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The year was 1990. In Madrid, Spain, Concepción Gutiérrez’s father lay dying in hospital. Concepción had gathered her children to see their grandfather one last time. This final family gathering was, however, more of an obligatory gesture than a heartfelt one. The grandfather loathed his family. Indeed, it is reported that one of his final utterances, which he whispered into his teenage granddaughter Estefanía’s ear, was as follows:
“Si no puedo haceros daño en esta vida, os lo haré en la siguiente. (If I cannot harm you in this life, I will do it in the next one.)” 1
Full of malice, the old man passed away soon afterwards.
The course of the family’s life in the years that followed is said to have been fundamentally defined by this moment.
A few months later, one of Estefanía’s friend’s boyfriend died in a motorcycle accident. 2 In their grief, the group of friends looked to occultism in an attempt to contact the deceased young man. On one occasion, they initiated a seance at their school by using a Ouija board. At some point during the session, they were caught by a teacher and the Ouija board broke. It was then that an unnatural smoke was said to have been released from the board and inhaled by Estefanía. 3
Estefanía’s physical and mental decline
Shortly after the incident with the Ouija board, Estefanía Gutiérrez began to deteriorate.
According to her family’s testimonies, she started experiencing terrifying convulsions. One time, her body became extremely rigid and her eyes turned white. During these episodes, she would foam at the mouth.
As well as physical torments, Estefanía also experienced terrifying visions. According to her mother, the young woman described being stalked by dark, silhouetted creatures.
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On one occasion, she is said to have attacked her family violently and then blacked out, losing all memory of her actions. 4
Despite her mother’s desperate attempts, taking her to several hospitals and specialists, they could not discover anything biologically wrong with her. Whilst some of the symptoms Estefanía displayed seemed to suggest epilepsy, none of the doctors she visited were able to offer a definitive diagnosis. As epilepsy is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, it is possible that a mistake was made. However, even if Estefanía was suffering from epilepsy, ascribing a description to some of her symptoms does not explain why she developed them in the first place – and at such a timely moment in her life. Ultimately, experts explained Estefanía’s condition as a psychotic breakdown. 5
Others, however, concluded that she was possessed – and that her late grandfather was somehow involved.
Tragically, there was no resolution for Estefania – her torment continued for months with increasing severity. In August of 1991, she confessed that the dark figures she had been seeing were beckoning her to come to them. Within days, nineteen-year-old Estefania died under strange circumstances. 6
The haunting of the Gutiérrez family at Vallecas
There was no chance for the Gutiérrez family to grieve, for they would now be haunted by the same spectres that had sent Estefanía to her early grave. The family home on Luis Marin road, Vallecas, Madrid was to become a hotbed of paranormal activity.
Within days of her death, it is said that odd knocking noises could be heard from Estefanía’s unoccupied bedroom. Upon opening the door, her mother, Concepción, discovered that all the belongings in the room had been scattered around. The following night, an old man’s laughter was heard reverberating throughout the hallway of their home.7
Other reports of otherworldly happenings included senseless voices coming from the bathroom, and inexplicable temperature fluctuations. On one occasion, Estefanía’s father, Maximo, was playing with his son, Maximillian, when an unseen force is said to have raised the child up and thrown him across the room. 8
By this point, all the family alleged to have experienced strange things in the house. Newspapers at the time reported that, one night, when the family were together in the living room, the door suddenly burst open from the hallway. Invisible knocks then began pounding away at the walls. Terrified, Estefanía’s mother and father pulled the door shut and barricaded it with a sofa that had a heavy marble ornament resting on it for more security. Despite this, something described as being akin to a torrential gust of wind tore open the door, scattering the furniture and the family across the room. Chillingly, an object was blown into the room – a framed photograph of Estefanía Gutiérrez. When Concepción picked up the image of her daughter, she screamed as it started to burn in her hands. In the photo, Estefanía’s face was burned down the middle, the frame in which it was housed untouched by fire. 9
For many months after Estefanía’s death, a vast array of paranormal activity was described as having happened at the family’s home. Doors often slammed open and shut violently, seemingly of their own accord. Appliances would turn on and off sporadically. Estefanía’s family even began seeing otherworldly figures crawling around their beds and furniture at night. Estefanía’s sister described how they had seen a dark figure glued to the floor, dragging itself towards them. 10
“I felt pressure on top of me but there was no one around. I said [to Mr. Gutierrez] ‘there’s someone here.’ I then felt a pair of hands grab my feet and then grab my hand, which were uncovered by the blanket.” – Concepción Gutiérrez 11
The Gutierrez family invite experts to their home
Terrified by what was happening, the Gutiérrez family sought help from various experts.
