Sandoval Signpost


An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988
  Real People

Placitas History Project—the Mysterious Bride

—Bob Gajkowski

In July of 2012, the Placitas History Project (PHP) was handed a mystery. Jean Jones, a Ranchos de Placitas resident, brought us a badly damaged ten-by-13-inch, black-and-white photograph. The photo, obviously the work of a professional photographer, is of a new bride in her beautiful wedding gown. It was found under a tree near the Ranchos gate by a workman from Sta-Rite Lathe and Plaster who was repairing the gate along Highway 165. Ms. Jones spoke with Ty Belknap of the Signpost, who suggested she might contact the History Project regarding the photo.

Careful examination of the photograph, and its matting, found no indentifying marks. Inquiry at residences in the vicinity of the gate also was unsuccessful.

The Placitas History Project is asking for your help to identify “the Mysterious Bride.” If you have any information, contact Bob Gajkowski at 771-0253.

Roy Streit

Roy Streit


Age 66, a resident of Placitas for the last 36 years, passed away Tuesday, October 23, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Joleen; son, daughter-in-law and grandson, Eric, Diane and Christopher Streit of Houston, TX; mother, Precious Streit of Hernando, MS; and brother and sister-in-law, Dwight and Debbie Streit of Seal Beach, CA. Roy was preceded in death by his father, Roy Christopher Streit, and sister, Theresa Ledford. He was a very active member of the Sandoval County Democratic Party. His passion and love of life will be sorely missed. An Irish celebration of his life will be held at the Anasazi Fields Winery at 26 Camino de los Pueblitos, Placitas, NM, on Monday, October 29, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of two preferred charities: the American Cancer Society at 10501 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Ste. 300, Albuquerque, NM 87111 or New Mexico Horse Rescue at Walkin’ N Circles Ranch (

Please visit our online guestbook for Roy at: FRENCH, 7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE, 87109. (505) 823-9400

Victoria and Charles Klemz

Victoria and Charles Klemz

An Appreciation—Victoria Klemz

June 21, 1913—October 2, 2012

Victoria Klemz died on October 2 at the age of 99. She had been staying at St. John’s long-term care facility in Albuquerque for several months. Victoria and her husband Charles lived for at least twenty years—from the Sixties into the Eighties—in the only house fronting on the west side of Camino del Camposanto in the village of Placitas.

Vicky and Chuck were always active in the community. Chuck, who worked at Valiant Printing Company, served on the village of Placitas’s Water Board. Under his identity as “Tumbleweed Press,” he helped produce Pláticas del Pasado (Conversations of the Past)—bilingual interviews with three of the oldest residents of the village of Placitas—Barbarita Baros, Antonio De Lara, and Aurelia Gurule. Christina Gonzales conducted the interviews, and the book was published by the Placitas Community Library Board, where Victoria was a longtime member.

Victoria loved to travel and enjoyed being a hostess. She was delighted when their home was chosen as one of the stops for the Christmas Eve Posadas. She was always involved in the Placitas art community and was a journalist who contributed articles to “El Cronicón,” published by the Sandoval County Historical Society where she was a member. She was also a longtime member of the Pan-American Roundtable in Albuquerque.

Victoria was a woman of wit and opinions. When Chuck retired, the Klemz sold their Placitas home and moved to Las Cruces. When Chuck died, Victoria moved north again, but to Albuquerque rather than Placitas. She made her last trip to Sandoval County when her family scattered her ashes along the Rio Grande at a place that had pleased her. Her sons are Brian K. Jack and Phillip Von Klemz. A full obituary may be found in the Albuquerque Journal, October 6 and 7, 2012.

Submitted in memory by friends of Victoria Klemz.

A Halloween ghost story

The following story is an edited excerpt from American Indian Ghost Stories Of The West, by Antonio R. Garcez, who recently presented this chilling tale to the Sandoval County Historical Society where he stated, “Having traveled to many Indian-owned casinos in and outside of New Mexico, I’ve discovered that, for some strange reason, each one, without exception, has a history of ghosts.”

Katie Marquez’s (Santa Ana) Story

I’m a tribal member of the Santa Ana Pueblo, and I’ve worked at the tribe’s casino for over nine years. I know that there are some fellow pueblo people who would not want me to talk about the spiritual going-ons at the casino, but even though this is the feeling of the tribe, I know that employees talk openly to themselves about the ghosts. I’ve heard them and I also know that the tribal chairmen are aware of what people have seen and spoken of. If my story helps others to recognize that what is taking place is not in the imagination, that there really are spirits in the building, well then maybe we can have a medicine man or woman bless the grounds once again and put these restless souls at peace.

Speaking for myself, I’m scared of the spirits. I’m not going to lie; I’m really scared having to come into the building alone at night. I don’t want to experience anything else like the experiences that I had in the past.

It was just a few months after being hired, six years ago, when I had my first experience with a spirit in the casino. Just before my experience, I was personally told by a fellow pueblo woman worker named Estelle about her own experiences with a spirit that she’d seen in the parking lot one early morning. Estelle told me that it took place when she was walking from her car to the sidewalk. She spotted a little girl about eight or nine years of age. The girl was quite a distance from where this woman was standing. However, the strange thing about this girl was that she was running and jumping about the ground like a small deer. The little girl was making movements that a normal child could not ever do. That’s what initially caught the woman’s attention. The unusually strange, non-human movements the girl was making.

