I met Rafael de Jesus as I was visiting one of the seven wonders, the ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico.
He had lived his whole life right by the ruins.
As a child, he used to climb up to the top of the temple, feel its energy, and picture himself as the king.
He had witnessed quiet fields and chewing cows being slowly replaced with loud and colourful tourists, and had become one of the most passionate guides and archeologists you'd ever meet.
He had spent his life researching the Mayan and Aztec's empires: a large part of their cultures was dedicated to religious and spiritual beliefs.
He told me that while Mayans would connect with Gods through prayers, Aztecs would use religion to manipulate people into become either slaves or sacrifice offers.
Indeed at the time, game winners were honoured to die, as they would skip the 13 steps to heaven and head there directly.
The kings ulterior motives at the time being to get the work done, and drastically solve overpopulation.
Few people, if any, were aware that religion was used as a mean to control them.
We could easily draw a parallel in today's use of religion in politics to manipulate masses... As per the metaphoric quote from the Matrix movie, "people are not ready to disconnect".
That's anyways how Rafael has always thought of Spirituality and religions: stories coming from the imagination of leaders.
So one day, as he was in charge or restoring a temple, he decided to trespass instructions and enter the unopened temple, without waiting for a Shaman to give its blessing... What could happen anyways?
Little did he expect that he would be completely change his mind about the existence of spirits.
So he & his colleagues went inside the ruin that had never been opened before, without a Shaman's permission.
They ALL felt a strong evil energy, the sensation that they should not be there, that they were surrounded by an unexplainable force, and that something bad would happen if they sticked around.
"You don't believe it until you experience it.
Now, Mayan and Aztecs rituals make better sense. I truly believe all the stories I tell tourists.
Actually, now with the expansion of technology, information spreads more easily than ever and we hear a lot of other unexplainable stories, ghosts or UFOs for example. Even if there is not scientific proof, I think that there are paranormal activities out there".