While I believe this case is debunked, it still gives me the creeps. We’ve come a long way in paranormal education since 1971 when these faces first appeared on a kitchen floor in Bélmez de La Moraleda, a little village in Andalusia, Spain.
In August of 1971, a woman named María Gómez Cámara noticed a stain appearing on her kitchen floor. It was taking on the form of a face. Given that the kitchen floor was made of concrete, it became even more interesting when it seemed like the face was moving. Poor María did her best to scrub out the stain to no avail. Her son and husband even went at the concrete floor with a pickaxe and cemented the floor. But it came back. More faces started to appear on the floor. When the mayor heard about this, he forbade further destruction of the floor. The face was cut out from the floor and taken for further study. I want to know what those results yielded.
Rumor has it that when the floor was excavated, skeletons were found 10 feet below the surface. Some of the skeletons didn’t even have skulls. The 700-year old remains were re interred at the Catholic cemetery. Apparently these faces were also able to communicate. Atlas Obscura claimed they were psychophonies, meaning they were communicated through a medium. Were the people who were buried underneath the concrete still there?
Even when the floor was completely replaced, a new face appeared two weeks later. So, it wasn’t over. It didn’t take long for the rumor to spread around the village and eventually cross oceans. The house became known as “La Casa de las Caras”, also known as “The House of the Faces.”
Many paranormal investigators believe that these faces were created through thoughtographic phenomenon, meaning that these images were “burned” onto the floor through psychic means. I suppose you could say that this is what causes spirits to appear in photos. If ghosts don’t have mass to reflect light, then they might burn their image onto a photograph. But what is interesting is that in this case, the faces weren’t created by the people who were buried below the concrete, but instead, Maria herself.
I’ve done some research on this phenomenon in the past, and I just can’t get on board with it. Yes, I believe that supernatural occurrences are possible, but I honestly have to see it to believe it. It’s one thing for the mind to have the ability to move things, but it’s a whole other level when the mind can “burn” images onto photos, concrete, wood, etc.
Most skeptics agree that this phenomenon is a hoax. It is believed that Maria and her husband used a special chemical agent or paint to make the faces appear. Maria died in 2004, and apparently the faces remained long after she passed. Given that the faces created such a widespread buzz that resulted in numerous tourists visiting the house, the family benefited from financial gain in this situation. Just by Easter 1972, there were hundreds of tourists, and this continued for about 30 years.
In 1971, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior took an interest in the case. They appointed specialists to analyze the concrete and found that there were questionable substances like vinegar, a brown pigmentation, and an aggressive chemical compound. Apparently, the compound could be found at drugstores. The July 1993 edition of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research” featured an article by Luis Ruiz-Noguez, who noted the presence of zinc, lead and chromium on the floor, which are common ingredients in paint. In the seventies, lead was a popular ingredient in paint. Others did infrared photography and found brush bristles. It’s believed that Maria’s son was the artist. Between paint and the possibility of an oxidizing chemical agent being used, we can pretty much consider this case closed.
Even when it is blatant that this was a hoax, there are still people who believe in the authenticity of these faces. Believe it or not, there are much more complex studies on this phenomenon that will break down the chemical compounds of the faces to really make the case for forgery. Any yet, it seems that people are ignoring the data and continue to believe in this. Videos about the Bélmez faces continue to go viral with people freaking out and checking their own concrete floors for signs of ghostly activity.
To me, people who believe in the faces NEED to believe in them. They provide some sort of hope that there is something out there much bigger than us. Some call it God, some may call it proof of the afterlife, something. It’s what you many call “faith.” Even when there has been scientific proof that maybe not all the events in the Bible happened as written, people still have faith that there is truth in the good book. Finding meaning in the simplest of things can make a difference between life and death for some people.