One of the majestic landmarks of Madrid is the Palace of Linares which obviously flaunts the architecture and history of the mid-1800s. However, behind its beauty lies a sad story of a family that was doomed to a sad destiny: a young girl was murdered by her own parents to avoid the scandal of their unintentional incestuous relationship. The girl’s, as well as her guilty parents’ souls are often seen roaming the vast expanse of the historic memorial.
The Palace of Linares stands in the busy street corner of Plaza de Cibeles Square, a breath of fresh and lush architecture in the tourist-laden city of Madrid. The palace is of baroque design, having three main doors that decorate the majestic entrance that leads to a large hall and a vast number of intricately designed rooms.
The construction of the palace started as early as 1873, during the time of the Jose de Murga, the hailed Marquis of Linares. The Marquis commissioned admirable and well-known artists of the period, like Jeronimo Suñol and the architect Carlos Colubi. The works on the palace lasted from 1873 to 1900, but the Marquis transferred to the palace only a year after it started its construction, thus, they were entirely present during the completion of their abode.
The palace boasts a number of features throughout its expanse. The four storeys of the building have numerous rooms with hand-painted tapestries and ceilings, floors of either hardwood or marble, and imported decorations from France and China. It also has an enormous marble staircase in the main hall with branches to the variously themed rooms, a garden with an intricate landscape and a chapel.
The outdoors is lined by a number of stables were horses of the family are kept. It also has a hall of mirrors and a number of ballrooms. A particular feature of the palace that has a surrounding rumor about it is the Doll House on one side of the palace: it was designed by Manuel Anibal Alvarez for the foster child of the Marquis next to Jose de Murga.
In 1992, the palace was eventually turned into the headquarters of the Casa de America, referring to an organization that aims to maintain a strong relationship between Spain and South America. The organization is in charge of displaying Latin American influence: the palace has a gift and bookshop, a museum and holds a number of conferences and cultural events.
Aside from its cultural aspects, the palace is also famous for its horror story. Tours of the allegedly haunted places in the palace are held occasionally, not forgetting to mention the origins of the story.
The Legend of the Linares Family
In the mid-1800s, Mateo de Murga was the Marquis of Linares. He had a son named Jose de Murga, whom he raised to be a fine gentleman. The conflict started when the son told his father that he had fallen in love with but a daughter of a cigarette vendor with the name Raimunda Osorio.
To Jose’s surprise, his father strongly disapproved of their relationship but their love remained strong. The couple did not separate so the Marquis forced his son to go to England, to pursue his studies and to leave his lover behind.
Jose, who wanted to fulfill the wants of his father, finished his studies in England. When he came back to Spain, his father had already passed away. He grieved his father’s passing but he later married Raimunda, whom he truly loved. They became the Marquis and the Marques of Linares.
It was only later when he discovered a hand-written letter by his father stating the reason why he strongly opposed their relationship. Mateo de Murga revealed in his letter that he had a relationship with a certain cigar vendor from the Lavapies area. He suspected that Raimunda Osorio was his illegitimate child from his out-of-wedlock affair.
The couple was devastated upon learning that their marriage was incestuous, that they were actually half brother and sister. They wrote to Pope Leo XIII about their case and received a papal bull. It indicated that due to their lack of information about their relationship, they were allowed to stay wedded but in absolute chastity.
While the palace was still in the process of construction, the couple instructed the builders to separate the palace into the lower and upper partitions. The husband would live on the first two floors and the wife would live in the upper floors.
However, despite their constant avoidance of the ‘sin’, Mateo and Raimunda still produced their own child. Raimunda gave birth in absolute secrecy and raised their daughter discreetly. In time, the couple realized that the presence of their own child would cause a scandal and a permanent stain on their reputation.
As a result, they murdered their own daughter by drowning her in a well in the palace. Then, they buried and cemented her remains in one of the walls of their home, along with the eventual completion of the Linares Palace. The couple then adopted a girl to be their foster child.
Raimunda Linares, realizing the gravity of the murder and the grief of losing her own child, died years after due to sadness and guilt. It did not take long before Mateo took his life with a bullet to his head. To this day, it is said that the ghosts of the whole family roam the palace.
Ghost Sightings and Encounters
In the middle of the 1900s, the palace was abandoned and slowly decay. However, in 1990, there were efforts to remodel the Palace of Linares to become Casa America. As a result, the initiators employed staff and workers to work on the restoration of the establishment’s beauty. Months after the project commenced, the media was plagued with reports of the intense paranormal activity that the workers experienced while working in the palace.
As a result, a string of investigations led by Carmen Sanchez, a reputable parapsychologist in Spain, was initiated. The investigation has been a media spectacle and the whole nation was glued to their televisions, radios and newspapers to find out the truth of the haunting.
Ghostly activity experienced by the workers
As the workers tried to restore the palace, they couldn’t take too much ghostly activity and they started complaining to the management.
According to them, they would hear doors slamming shut or swinging open in the middle of the night. They definitely know that the Palace was abandoned and they were the only people there at that time.
They would also hear earsplitting screams at random times of the day.
Workers also reported that in the area of the Doll House, they would experience a heavy and desolate feeling.
Ghost of Mateo
On numerous occasions, the ghost of a man in elegant attire is seen roaming the lower floors of the palace.
It is believed that the ghost seen on the ground floors is the lingering spirit of Mateo de Murga.
Ghost of Raimunda
A newspaper report of May 31, 1990 stated that the ghosts of the Palace were successfully investigated and indeed, the wife of Mateo was also haunting the place.
The press that went together with the investigators recorded an unearthly voice of a woman, which they later identified to be the mother’s voice.
The recording, which was played on Spanish national television, vaguely said that her daughter is already resting, and that she never heard her say the word ‘mother’.
There have been sightings of a ghostly apparition of a lady in Victorian era clothes in the upper floors of the Palace; most probably the ghost of Raimunda looking longing for her child.
Ghost of the little girl
One member of the press during the time of the investigations claimed that he has seen a young blonde girl in white running along the grand ball room.
Before the media flocked to the palace for the investigation of the paranormal activities, there had been reports of a little girl’s singing voice resounding through the halls. The voice sings of tunes of children songs and is sometimes heard calling her parent’s names.
Paranormal Investigation Results
The investigation of the paranormal activity reported by the workers in 1990, was spearheaded by a well-known parapsychologist, Carmen Sachez. Reporters, journalists and psychics alike flocked to the palace for the investigation.
All the rooms were carefully measured and photographed. Recorders were placed in every place possible in the hope of capturing the unearthly voices of the haunting ghosts in the palace.
The results of the paranormal investigation suggest that it is highly likely that the palace is haunted. The majority of the photographs contained energy orbs which most likely suggest the presence of a paranormal entity. The temperature would abruptly change from the normal to a freezing temperature, way below zero degree Celsius.
The investigators have also seen a couple of pieces of furniture moving by themselves, apparently pushed by an invisible force.
The electronic devices of the investigators picked up unusually erratic signals all around the palace but it was apparently strongest in the area where the large doll house is located. The ghost believers were certain that it is the place where the ghost of the murdered child stays and plays.
Probably the most conclusive evidence of the haunting in the Palace of Linares are the number of recordings acquired throughout the palace:
Some captured the desperate and detached voice of a woman mentioning the name of her child.
Other recordings picked up the voice of a young girl singing and humming children’s songs usually sung to lull kids to sleep.
The recorder in the music room recorded the organ playing music by itself.
Apart from the actual sightings of curiously moving furniture, the recorders also caught noises resembling wood scratching on the floor.