Strange Stories, Amazing Facts: The Faces of Belmez

When I was a kid my parents kept our house fully stocked with all sorts of reading material. One book I read over and over was a Reader’s Digest book titled “Strange Stores, Amazing Facts,” published in 1981.

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The book is filled with all kinds of stories, covering everything from Jack the Ripper and Bigfoot to the Oak Island Money Pit and UFO sightings. One of the sections that used to cause me to lose sleep as a kid was the collection of stories about hauntings. One that sticks with me to this day was the story about the Faces of Belmez.

According to legend, a small boy in Belmez, Spain discovered a face that appeared on/in their kitchen tile. The face moved and reacted when touched or spoken to. When the boy showed the face to his mother, she attempted to clean it off. This apparently caused the face much pain. When a second face appeared, the family had the entire floor dug up and replaced. The faces returned on the new floor.

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When the floor was dug up, an ancient cemetery was discovered beneath the home. In an attempt to detect fraud, sensitive microphones were set up in the kitchen to try and catch family members putting the faces back on the floor. But instead of catching family members, the microphones recorded voices in an unknown language speaking in voices inaudible to human ears. The microphones also recorded faint sobbing and wailing. Soon, faces appeared both on the floors and on the walls of the home.

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Depending on who you ask, the haunting Faces of Belmez are either “100% authentic” or “100% fake”. Regardless of what you believe, the pictures of these faces scared me so bad as a kid that I would close my eyes at night when walking across my own kitchen floor just in case faces had appeared there too.

This October I’ve been reading some Halloween stories to and with my kids. Maybe it’s time to pull out my own copy of Strange Stories, Amazing Facts and tell them the story about the haunted Faces of Belmez …

Eerie Series Ghosts

After rediscovering Seymour Simon’s Space Monsters book, I wanted to track down the rest of the Eerie Series. That lead me to this one:

The simply named Ghosts is a very different book from Space Monsters. While Space Monsters focused on creatures from movies and TV shows, Ghosts focuses on specters from folklore. Simon records a lot of standard tales about haunted houses and ships and graveyards. One of the best stories is about the Nameless Horror of Berkeley Square, a Lovecraftian ghost that crawled out of the sewers in London to literally scare people to death. There are also poltergeists, ghost dogs, and various other apparitions in the book. There is even a photo of one such apparition, the Brown Lady of Rayhnam Hall.

And there are more pictures in the book than that. In addition to a few other photos and wood carvings, there are also several pieces of original artwork by Stephen Gammell, such as this one:

If the style looks familiar, it should. Gammell was also the artist of the Scary Stories series.

I honestly don’t remember if I read this book as a kid. There is nothing specific about it that I can remember as there was with Space Monsters. But it is a possibility. It is certainly the kind of thing I liked to read back then. And though it’s a little below my current reading level, it’s still the kind of thing I like to read today.