Despite living in an era in which everything is computerized, there is still a halo of mystery that surrounds Spain and that has given rise to some of the most terrifying Spanish legends in Europe. So much so, that there is hardly a corner of the Iberian Peninsula that does not harbor some history as a result of a rich ancient oral tradition.
10 short Spanish legends of terror
Spain is full of dark mysteries as disturbing as these short legends that we have gathered below.
10. Montserrat, the haunted mountain
The bare rocks that crown the top of this mountain have given it a unique appearance in the entire Catalan orography, a characteristic that has probably contributed to the emergence of many Spanish legends of supernatural overtones that have taken place on its slopes and paths. In addition to suspecting that the Holy Grail may have been hidden, it is said that certain forces emanating from its cliffs make this mountain the epicenter of many UFO sightings.
Another of the fables has to do with the patron saint of Catalonia, ‘The Virgin of Montserrat’, whose image engraved on wood was discovered in one of the mountain caverns, after, always according to oral tradition,Two children who were walking through the area, witnessed a celestial light that guided them to the grotto in which the figure was found . It was there that the monastery was built, which is visited by hundreds of people every day.
9. The Holy Grail in Spain
The most precious object of Christianity along with the Ark of the Covenant has also been the subject of a multitude of speculations throughout the globe. There are several enclaves in which it is said that the sacred cup was guarded during its transfer from one place to another over the centuries; and in so many others it is ensured that the authentic relic sleeps.
Among these places of reference that were or are the resting place of the chalice of Christ, are the Cathedral of Valencia,the monastery of Montserrat, in the province of Barcelona, where Himmler himself went in his eagerness to collect large objects with supposed magical properties; or the temple of Santa Maria la Real, in Pedrafita do Cebreiro (Lugo), an obligatory stop for pilgrims, devotees and lovers of Spanish legends in general.
8. Trasmoz, the cursed town
There is only one town in the entire Spanish geography that has been excommunicated by direct order of the Pope: it is Trasmoz, in Zaragoza. Back in the 13th century, this municipality was expelled by the Catholic Church as a result of a territorial dispute over the supply of firewood. Three centuries later, Trasmoz received a curse as a punishment that the monks of the Monastery of Veruela (the rival town) imposedfor having lost out in another conflict, this time with water.
Night image of the town of Trasmoz, in Zaragoza. | Image from: El Periodico.
Since that night in 1511, the words of Psalm 108 that would condemn the small Zaragoza town for generations to come still weigh on the place. According to the locals, in the castle located at the top of the mountain, covens, black magic and other witchcraft practices were usually carried out ; something that has been used as a claim to attract those tourists fascinated by dark narratives.
7. The Bogeyman
To get the little ones to behave, eat everything they have on their plate or go to bed early, it is common to resort to the figure of the so-called ‘Bogeyman’, a fearsome character who kidnaps those children who do not obey. However, there are Spanish-style horror legends that have some truth, and this is one of them: the truth about this enigmatic kidnapper has its roots in the so-called ‘sacamantecas ‘.
There was a time when, in the villages far from the big cities, unscrupulous men were dedicated to kidnapping infants, to kill them and extract the oil (the fat). These hired killers were hired by high-ranking personalities, to whom they sold ointments and cosmetics distilled from these fluids., as there was a popular belief that they contained rejuvenating properties.
6. The mysterious lake of Banyoles
The lake of Banyoles is the most important natural lacustrine formation in all of Catalonia, due to its implications for the ecosystem. However, it is also the core of many strange events that have occurred over the centuries. During the Civil War, a Katiuska bomber ended up sinking more than 60 meters deep and only part of the engine could be recovered. Half a century later, in 1998, a pleasure boat carrying 141 tourists also capsized, taking 20 souls with it.
The pond has long been said to be home to a creature descended from marine reptiles from the age of the dinosaurs, the culprit behind these and other incidents reported during the 19th century. Beyond this story, more phenomena take place in the pond that make it the nucleus of one of the most complete legends: lights that float on its surface, the ringing of the bells of the old bell tower that lies submerged in the bed of the lake or the appearance of the body of a speleologist who disappeared in the south of France.
5. La Diabla, the woman with the legs of a goat
Throughout all the regions of Extremadura, stories of what they call ‘La Diabla’ have proliferated,an effigy dressed in long black robes and hooded that prowls through the forests surrounding the small villages of shepherds.
