Luis deRivera (17th century) was a mule drover accused of bewitching cattle and mules to stampede. The case of Luis de Rivera illustrates how problems of all kinds were once easily blamed on Witchcraft.
In 1628, de Rivera signed on as a mule drover with a supply wagon train traveling from Mexico to New Mexico. Enroute, the cattle and mules went into a stampede that resulted in serious financial losses. The other hands immediately suspected that a witch must be among them.
De Rivera, who had suffered a long run of bad luck in other matters, broke down and confessed that he must be the culprit. As soon as the wagon train arrived in Santa Fe, de Rivera was turned over to the Inquisition and sent back to Mexico City for trial by the church. There he once again confessed his guilt and begged for mercy, saying he was foolish and was not trying to commit sin or renounce the Christian faith. The court let him off with a light sentence of penance.
- Simmons, Marc. Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1974.