From 1979 to 2014 in a coma. His name has taken over the media and social networks: from large newspapers to news agencies, public televisions and small local media, dozens of publications have spread the story of Manel Monteagudo, the Galician poet who claims to have woken up after a 35-year coma caused by an accident. His account of how he looked in the mirror after waking up saying ‘that’s not me, that’s an old man, I’m 22 years old’ is enormously tempting, but is it true?
Suspicions about this story begin with the knowledge that during his supposed coma, Manel – who is actually called José Manuel Blanco Castro – married his girlfriend and became a father twice. How he became father is something that the aforementioned does not comment “out of respect” for his wife. How someone can marry while unconscious is also a mystery. To do this, according to remember from Maldita.es, should have given the power to a third party before slipping into a coma.
These suspicions have motivated the media that have spread the news without contrasting to have gradually nuanced the information: withdrawing signatures, eliminating entire paragraphs, unpublishing and, in some cases, issuing a statement of errors, and even totally refocusing what was published.
Suspicions have motivated the media that have spread the news without contrasting to have gradually nuanced the information
But let’s get back to the (alleged) facts. The comatose state would have happened to Manel after an accident in Iraq in February 1978, when he was working on board a ship. It was a comatose state, or it was amnesia, or it was a vegetative state, or semi-consciousness … It was everything and nothing, because the versions vary: another reason for doubt.
On an information from ‘La Voz de Galicia’ from December 2019 –Of the first news on this matter– it is said that he spent 64 days in a coma, but it is titled stating that it was 35 years “in a vegetative state” and in the text it speaks of “an amnesia”.
Aftermath for life
The truth is that such a prolonged coma leaves life-long consequences. Tomás Segura, head of the Neurology Service of the University Hospital of Albacete, cited by Maldita.es, ensures that “prolonged physical and brain inactivity cause sequelae from which it takes a long time to recover.” However, Monteagudo assures that he did not do rehabilitation or receive medical treatment during the 35 years of coma, nor afterwards.
After the accident and after supposedly hospitalized for a time in Iraq, he was reportedly transferred to the Modelo hospital in A Coruña. A fountain of the health center, contacted by the Onda Cero chain, assures that Manel never got to enter.
A resident of Vigo, a neighbor of the poet, has explained that he has known him since he has “use of reason” and that he remembers him “as he is now
It is striking that in 2014, the year in which he allegedly woke up from a coma, no media outlets echoed it, nor did any health institution.
The companions of Maldita.es have contacted a resident of Vigo, a neighbor of the poet, who has explained that he has known him since he has “use of reason” and that he remembers him “as he is now.” “I have been with him at his house and he has been at mine,” he says. Regarding the accident, he mentions that “he was on sick leave, that’s true”, however, he denies that he has been in a coma: “Neither 35 nor one has led a normal life.”
You only have your word
Manel himself admits to Onda Cero that no one but him can confirm his story: “Frankly, apart from my word, there is none”.
The aforementioned radio station has also spoken with a neighbor of the town of Noia where Manel resides: “I am 33 years old. As long as I can remember, he has led a normal life in his house next to me. We have had a cordial relationship, as neighbors , for 30-odd years. Now this story has come out and it has impacted us all. It is a small neighborhood and we all live very close. The story does not have much history. ”
What is certain is that Manel Monteagudo, or José Manuel Blanco Castro, is a poet. That he has published at least three books and that he has a few in preparation. Perhaps some are fables.