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Out of the box

Scary Tales from the Neighbourhood of El Born

scary faces on buildings
Written by Daniella

El Born is one of Barcelona’s most cosmopolitan and cultural neighbourhoods, and many artists, bohemians and upper-class, younger people are living in this part of the Catalan capital now. El Born is also one of the oldest areas in Barcelona, and therefore many stories originate from this neighbourhood, some of them are even a bit sinister.

So today, this article by ShBarcelona will tell you a few scary stories and focus on some of the horror that has happened in El Born (and other areas in Ciutat Vella) throughout its history. If you are easily scared, then you should definitely read this article with the lights on.

Related article: Barcelona’s Wax Museum

Fear and horror in El Born and Ciutat Vella

The old Santa Caterina convent, Satan and black masses

santa caterina market barcelona

Photo by roryrory via Visualhunt

The 13th century Dominican convent of Santa Caterina was constructed (and later demolished again) on the location of what is currently Santa Caterina market.

A local saint called Ramon de Penyafort was buried in a tomb that was surrounded by earth, of which was said it worked miracles. That is why parishioners used to take handfuls of earth with them, they even diluted it in water.

They also say Satan used to come here every time he visited Barcelona, and this is rather curious, considering the fact that the Dominicans were actually the ones in charge of the holy tribunal of the Inquisition.

Perhaps it was due to the convent of Santa Caterina being a meeting place for witches and sorcerers and such. At midnight, black masses were celebrated here, where they called on the devil.

The vampire of Ciutat Vella

Enriqueta Martí sowed death and destruction in Barcelona in 1912. She kidnapped, prostituted and murdered children in order to extract blood, fat and bone marrow to make potions. Enriqueta’s clients believed the potions to be magical.

As a result, Enriqueta Martí was one of the most cruel, criminal personalities on the darkest pages in Spanish history.

She was a kidnapper, prostitute madame, paedophile, witch, and murderer, and these are only a few of her activities during her life. That is why the people of Barcelona have given her the name “la Vampira del Carrer Ponent” (the vampire of Ponent Street).

Related article: Horror Stories of Barcelona

Potions from Carrer del Carme

several potions in glass bottles

Photo by grongar via Visualhunt

At the beginning of the 20th century, there used to be a witchcraft shop where the streets Calle de Picalquers and Calle del Carme met. It was Barcelona’s most famous witchcraft shop, and its clientele included witches, but also doctors and pharmacists.

The shop specialised in animal feces, and these were widely used when preparing remedies and potions. Cat droppings were very much appreciated, for example.

The shop also had a great selection of prisoner’s bones to choose from (phalanges from the hanged were sold at a very good price and functioned as an amulet), and fat from amputated hands served as an ingredient for magic ointments.

It cured certain terminal illnesses, and it was also used for making candles. These candles helped to discover hidden treasures and made any bystanders drowsy, except for the person that lit the candle.

That is why thieves loved to light these candles when they entered a house to rob it. It made sure that, no matter how much noise they made, they would never be discovered.

*Main photo by Josep Bracons via Visualhunt

Are there more scary stories to tell about Ciutat Vella?

About the author

Daniella

Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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