On January 30, 1540, an epic trial began in Mexico City involving an ordained Catholic priest, Pedro Ruiz Calderon, who was accused of practicing black magic.
Instead of denying the accusations like many people did then, the priest instead lauded them, reports Yahoo! News.
Among his abilities, Calderon claimed to be able to teleport between continents, make women fall in love with him, turn invisible, predict the future, turn any metal into gold, summon and exorcise demons, and discover buried treasure.
John Chuchiak IV, professor at Missouri State University who has been translating and publishing documents recording the trials start, stated that:
“He really typifies all of the major types of learned magic, from summoning and conjuring demons to the powers of cloaking himself, making himself invisible.”
Chuchiak IV has published the opening trial documents in his book The Inquisition in New Spain 1536-1820. There are more than 100 pages of trial documents including a speech by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Secretary of the Holy Office who later became a conquistador in the Philippines. In his speech, Legazpi notes that several people told him about the priest’s abilities to use the Black Arts.
Among his many feats, the Catholic priest even claimed to have visited hell, according to LiveScience. Chuchiak stated:
“He and three men went to explore a cave. He said it was 3,000 leagues below the surface of the Earth.”
Calderon claimed that, while many of his companions perished, he was able to descend into the depths of hell, learning the secrets of the black arts and alchemy, returning with books from hell including one that the Priest said had the signature of the devil.
The book with the devil’s signature was never discovered, but several strange books were discovered after the priest’s arrest. A manual on how to do exorcisms as well as an instruction book on finding treasure were found along with “archival letters written in some mysterious writing, a certain cipher that he claimed that he could read. No one else could read it,” noted Chuchiak.
While none of the Spanish priest’s abilities were ever documented, Calderon did have an uncanny knack for discovering treasure and also bragged frequently about all of the women he had slept with. People would come to the priest to ask for help finding lost things, lost people, and lost treasures because he could usually help them find it.
The judge at the priest’s trial exiled him back to Spain, forbidding him from giving Catholic services for two years. It is not known what happened to Pedro Ruiz Calderon after he was exiled.