Would you believe me if I told you that I have superpowers? It would be fun to teleport myself anywhere, be invisible, or talk to sea creatures.
For the most part, when a person claims to have super abilities, everyone else understands that there is imagination at work. You might even play along, but you wouldn’t believe my claims.
So, when was it not a good idea to claim to have superpowers at the risk someone would take you seriously?
The 16th Century was a terrible time to tell people that you were superpowerful, especially if you were a Spanish priest. Duh.
Pedro Ruiz Calderón was a priest in Mexico City and claimed that he was able to:
- Teleport great distances (to other continents very quickly)
- Be invisible (so he could seduce women)
- Predict the future
- Discover buried treasure
- Summon and exorcise demons
Wow, that’s quite a repetoire. He also bragged that he met the devil in hell where he acquired some of his abilities. The devil autographed at least one book for him while he was there, although that tome was not found in his library. Imagine that.
His motivations seemed to be money and women. He did find treasure and was paid to help others find lost things. He bragged about seducing many, many women, which means he probably didn’t.
The shocking thing is that he never performed any of his powers for the inquistors at his trial. What’s more, he didn’t use his teleportation power to escape prison, nor did he use it to travel back to Spain when he was exiled there as punishment. He could have saved his government the time and cost of shipping him across the Atlantic Ocean.
He got off with a light sentence considering how many people were tortured and killed in the Spanish Inquisition. Perhaps he did use his superpowers on the inquisitors (or paid them with gold), and no one knows what happened to him when he returned to Spain. Perhaps the Spanish Inquisition picked him up there.
Just for fun, here’s a link to Monty Python’s “The Spanish Inquisition” sketch on YouTube.
If you had superpowers, would you brag about them or keep them secret? Would the lure of money be enough motivation for you to make up special skills or abilities? I’d love to hear from you.