Every year it is said that a procession of ghost monks are haunting La Boquería market in Barcelona. They are still mad about how the monks that lived in the monastery that were there behaved, and the story is that it ended bloody. 

The thought of a haunted place is enough to make many people shiver. Some people love nothing more than to explore the creepy corners of spooky locations, while others run the other way. But what happens when a church is haunted? In Spain, there is a former monastery that has been the subject of many spine-chilling stories. The haunted church is known for the ghost that is said to be lingering there. Are these stories true or just a legend?

Read more: Check out all of our ghost stories from Spain

Right by the bustling La Rambla in Barcelona there is a famous food market called La Boquería or The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. Fresh vegetables, traditional food, al within the enclosed marked that has become a staple of Barcelona landmarks now. But there used to be a time were it was a place of worship, and ended with a visit from the devil himself.

Gratis arkivbilde med arkitektur, barcelona, by Arkivbilde
La Boquería Marked: Today the place is a bustling marked for food and no one really pays any attention to the haunted legends about this place. But it is said that every year a procession of ghost monks wanders and chants after the devil himself made an appearance in the monastery that used to be there.

The first mention of the La Boquería is from 1217 when a few tables were put up by the old city gate to sell meat. Until the 1800s the market wasn’t officially recognized and not enclosed as it is today. It was simply growing and spreading until the city decided to make a roof over the stalls and recognize it as a proper marked. 

La Boquería market was built on top of an old monastery built by the Carmelites Descalços in 1586. There was a time in Barcelona filled with riots towards the monesteries and churches and it is from this place the ghost story takes place. 

The Broken Traditions in the Monastery

The haunting incident happened in 1835 and according to the stories the monks had become too relaxed in their ways of worship. Their whole tradition was built on prayer and celebrating their patrons and weren’t even praying on the date of their patron saint Our Lady of Carmen. 

Read more: Check out all of our stories from Haunted Monasteries and Churches from all around the world.

There was only one monk who cared about their lacking ways and spoke up about it to the higher ups. But the convent prior didn’t care about the young monks’ warnings and the monks relaxed ways continued until the warnings came back to haunt them. 

According to legend the place became haunted when a group of dead friars suddenly appeared to the brothers of the convents, singing to them, perhaps cursing them, perhaps warning them about their oncoming demise?

The Chanting Skeleton Monks

One night the monks in the convent woke up by the chanting and went to the church where the sound came from. They found a choir of skeletal monks singing a sinister psalm, one more sinister than the other to the monks of the monastery. The skeleton monks chanting to them were all dead brothers of the order that used to live in the convent.

The living monks waited in terrified silence until the singing was over before they lit up the candles and led the ghosts back to their tombs in the convent cemetery. The tombs of the skeleton monks were already open and didn’t close before the chanting skeleton monks returned from their nightly choir session.

The Murder of the Monks

Why did the ghost monks appear to them? What did they want, chanting sinister psalms to their living brothers? There are several stories about what happened, and they all ended in fire and blood.  

One version of the legend is that the monks returned to where the choir had been singing and found the young monk that had complained about the lack of prayer dead. Why he died and by what means was never found out. There is also a version that tells that he was the only survivor of his brothers. Because what happened next was a bloodbath.

Free Monk Man photo and picture
The Chanting Monks: Only one monk is said to have spoken up about not honoring their traditions and responsibilities as monks. The monks were all murdered in a riot after he warned them in the place were the La Boquería market today is.

Because, ten days after the apparition of the ghostly friars chanting their ghost songs, the monastery was attacked and burnt to the ground in the riots and the monks that lived there were all killed. It was because of riots that happened against religious buildings at the time and the day was remembered as Burning of the Convent

There is a really complex and long history of why the convents were attacked. Barcelona was in a state of unrest, and a riot were culminating under the lid, only waiting for a chance to blow up.

The riots started after an especially bad bullfight in El Torrin which was a bullring in Barcelona not too far from La Boquería market. The angry people watching the bullfight turned into a mob and started rioting, dragging decapitated heads of the bulls around the city and set fire to churches. And the convent were La Boquería is now standing was dragged into the mess.  

The Chanting Annual Ghosts at La Boquería

After the destruction of the convent the city of Barcelona decided to expand on the La Boquería market to fill the empty void the convent left. The blood bath was soon forgotten, and people returned to discuss meat and vegetable prices across the stalls, not vague talk about ghost monks and the devil appearing… at least for most of the year. 

According to legend the monks come back every year to haunt the La Boquería marked on the place were the monastery was. On the day the monastery was burned, July 25th, you can still hear the ghostly voices of the monks singing through the whole market. 

There are also those that say that the singing on La Boquería market happens on July the 15th on Our Lady of Carmen’s Eve. 

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References:

The Gothic Arch of Sant Adrià: Gateway to Barcelona

History of the Boqueria | Market of the Ramblas of Barcelona

La Boqueria – Wikipedia

13 Barcelona Haunted Houses & Places that will creep you out

Haunted and Mysterious Places in Barcelona | 19 Local Legends

Halloween: Spain’s most haunted places – The Local

Visiting Spain’s Most Haunted Locations | Right Casa Estates

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