There is something strange going on in the ghost town of Ochate. Tucked away in the Basque countryside, the abandoned town has been the center of murder mysteries, unexplained disappearances and strange lights, sounds and sightings were there isn’t supposed to be any. 

This town in Burgos, Spain has been abandoned since the mid 19th century and the Basque city is said to be a cursed place, haunted with a couple of paranormal mysteries attached to it. 

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Today the route and road to the town is nothing more than a hiking route for those wanting fresh air, but when you reach the entry to the village, you will find the remains of an entire society that nature and time is now trying to reclaim. 

The Abandoned Town of Ochate

Not much is left of the village except crumbling ruins, grass covered streets that fades for every season that passes. The town of Ochate actually dated back as a settlement as far back as the Bronze age. The town has in fact been abandoned more than one time. The first one being at the end of the 13th century before it was revived again in the mid 1500s. 

Before 1860 Ochate was a growing and busy town settled with cattle farmers and people lived on what they grew. Ochate, or Otxate as it is written in Basque. In some dialects this translates as “Secret Door” and for many, this name fits well with the many legends and rumors about the place. 

The Cursed Epidemics Haunting the Town

What happened in the village is still not absolutely clear, but we do know the Spanish Flu hit hard here that globally took the life of between 25-50 millions. 

Not only one but three different epidemics during the course of a decade wiped out the population and no one wanted to settle there in the 1920s. People then started to leave the old village in search for a place without the sickness that had taken their entire village. 

The Spanish flu was a pandemic — a new influenza A virus that spread easily and infected people throughout the world. Because the virus was new, very few people, if any, had some immunity to the disease. From 1918 to 1919, the Spanish flu infected an estimated 500 million people globally.
The Deadly Epidemics: The Spanish flu was a virus that spread easily and infected people throughout the world. Because the virus was new, very few people, if any, had some immunity to the disease. From 1918 to 1919, the Spanish flu infected an estimated 500 million people globally.

What was strange about the epidemics was how it looked; it only affected Ochate town and there was not much spreading to the nearby villages at the time. It was a town quite far from the next one, but still, why did it seem to hit this particular town so far from everything else in the first place? This is what seems to have started the rumors about Ochate being a cursed town. 

The Murders of the Shepherd 

Because of heavy rain and hail it destroyed the crops the villagers depended on.There were also many years of bad harvests that forced many people to look elsewhere for work and a life.  

In 1930 there were only two families left in the village, and because of an unstable pastor that started to threaten everyone, they decided to move to another village. The last man in the village decided to follow them soon after. 

In 1936 there wasn’t anyone living there, but some shepherds were herding sheeps in the nearby areas. One of them ended up brutally murdering another shepherd in one of the abandoned houses in the village and it put the nail in the coffin for good. The town was now truly a ghost town. 

The Old Ghost Town in Modern Times

The old abandoned village was often forgotten and nature started to take it back, little by little and no one really paid it any attention for the next decades. 

In 1973 the town got talked about again when a person from the village next to Ochate disappeared under mysterious circumstances while he was plowing his field, and the rumors about Ochate being a place where people went to disappear started growing. 

 In 1980 there was a new interest for the village as rumors about something strange going on there spread. Paranormal researchers had started to investigate the town and claimed to have voices and ghostly sightings on tape. 

In 1981, someone claimed that a UFO was seen. People that were looking out to the universe, believing in aliens thought they saw strange lights and UFO’s. 

Strange lights from the village came from the night, and many have claimed it to be ghosts, and the rest claim it’s from the stone sarcophagi burundi in the ground around the village. 

But mostly there were the legends of the people that disappeared from the nearby area under mysterious circumstances without a trace that never came back.

The Articles about the Mysteries in Ochate

The mystic events in Ochate were written about by a local man, Prudencio Muguruza in his article Luces en la puerta secreta from 1982 and really started to get the haunted rumors about the ghost town moving. 

In the article he claimed to have seen these mysterious lights as well as held up the claim that the villagers were wiped out by epidemics. 

After the publication of the article the place got noticed by more people and theories about what happened there and what people saw. But what really came first, his article or the haunted rumors?

Alberto Fernandez and hit Paranormal Research

In 1987 a paranormal researcher named Alberto Fernandez brought a team to record these strange voices that people had been talking about for years. 

According to them, the mission was a success and they came back with two recordings of what they claimed was something paranormal. Further questioning from Fernandez was sadly not possible as he took his own life on one of his trips to Ochate. 

The Woman and the Little Girl

People that visited the place and explored the ruins claimed to have heard the voices of a woman and a young girl saying something that can sound like “Kanpora”, which is a Basque word meaning “get out”  in English. 

There was also the voice of a woman heard speaking in Spanish: “¿Que hace aún la puerta cerrada?”. This means something like “Why is the door still closed?”

Have a look at the pictures from the town and listen to the tapes. Can you hear it?

Was the Legend of Ochate True?

So what really happened in the abandoned village of Ochate? Did the villagers really die because of a horrible epidemic that killed all of them? Did people really vanish into thin air when staying too close to the place?

Read more: Check out all of our ghost stories from Haunted Towns and Cities all around the world.

Because of the strange connection to the word door, many have started to speculate that the village has some sort of door between this world and the next. 

In 2017 there was a book published about it by Julio Corral and Antonio Arroyo. They claimed that there was no proof of an epidemic at all, and that the villagers simply left because the Royal Road or the Camino Real changed the course away from the village, and left Ochate roadless in the middle of nowhere. 

Perhaps one day, like it did once before, someone will once come and open the door and revive the Ochate town again. 

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References:

Mysterious and Haunted Places in Spain

The 10 most famous haunted houses in Spain — idealista

Ten paranormal places that you can actually visit in Spain

Ochate: Abandoned Door to Another World? – Caryn Larrinaga

Ochate – A Spanish Ghost Town

Ochate – Wikipedia

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