Like Abó and Las Humanas, red walled Quarai was a thriving pueblo when Oñate first approached it in 1598 to "accept" its oath of allegiance to Spain. Three of Quarai's Spanish priests were head of the New Mexico Inquisition during the 1600s, including Fray Estevan de Perea, Custodian of the Franciscan order in the Salinas Jurisdiction and called by one historian the "Father of the New Mexican Church." Despite the horrors associated with the word "Inquisition," records from the hearings show that the early inquisitors, in New Mexico at least, were compassionate men capable of separating gossip from what the church regarded as serious transgressions.
Visitors to this seventeenth century Spanish mission are surprised to find the ghost of a conquistador still guarding the ruins. He enters through one of the gaps in the adobe walls and is surrounded by a blue-white light. He wears a tabard bearing the symbol of the Calatrava, a Spanish military religious group. He was first sighted in 1913, when he pointed his finger at a startled tourist and said (in Spanish) "Frequent this place, traveler on a mystic journey."
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