Madrid is a city of great historical significance. Among the stories shared over the centuries are unexplained mysteries of lovers, madmen, and murder. Here are three of Madrid’s spookiest:
The Pointing Ghost of the House Of Seven Chimneys
The legend of Elena had been forgotten until the end of the 19th century when builders working on the 16th century building found the skeleton of a woman with coins dating from the same time period under flooring in the basement.
In one version of the story, Elena was purportedly murdered because she was carrying the illegitimate child of King Philip II.
Years earlier, when Philip was a prince, Elena, the beautiful daughter of King Carlos V’s huntsman – for whom the house was built – had won his heart. Before a royal scandal ensued she was married off to Captain Zapata, who died shortly afterwards in the Battle of San Quintin. A young widow now, she gave birth to a baby girl and shortly thereafter died – or was she murdered?
There were whispers of knife wounds found on the body, but before an investigation could start, her body went missing! Then her father was found dead by hanging!
Whatever the story may be, the ghost of a woman in a white dress, has been spotted walking across the rooftop of the Casa de las Siete Chimeneas on moonlit nights holding a lantern. Passersby have witnessed that the ghost gazes at the Alcazar, King Philip II’s royal palace, and points accusingly.
Today, the Renaissance style Casa De Las Siete Chimeneas is the headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Corpse in the Walls of Casa de América
The grand Casa de América was formerly the Linares Palace, a sumptuous home that José de Murga, the Marquis of Linares built for himself and his wife. Located on the corner of Plaza de Cibeles, it is a beautiful example of blinged-out 19th century neo-baroque architecture and the toast of Madrid’s Gilded Age.
One version of the story tells that the young José fell in love with his future wife, Raimunda de Osorio, but was forbidden to marry her by his father. The reason was not because Raimunda was of a different social class – she was the tobacconist’s daughter - but because her parentage was unknown.
After his father died, José and Raimunda married. Their married bliss was ruined, however, when they found a letter from José’s father confessing that he was indeed Raimunda’s father, making them half-brother and sister! Ah, the scandal!
The Pope got involved, ordering the couple to remain chaste if he was to allow them to remain married, but alas, a baby girl was born from incest. She was allegedly murdered at birth and entombed between the walls of the palace. It has been reported that a little girl in a white dress haunts the ball room, and even more spookily, a life-sized doll house.
Tours of the palace, with or without unexplained paranormal activity are available every day of the week.
Long Dead Nuns Wander Around the Reina Sofia Museum
You may visit Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum to see Picasso’s magnificent, and huge, el Guernica, and come away with more unusual sightings.
In the 18th century, the building which houses the Reina Sofia Museum was a hospital for the sick and dying as well as the mentally ill. It was notorious as a place where the poor and homeless were abandoned to protect the rich from Cholera, Black Death and the Bubonic Plague. At maximum capacity, the hospital buildings were said to have housed 18,000 patients.
During its reconstruction and remodeling in the 1980s, construction workers found human skulls, skeletons, shackles and chains, corpses of children, and later, during the second phase of reconstruction, workers found the mummified remains of three nuns in a chapel.
Workers then, as well as current staff have numerous stories of paranormal activity, including wailing and screaming emanating from empty chambers, disconnected elevators ascending and descending, ghostly apparitions sitting on benches, and the sound of heavy rosaries clunking as the nuns make their procession across the courtyards.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is open all week, except on Tuesdays and holidays. It’s four floors are home to an immense collection of modern and contemporary art by Picasso, Dali, Miró, and others.
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