Besides cooler temperatures, Autumn brings the specter of ghosts and goblins (Halloween – 31 October), a time to honor the saints in heaven (All Saints Day – 1 November), and a remembrance of family and friends who no longer walk the earth (Day of the Dead – also 1 November). This got Portugal Confidential in a devilish mood to investigate strange and scary places throughout the country. So, hold on to your flashlights and join us on a tour of haunted houses……
This massive structure was built in 1936 by Portugal’s railway department as a treatment facility for its employees suffering from Tuberculosis. The building was later leased to the Portuguese Society of Sanatoriums on condition of receiving all patients needing treatment. However it was closed in the 1980’s and left to deteriorate into its current neglected state. Today, it is abandoned, and of course, to be haunted by its many patients.
This old farmhouse was home to the Baron of Lages and his family. The Baron was very jealous, and suspected his wife of infidelities. Legends have it, the Baron tied his wife to a horse and dragged her around the farm until she died. After discovering his wife was innocent, the Baron killed his children and committed suicide. They say the Baron’s guilt keeps him from resting in peace. Ghosts of the Baron and his wife are said to be seen around the property.
This home in Ovar (about 50km south of Porto), has sat vacant for many years. It has been reported that even Roma have settled in the home, but left in a hurry, leaving their belongings behind. There are many legends associated with the house. One claims that a man and his daughter built and lived in the home. The father found out his daughter was dating. He flew into a rage and threw the daughter and her boyfriend into a pit in the center of the house where they were left to die. The couple now haunt the house to protect their love. Another version claims the owner of the house was bankrupt. To prevent the bank from taking his home, he killed himself vowing never to leave.
Also known as Casa dos Ingleses (House of the English), this grand residence is located on the Tagus River. It is a massive structure, in ruins. The chapel of the home dates back to 1630. A wealthy business man in the salt industry built the villa with a private dock to ship goods to Lisbon. In the early 20th century, the property was built by two Englishmen who came to Portugal to export cork. At that time, it became a meeting place for high society and business dealings. The Englishmen returned home but not before selling the property. After the death of the new owner, the heirs let the property fall into ruin. It is questionable whether the home is actually haunted. Yet, visitors to the site claim hearing guitar music, feeling a “heaviness in the air”, and experiencing raised heart rates.
On the cliffs of Praia da Rocha in Portimão, is this large Victorian style villa. It was built in the 19th century by the Magalhães Barros family. The daughter married a Spanish canner (whose factory is now the current Museum of Portimão). The woman, at an elderly age, died in the villa. It was later leased to a cousin, Henry Bivar de Vasconcelos, who turned the house into a hotel around 1930. Staff and guests of the hotel reported footsteps, moans and cries. Hotel Bela Vista has recently been renovated and re-opend as a 5-star boutique hotel restaurant and spa.
In 1875, lawyer and Deputy Mayor of Loulé, Marçal Paheco, purchased the land of Fonte da Pipa in order to build a palace similar to those he had seen on his European travels. The architect is the same one who designed the Loulé Municipal Market. Quinta da Fonte da Pipa has its own share of ghost stories, ghosts and strange sounds. It is possible there is nothing material to these stories, but rather fictitious accounts devised to keep unwanted people away from the property. Yet, others maintain paranormal activity could be a result of numerous victims of the pneumonia epidemic of 1916-18 who are purported to be buried on the grounds.
Early in the 20th century, poet, naturalist and romantic John Pike built a lovely home in Olhão. However, shortly after inhabiting the home, a tragic accident took place. His elderly mother, who suffered from senility, dropped his young son from a window to his death. Dr. Pike then decided to design, build and relocate to a new home closer to the sea (Quinta de Marim, which is now the Environmental Education Center of the Ria Formosa). Many people have tried to inhabit the Chalet, but at night they hear a child crying and sounds similar to objects being dragged across the floor.
Portugal Confidential utilized the following sites for researching data for this post. Click on these links for more information on Haunted Portugal.