For decades, the story of a peasant who claimed to have glimpsed the silhouette of a woman walking in the middle of the storm and, in a generous act of charity, invited her to take shelter in her cabin, has emerged. Without saying a word and without shedding her sodden habit, the mysterious guest sat before the fire, revealing her dark secret: instead of feet, she had hooves like a ram . Realizing such an infernal sight, the shepherd crossed himself and the figure evaporated, leaving a penetrating smell of sulfur in the environment.
4. Romasanta, the werewolf
Of the entire Iberian Peninsula, the Galician lands are surely the ones that host a large part of the darkest legends of Spain. The case of Manuel Blanco Romasanta is exceptional, because far from being pure fantasy, he seems to be based on a character that existed at the end of the 19th century, suffering from clinical lycanthropy, the belief that he was a werewolf and needed blood to live. .
Manuel Blanco Romasanta, the most famous werewolf in Spain. | Image from: Youtube.
This story tells (and the documents of the time seem to endorse it), that Romasanta had the inhabitants of the town in which he lived terrified; No one dared to roam the streets at night, much less enter the forest, for fear of becoming the prey of the ravenous beast.In all, 17 people were killed by Romasanta , either from being possessed by the spirit of a flesh-hungry beast or from an overwhelming urge to kill. That each one stay with the version that he prefers.
3. El duende de Zaragoza
During the last quarter of 1934, number 2 Gascon de Gotor street in Zaragoza was the focus of great media attention. From the tube of an old gas burner came a voice that, in perfect Spanish, communicated with the inhabitants of the house. The news spread throughout the city, gathering thousands of onlookers who wanted to talk to the mysterious entity, which was able to address everyone who entered the kitchen, neighbors, policemen and onlookers alike, with their first and last names.
From the end of September to December, the case had so much repercussion that even the North American media dedicated a space to it in the newspapers with the largest circulation. It was concluded that ‘the goblin’ was actually the maid who works maintaining the room, who had some kind of gift for ventriloquism. However, the entity continued to issue death threats against all the tenants of the property even when the woman was expelled. Even today it is still considered an authentic X file made in Spain.
2. The melancholy of the ghost of Queen Cava
Tragedy and the paranormal go hand in hand in the story of Queen Cava, one of the most disastrous Spanish legends written in innocent blood. We move to the year 709, to the court of King Don Rodrigo in Pedroche, Cordoba. Florinda arrived there, a young woman of extreme beauty with whom the monarch was instantly captivated. Despite her attempts to court her, Florinda did nothing but reject her proposal, so, in a fit of anger, she decided to let herself be carried away by her impulses and rape her. Finally, the young woman was forced to marry Don Rodrigo and have the baby .
As revenge for such an outrage, Florinda’s father hatched a secret plan to let Muslims into the Peninsula unseen. Just like the waters of a raging river, the invaders devastated everything, passing Don Rodrigo and his bastard son through the stone. Immersed in sadness, Queen Cava threw herself at the bottom of a well along with all her jewels . According to this sad Spanish popular legend, since then the ghost of the young woman can be seen emerging from the bottom of her underground tomb, as if levitating, dressed in ragged clothes and with a broken face in pain.
1. The Santa Compana, the procession of souls
In Galicia there are many who have heard ofa retinue of souls that, during the night, travels through the villages in a sepulchral silence and enveloped in a spectral mist . Each one of these cassocked figures carries some type of religious object (chandeliers, cauldrons of holy water or crucifixes) and, leading the procession, walks the soul of a mortal condemned by a curse. In this way, every night, his spirit will leave his body to carry out such a disastrous task and, unless another terrified person runs into the procession, the damned man will be consumed until he dies.
The Santa Compana is one of the most famous Spanish legends. | Image from: Wikimedia Commons.
Although it is typically Galician , there are also other similar legends in various areas of Spain (that of ‘La Huestia, in Salamanca, for example). Be that as it may, they all agree that it is better not to be near this step or try to interact with any of the penitents. According to the folklore of each place, in case we come across one of these parades, we must draw a circle of protection on the ground and stay inside until they pass, or hold a crucifix and pray. However, there are those who are more practical and recommend fleeing the place as soon as you begin to perceive the smell of burning candles.
- Read our 20 short legends for all ages.