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Investigators, religious officials, and psychics visited the Gutiérrez in an effort to cleanse the home. During one of these investigations, a psychic medium was allegedly possessed by the spirit of the malevolent grandfather. The disturbing scene was documented in a news report dating from the 14th October, 1992. 12
The medium stated that, whilst the grandfather was haunting the family, Estefanía’s spirit was also present. Supposedly, she was trying to stop her grandfather – and any other evil entities – from harming her family. EVP was also recorded by the investigators, with a female voice supposedly saying, “Beware of grandfather.” 13
Despite everyone’s best efforts, nothing could be done to relieve the family of their torment.
Police involvement in the Vallecas case
It was at 2am on the 27th of November 1992, more than a year after Estefanía’s death, when the situation reached a dramatic climax. Maximo Gutiérrez called the police, stating that his home was haunted and that his family was in danger. Police reports testify to what happened next.
Initially, the police did not believe Maximo. Desperate for help, the father frantically passed the phone around the family. In a frenzy, they described to the police how all the crucifixes in the house were violently rotating upside down and then rightside up again. They spoke of a dark, shadowy figure which was standing at the end of their hallway. Hearing how distressed the other members of the Gutiérrez family were, officer José Negri decided to go himself with three other police officers. 14
When the police arrived, they were surprised to find that, despite the cold night, the whole family were sat outside on the curb of the street in a disturbed state. The family showed the officers into the house. Seated around the dining table, they explained the situation. The following is a translation of part of the official police report written by officer José Negri.
“We were found amidst a rare and mysterious situation, that being seated in the company of all the family, we could hear and observe a perfectly closed cabinet door, something which we verified afterwards, open suddenly in a completely unnatural way. This started a series of suspicious events that were witnessed by the chief inspector and the three other police officers present.
“[…] Whilst still in a state of shock, a powerful noise came from the terrace, where we could prove there was no one present. The suspicious events then increased in quantity and severity, taking the investigation up to an unexpected level.
“[…] moments later they could hear and see that, on the tablecloth on a small telephone table, there appeared a brown stain, which the chief inspector identified as drool.
“[…] During the search of the rooms of the home, the phenomena which we have been referencing was observed. A wooden crucifix rotated and was ripped off the wall. [… ] one of the daughters picked up the crucifix from the floor and attached it behind the door to the room. Suddenly and strangely three scratch marks appeared next to the cross.” 15
José Negri and his fellow officers were left confounded by what they termed “phenomena.” Unable to comprehend what was happening, the police – like so many others before them – could not help the family.
In the end, the Gutiérrez family never did find peace in their home. Eventually, they sold the house and moved away.
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In 2006, the popular Spanish paranormal television show Cuarto Milenio investigated the Gutiérrez’s former home in Vallecas, Madrid. After filming the episode, during editing, the team claimed to have discovered a mysterious voice in one of the interviews with Estefanía’s parents at their new home.
“No hemos comenzado. (We have not started.)” 16
As chilling as this message seems, no more paranormal events are known to have happened to the family after they moved. As such, the Vallecas case, as the story is now known, remains a haunting mystery.
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