Mailboxes line a road in Trujillo

TRUJILLO

      I'm not so sure I believe in Bigfoot or Nessie, and I've got some doubts about the whole UFO deal. But there is one thing I'm one hundred percent sure is true: David Copperfield can saw a woman in half.

QUICK STATS

  • COUNTY:  San Miguel
  • LOCATION:  31 miles east of Las Vegas
  • POST OFFICE: 1927-74
  • NAME ORIGIN:  Surname of an early settler here

      I believe in magic. I'd swear in a court of law that a woman can be levitated and that a man can change into a tiger and that a three hundred pound elephant can vanish right before my eyes. The more impossible the feat, the more I believe it actually happened. All the proof I need is the sequins, the magic wands, the never-ending scarves, the metal rings and dancing ropes and trick cards -- the hocus pocus. I believe all of it. You see, the rabbit was not in the hat before -- the magician even showed it to us, empty! -- but it's sure there now. Sleight of hand, my foot. Magic is real, and the proof is in the tophat.

     And now, Dunninger and Copperfield and Henning can add a new associate to their ranks: Trujillo, New Mexico. Trujillo is a roadside magician. It performs one of the most amazing road tricks I've ever seen, with the help of its beautiful assistant, NM 104. Approach from the west and you see nothing but road ahead. But round the curve outside town and PRESTO - Trujillo appears from nowhere! Pass through town and down a hill and suddenly, it's gone! Nothing in your rear-view mirror, nothing up your sleeve. Pretty cool, huh? Not even white tigers could make it any better.

     Trujillo is the Houdini of the highway, the Blackstone of the blacktop, a riddle wrapped in an escape-proof enigma and then sawn in half. Maybe the town isn't really there after all. Maybe it really does vanish after you round that curve, just like the woman in the box.

     Trujillo has been up to its old tricks since a small community was formed there in the mid 1830s. The community was later named for Delfino Trujillo, the first postmaster. It's a small, quiet place. When I visited, the clouds and snow merged earth and sky together, so I wasn't quite sure where one began and the other ended. Another illusion in Trujillo's magic black bag.

      Magic is fun. It nourishes us. Maybe that's Trujillo's purpose too. Trujillo lets us wonder, and that's what I want out of life. I want smoke and mirrors. I want to know that the hand is quicker than the eye. I want to believe that just by waving a magic wand and saying the word "Abracadabra!" I could suddenly and mysteriously disappe