Spain has a long and bloody story, and this is especially true in Madrid. On Plaza Mayor in the city they used to have huge executions in public for people to cheer for. According to locals and tourists alike, it is said that the plaza is now haunted by the ghosts of the executed.
Spain is home to a great many mysterious and dark places. Some of these places are said to be haunted by the ghosts of the past. For those with a penchant for the paranormal, exploring these haunted streets is an exciting adventure that will take you on a journey through some of Spain’s darkest and most mysterious locations.
Read more: Check out all of our ghost stories from Spain
Plaza Mayor in Madrid, where the whispers of the past resonate through the cobbled streets and is said to be one of the most beautiful squares in all of Spain. The place is usually a pit stop for a cup of cafe con leche, but the place has a terrible history. As night falls, the iconic square transforms into a haunting realm, revealing its ghostly secrets to those brave enough to venture into its depths.
Main Square of Madrid History
The Plaza Mayor, located in the heart of Madrid, has a rich history that dates back centuries. Originally known as the “Plaza del Arrabal,” it served as the main market of the town in Madrid. Traders from far and wide would gather here to sell their goods, creating a bustling atmosphere that attracted both locals and visitors.
However, tragedy struck in 1631 when a devastating fire engulfed the plaza, leaving it in ruins and several people dead. It was after this murderous fire that the strange rumors started circulating that maybe something evil and a sort of bad energy had gathered at this particular plaza.
More than 50 houses perished and it took 3 days to extinguish the flames. People in Madrid thought that the fire had to be a curse of something diabolical sent to avenge those who had been executed in this place and they started to decorate it with virgins and saints to keep them at bay. But according to the legends, the ghost would not budge.
The square was subsequently rebuilt and became the central hub for bullfights in Madrid, attracting crowds eager to witness the spectacle. It is said that the sound of a roaring bull from the fights are heard.
Autos-da-fe in Madrid and Spain
During the Spanish Inquisition, the Plaza Mayor played a central role in the autos-da-fe, public ceremonies until 1765 where individuals accused of heresy or witchcraft were tried and punished. An auto-da-fé was the ritual of public penance carried out between the 15th and 19th centuries of condemned heretics and apostates imposed by the Spanish authority
Those who died by the garrote were executed by the Portal de Paños, by hanging in front of the Casa de la Panaderia and in the Casa de la Carniceria they were executed by ax.
Read more: Check out all of our ghost stories about places that were used as an execution ground: Dead Men Walking in Old Provost in Grahamstown, Paris’ Haunted Père Lachaise Cemetery, Unveiling the Dark History of the Tower of London and its Ghosts
These brutal events were often accompanied by public executions and served as a means for the Inquisition to maintain control and instill fear in the population. During the time of the inquisition the places around could hear the screams coming from the accused witches, infidels and heretics.
Hundreds of people saw their last moments here on the cobble floor from their scaffold before they died.
It is said that the spirits of those who suffered unjustly during these dark times still wander the plaza, seeking justice and redemption.
Cirilo, the “official” ghost of the Plaza Mayor
Although it is believed the plaza is haunted by more than one ghost, there is one with a name that most people know of. One of the most famous ghostly legends associated with Plaza Mayor is the tale of Cirilo, the “official” ghost of the square.
According to local lore, Cirilo was one of the first people executed in this location and after his execution it turned out that he was innocent against the charges brought to him.
He has since been known to appear before those crossing the plaza late in the morning when there is almost no one there. Also tourists that don’t know anything about him and the drunk people on the weekend are his favorite people to appear before.
Legends and Stories Surrounding Plaza Mayor
Over the years, countless visitors and locals have reported ghostly sightings and paranormal activity in Plaza Mayor. From strange orbs of light floating in the air to sudden drops in temperature, the plaza seems to be a hotbed for supernatural phenomena.
Some have even claimed to have been touched or pushed by unseen hands, while others have heard disembodied voices whispering in their ears or even smelled something vile they could only blame the paranormal of. As you walk through the archways and soak in the ambiance, remember to keep your senses sharp, for you never know when you might encounter the ghostly inhabitants of this haunted square.
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