts the grisly Gore process of torture to which the accused was subjected to make him confess.
The judge asks the accused to tell the truth and plead guilty to the death of Elizabeth Guasp, but the defendant declares his innocence and says the woman killed herself.

Then, the judge insisted again and the defendant reiterates his innocence. So again and again, while the executioner tortured and dismembered MT, between question and answer.

There are several really exhausting pages, the hardness of the story, and when at last you think is the end because the defendant is dying and asks for the last rites, appears on the scene a doctor who takes his the pulse and declares that there is a real danger of suffocation.

The horror of the contemporary reader is unsurpassed and indescribable, and harsh penalties bearable when the judge orders to interrupt the interrogation and the accused rack down to get revive and continue with the interrogation later.
I know, my beloved, is a TERRIBLE and CRUEL process that seems unreal but it was very real in Mallorca in the eighteenth century.

While on the other hand, you get to laugh a while with some funny epitaphs like the one signed by L.C

Here lies Dr. Mata and Gumía,
You will not weep readers;
He made us mourn when he lived.


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About María Julia Bennassar

Hola! Soy María Julia, Una arquitecta técnica a la que le gusta el ARTE y escribir; suena raro, lo sé




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