Jaboticabal Poltergeist A persistent and malevolent Poltergeist case with a tragic end in Jaboticabal, Brazil, in the 1960s. The Jaboticabal Poltergeist is one of the most vicious on record. Jaboticabal is about 200 miles north of São Paolo.
The strange experiences began in December of 1965, when a respectable Catholic family was plagued with bricks that fell inside the house out of nowhere. Since a similar pile of bricks was outside in the backyard, the family felt that someone must be playing a trick on them. But when the falling bricks did not cease after several days, the family sought the help of their local priest, who performed an exorcism. The phenomenon did not cease but rather became worse.
The family then sought the help of a spiritist, a neighbour named João Volpe, a dentist. Volpe determined that Maria Jose Ferreira, an 11-year-old girl who was living at the house, was a natural Medium and unwittingly and unknowingly enabled the poltergeist phenomena to occur. She had a host of invisible playmates. Volpe offered to take her to his own home and attempt to solve the problem.
Several days passed quietly, but then stones began to appear and fly about the Volpe home whenever Maria Jose was present. Volpe counted 312 stones, one of them weighing in at 3.7 kilograms (a little more than 8 pounds).
Next, eggs were thrown about and made to disappear. One day, a dozen eggs were placed inside the refrigerator. Three eggs suddenly appeared under a rooster in the backyard. Upon inspection, three eggs were found missing from the refrigerator, even though the door had not been opened.
Stones continued to fall and fly about. One day the Volpes went to lunch with their neighbours. A stone fell from the ceiling and split in two on its way down, the pieces flying in different directions. The pieces, which fit together perfectly, also seemed to have a magnetic attraction to each other, which dissipated over time.
On another occasion, a stone appeared, tapped three people on the head and hit the floor. The people said they felt as though they had been struck by a “ball of compressed air.” It is unusual for poltergeist-thrown stones to actually strike anyone.
Maria Jose discovered that her invisible playmates would bring her things. If she asked for candy or small objects, they would materialize at her feet. Once while walking down a street with Volpe and a friend, she said she would like a little brooch for herself, and it appeared instantly at her feet.
Perhaps the phenomena were amusing to the little girl initially, but suddenly the activity increased in intensity and violence. Inside the Volpe home, all the glass and crockery items were thrown about and smashed over a three-week period. Maria Jose felt slapped, bruised and bitten by the invisibles. Objects were thrown at her: chairs, a large sofa and a gas cylinder. Pictures and a mirror were torn off walls and thrown.
The attacks continued even when Maria Jose was asleep. Cups and glasses appeared over her mouth, as though something were attempting to suffocate her. There may have been attempts at sexual violation.
Forty days after the first of the brick-throwing, the little girl was attacked with needles, which would appear deeply embedded in the flesh of her left heel. Once 55 needles were extracted at the same time. If her heel was bandaged, the bandages would be torn off. The needle attacks were similar to those in a well-investigated poltergeist case in 1761, of Molly and Dobby Giles of the Lamb Inn in Bristol, England.
Still the violence escalated. On March 14, 1966, Maria Jose’s clothing began to smolder with fire while she was eating her lunch at school. The same day, the Volpes’ bedroom spontaneously burst into flames. Volpe was badly burned when he grabbed a pillow that was burning on the inside.
The Volpes kept Maria Jose for about a year, trying to rid her of her affl iction, but were able only to lessen the phenomena, not eliminate them. Volpe took the girl to Chico Xavier, Brazil’s best-known Medium, at his spiritist center in Uberaba. Through Chico, the spirits responsible for the mayhem announced, “She was a witch. A lot of people suffered and I died because of her. Now we are making her suffer too.” This implied to others that the girl had been a witch in a previous life and was being repaid by her angry victims.
Maria Jose was treated with prayer and magnetic hand passes by Volpe’s Home Circle. The worst of the phenomena abated, but the poltergeists still tossed about objects, especially fruits and vegetables.
Perhaps the attacks became too much for Maria Jose, or perhaps her unseen attackers somehow administered the final blow. At age 13, she returned to live with her mother. In 1970, she was found dead of apparent SUICIDE. She had consumed a soft drink laced with pesticide, dying instantly. Volpe’s report on the case was witnessed and signed by many respected people.
- Playfair, Guy Lyon. The Indefi nite Boundary. London: Souvenir Press, 1976.