That same year, I was inside the casino’s Event Center room. I, together with Carolyn and Elsa—two other women staff—was in charge of setting up the tables, chairs, and decorations for events. Carolyn mentioned to Elsa and me that she needed a bathroom break. Elsa also decided to accompany her, so they both left me alone in the room for a few minutes. There were approximately forty tables to dress and decorate. I walked to each table placing folded tablecloths in the middle of each. After doing this, I’d begin where I started and unfold them. I was very focused on the job that I was doing when suddenly, I had the strangest feeling that I was being watched. I turned to look at the doors and they were closed. Then I looked up to the area of the stage and, except for the microphone and podium, it was empty. I could see that I was totally alone in the room

I was unable to shake off this feeling. I knew someone was staring at me. I just knew it! I decided to stand quietly in place and listen for footsteps or perhaps a voice. All I heard was the slight humming sound of the air conditioner. But just as I was about to return to the job I was doing, I heard the sound of what appeared to be the dropping of dirt or gravel on the floor. The sound was not abrupt or very loud, so I was not startled, just a bit unnerved. I looked in the direction of the stage and noticed nothing unusual. Then suddenly I heard the sound that I can only imagine was of a cardboard box being kicked very hard coming from what could only be the lighting room located up high and directly above me.

I turned and looked up to face the lighting room and spotted the image of a person—a male—standing and staring directly at me! I stood in place wondering who this person could be. I waved at him with my left hand, and I could see that he noticed me because immediately after I waved at him, he moved from where he was standing just a few feet to his right. Again, I waved at him and then said, “Hey, what are you doing spying on me?” He stood in place gazing at me and suddenly just disappeared! A shock of fear came over me. I almost peed myself! I threw the tablecloths I was holding next to the table where I was standing and quickly got out of there fast! I ran into the nearest bathroom looking for Elsa, gasping for air and calling out her name, but I was alone in there. So I ran out of there and down the hall to the buffet dining room. I soon spotted Carolyn and ran up to her. I hugged her with all my might, but didn’t waste any time before telling her about what I had just seen. She listed to my every word. Then she spoke, “I know you’re telling me the truth, because you’re now the third person who I know who has seen a ghost in this casino.”

I very hesitantly returned to the room with Carolyn and expecting to see Elsa we entered the empty Events Center room. I didn’t want to even accidentally peek at the lighting room. Clutching her arm, I asked Carolyn to take a look around the room for me. She said that there was absolutely no one living or dead that she could see in the room—it was empty. Just when we were wondering where Elsa had gone, she walked through the door. She looked oddly. I asked her if she was alright, and she asked us not to laugh at her, but she was scared. She stated to us, “As I was extending the folded legs from one of the tables, I felt as if an unseen hand had touched my left arm. I turned around and noticed that there was no one next to me, but I kept feeling the pressure of an invisible hand still holding tight to my upper arm! I got so scared that I started to swat at my arm. Then the ‘thing’ would not let go, I decided to run out of the room, and into the safety of the slot machine room! I didn’t notice when the invisible hand let go of me, but it finally did.”

I told Elsa about my own experience, and we both decided to call it quits for the day. Elsa and I reported the experience to our supervisor, and we were surprised to hear that our experience with a spirit in the casino was not an isolated one. We were asked to finish up the day assisting in another department, but were strongly advised not to discuss our ‘encounters’ with any other employees. Carolyn and three other employees were left to finish up our job. I’ve spoken to my family about the spirit I saw at the casino as well as Elsa’s experience. My mother told me that the spirits are members of our people who are keeping watch over us. I shouldn’t be afraid of them, just respectful.

My older sister Linda mentioned to me that there are graves on the casino grounds, and in fact the graves are located just a short distance from the western edge of the casino’s main doors—next to the main highway, just behind the large wall with the sign that reads, “Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort.” The graves are directly behind that wall surrounded by a small wooden fence. I’ve also seen the photographs of large round circles of light that are called “spirit orbs.” Lots of people have captured these lights just by accident during weddings and other events. They’ll appear flying about the room and even next to people. Just ask around—you’ll see I’m telling you the truth.

The last thing I want to say is that people need to respect these graves and not climb over the fence and wander about. The ones who are buried in that area are ancestors—people like you and me. They lived and had families like everyone. It’s best to show your respect by being silent when passing the area on foot or when driving in your car. Offer a prayer, but never, ever, disrespect their resting.

We pueblo people know that even though the remains of our ancestors are underground, the spirits of our brothers and sisters are always involved in our daily routines. So, please respect the area and keep away. I’m not concerned about what people may think about ghosts. I know I’ve had my own experiences, and I’m personally scared of them. I have confidence that our medicine people know about these graves, and that they gave the right offerings and prayers to our ancestors. I know that we, as pueblo people, need our ancestor’s guidance and protection to help us all do good. But sometimes even though they might not mean to scare me, I do get scared. Perhaps the spirits need to be given more offerings.”

To read this story in full and to learn about other books and stories by Antonio R. Garcez, visit his website at:

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