• Fraser du Toit

Gil Perez - Teleporting Soldier

Here's another tale of apparent teleportation, or dimensional-shifting, similar to the Green Children of Woolpit and the Man From Taured. Both of those stories have likely been modified over time in the great game of telephone that is human culture.

The story of Gil Perez, a Spanish Soldier serving in the Philippines, who teleported on October 24, 1593, is fascinating because it was, allegedly, documented in official records. One moment he was leaning, gently napping, the next he was elsewhere entirely.


Philippines to Mexico - Blink and You'll Miss It



Gil Perez was having a tough day. He was part of the Filipino Guardia Civil, tasked with the protection of the city and the governor. Unfortunately for Gil, the governor had just been assassinated under his watch. He wasn't directly responsible, but he was on sentry duty at the palace when it happened.

Perez had been on duty for several hours when he felt faint. Manila can still be quite hot in October. He did the only reasonable thing, and leaned up against a wall for a quick standing-nap.

When Gil Perez next opened his eyes, he was standing in a large plaza. Panic gripped the Spaniard as he didn't recognize the plaza at all. This wasn't Manila, or the Philippines.

Gil asked the people around him where he was. To his shock and confusion, he was informed that he was in the Plaza Mayor, Mexico City. He called them crazy and refused to believe it.


Satanic Deserter


Pretty soon, the guards were alerted to the armed man wearing a strange uniform standing around in the plaza. They arrested him, and he was questioned by their superiors.

Gil Perez told them all about his bad day. First, he mentioned that his governor had been murdered by Chinese pirates. The authorities had no knowledge of such an event. According to the latest news, the governor of the Philippines, Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas, was still alive and well.

He also told them about how he had no idea how he got to Mexico City. Gil had received his orders on the morning of 23 October in Manila. They were questioning him in the evening of 24 October in Mexico City.

The authorities were stumped. Gil Perez was definitely a deserter, an imprisonable offense. They just couldn't figure out how exactly he had deserted his post. Satan was obviously to blame.

For 2 months they held him in prison. Perez was assessed daily for signs of witchery or satanic influence. Eventually they had to conclude that he was a good Christian, but a deserter nonetheless!

Soon a ship from Manila arrived carrying news of the governor's assassination. The crew of the ship recognized Gil Perez. Some went so far as to claim they had seen him on 23 October.

The Spanish authorities released Gil Perez. He was sent back to Manila by ship. There he lived out the rest of his life in uneventful bliss.


Truth is in the Eye of the Beholder


Obviously, this story has been adapted and changed through the grapevine. The name Gil Perez was first attached to the teleporting soldier story in 1908, by the folklorist Thomas Allibone Janvier.

Janvier based his story on the 1900 version written by Mexican folklorist, Luis González Obregón. Obregón claimed that his tale was based on an account written in 1698 by Gaspar de San Agustín, who wrote it as fact.

The vine goes lower. Janvier claimed that Obregón mentions a 1609 account by Antonio de Morga, where he mentions the officials of Mexico City knowing of the governor's death the day it happened.

That's as deep as it goes. We still have a 16-year gap between the first recording of the event and the event itself. That original version also doesn't mention the teleporting soldier, Gil Perez.


Conclusion


History is a muddy puddle at the best of times. We remember what is recorded, and nothing is recorded without an agenda. The more time between an event and its recording, the muddier it gets.

People love a good mystery. Folklore, myths and legends are often presented as fact. Who doesn't love a good ghost story, or a tale of a soldier magically transported across the ocean by Satan Airways?

I'm not saying that Gil Perez didn't teleport, or wasn't abducted by aliens and dropped off in the wrong Spanish colonial hub. What I am saying is that this is another unsolvable mystery.

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