FALFURRIAS, Texas -- He was known as "The Healer of the Olmos," a "curandero" or witch doctor believed to have the power to heal.
On the eve of the 110th anniversary of his death, people from all over Texas, even across the country, continue to visit this folk saint, especially during trying times.
Located just a few blocks away from Texas Highway 281 is a century-old shrine. It's a cemetery, home to the resting body of the famous local healer named Don Pedro Jaramillo.
It's a place that attracts followers from across the country, especially the Hispanic community. It's often visited by 46-year-old Roman Olivares, who was first brought here by his spiritual teachers when he was just 8 years old.
Olivares said that on this day, he came to make an offering to "Don Pedrito," volunteering to cut the grass to make the area look nicer. After all, he says, it’s the least he can do for the blessings he’s received.
He will never forget how Don Pedrito helped him continue his studies to become an engineer in Mexico, which his religious teacher predicted when he was a boy, he said.
Dozens of people visit every week. They light up a candle with Don Pedro Jaramillo’s face on it, put up photographs on the walls, write letters, or offer locks of hair. They then pray over his grave, asking to be healed.
The shrine also attracts psychics, card readers, and other practitioners of the paranormal, adding to the mysticism and pagan tradition.
“As far as I can remember, this was the way it was,” said Roberto Villarreal, who’s great-grandfather was adopted by Pedro Jaramillo.
Villarreal’s relatives are the only ones allowed to be buried at the shrine.
“There were very few doctors, very scarce, so people from around the area came because, really, there was no healthcare. So they would come to visit him,” he said.
The story tells of a healer from Mexico who made his way to Texas in the 19th century. One day, Pedro Jaramillo used mud to heal a facial wound. A few days later, he had a revelation in his sleep.
“… and supposedly he heard a voice from above that said, ‘do this and you’ll be cured,’” Villarreal explained. “And later on, he was given instructions to help people out.”
Jaramillo would use natural remedies and preach to his followers that the cure is in their faith in God. However, his rumored psychic abilities and his dedication to the poor have made him more than a legend, with some comparing him to a saint.
“It’s a place that Falfurrias is known for. People say ‘'Falfurrias’ and they think of watermelons, baseball, and Don Pedrito Jaramillo."
Even though the property was sold by Villarreal’s aunt two years ago, the shrine remains open to the public 24/7, honoring ‘Don Pedrito’, remembered for serving everyone at any time.