The Ouija that unleashed the nightmare. The Vallecas case (part 2)

The Vallecas case has become one of the most paradigmatic paranormal cases in Spain. The police report was the main guilty of its fame. A document that gave it seriousness and authority. However, the arrival of new information and fallacies of all kinds over time have ended up confusing the investigators. Even the versions of the members of the Gutiérrez Lázaro family contradict each other on certain points. In this second post we will expose these confusions. Finally, the reader must draw his or her own conclusions about what really happened in Vallecas.

As the reader will have already been able to verify as a result of the reading of the first part about the Vallecas case that we published in this blog, something strange seems to have happened in Vallecas (Madrid, Spain) in the 90s. A humble lower-middle class family would have suffered the inclemencies of a series of strange phenomena. Let us remember that anomalous events arise from the death of María Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro, which was specified as suspicious in the forensic report. It all began a few months before her death, when she decided to practice Ouija in her school (Colegio Público Aragón of Vallecas) with a group of friends. After the irruption of a teacher, who broke the Ouija board, the glass used as a planchette exploded and a strange smoke penetrated through the nostrils of Estefanía. From then on, her life was characterised by epileptic seizures and the visions of beings that disturbed her, until one of these seizures took her last breath away.

If that wasn’t enough, her parents and siblings then began to experience inexplicable phenomena. In their house, located at number 8 of Luis Marín street of Vallecas, an annoying presence had been installed with vicious intentions. The knocks on the walls, the opening and closing of doors and windows, the whispers and laughters of unknown origin, the movement of objects in the house and the sighting of terrifying shadows became the routine of the Gutiérrez Lázaro family since then and for several years. They turned to several alleged experts on paranormal phenomena to try to appease the situation, but they only sought their own benefit through deception and lies. Until one day, on November 19, 1992, the phenomena became unbearable and the father of the family, Máximo Gutiérrez, was forced to contact the National Police. A patrol headed by Inspector José Pedro Negri arduously inspected the house that winter night to try to find the cause of the phenomena that they also were able to see. Their experiences with the paranormal in the house were captured in an incidents report. That was for many the definitive proof that the Vallecas poltergeist was real. How can we not believe in a document emitted by a competent and objective authority that does not tend to give veracity to this type of things?

Officers could do nothing and the phenomena continued for several years. Throughout this stage, all kinds of data about the Vallecas case were poured out. In the end, today we have a significantly distorted history in which discerning between the real and fable is a very complicated task. For this reason, as we have already given some brushstrokes in relation to one of the first versions of the case, now it is time to expose more specifically the different versions that have been configuring what has become to know as the Vallecas case.

The controversies of Estefanía’s life

The Vallecas case has suffered from lack of clarity almost from the moment Estefanía participated in the fatal Ouija session at her school. First of all, there are different versions about what people intervened in the Ouija with Estefanía. The session took place in March 1990 or, at most, in March 1991. In the previous article we mentioned that Estefanía was with two friends and one of them wanted to contact the spirit of her recently deceased boyfriend. However, in subsequent interviews, Concepción Lázaro assured that the group was formed by a friend of Estefanía and her sisters, Marianela and Querubina. At least it can be assured with some certainty that Marianela witnessed the session (in whole or in part), since she has confirmed this point. At certain points, Concepción’s testimony corresponds to Marianela’s: it seems that the latter left the room where the Ouija session was taking place. As she was going down the stairs of the school, a “very cold force” grabbed her and lifted her off the floor as she has assured since she was a child. Likewise, according to Marianella and others, the reason that led the teenagers to practice the Ouija (communicating with the deceased boyfriend of an Estafanía’s friend) is not true. It seems that there was also a male in the session, always according to Concepción. That male would have been attacked by the smoke that arose from the glass before it penetrated Estefanía’s body, leaving a mark of a military boot on his chest. However, it seems that the smoke episode was witnessed by all the witnesses.

Recently, Juan Chacón, who presented himself as a schoolmate of Estefanía and participant in the Ouija sesión, was interviewed by Milenio Live (a live program directed by Iker Jiménez and Carmen Porter) on September 29, 2018. His version differs in several aspects from what has been said so far. According to Juan, the group met after lunch in a classroom of the school library. First difference: for a long time it had been said that the Ouija had been carried out in the bathrooms of the school taking advantage of the absence of a teacher. According to Juan, the board was bought by the friend of Estefanía, who also participated in the Ouija, in a shopping centre of Vallecas. Juan had already played the Ouija in more occasions with some partners in the playground of the school or in that same room. However, he points out that it was the first time for Estefanía. On the contrary, other testimonies affirm that Estefanía had already practiced it on more occasions. Be that as it may, the group was made up of Juan, a friend named Antonio, the owner of the Ouija board, and Estefanía. Marianela, as we have said, was also present, but she would not have participated. As she stated in Cuarto Milenio (program 551), she remained on the other side of the door watching so no one would get in. Juan states that strange things happened during the session. For example, and always according to his testimony, the glass moved on its own on the board and they received some answers to their questions. They contacted an entity called Verónica. Estefanía seemed to be very nervous (it makes sense if it was her first time playing the Ouija), so Juan and the rest of the teenagers invited her to ask something to feel more involved. She wanted to know the identity of the presumed spirit. In response, the glass moved through different letters of the board until it pointed out that the spirit was Estefanías’s grandfather.

Meanwhile, outside the room, Marianela tried to open the door to make sure everything was all right. However, the door wouldn’t budge. After several unsuccessful attempts, she received help from the teacher Dolores Molina (in this case there is unanimity about who was the teacher). Eventually, they managed to enter and surprised the teenagers with the Ouija. At this point there are also dissensions. Juan states that before the teacher entered, the glass exploded, the blinds of the room began to go up and down on their own and a shelf overturned on the doorknob, blocking it. It wasn’t until the boys removed the furniture that the teacher could get in. On the contrary, Marianela assures that when they managed to open the door there was nothing behind it and that the glass exploded when the teacher broke the board. According to Juan, Estefanía became hysterical and began to scream. However, according to Marianela’s testimony, they ended the session without anything strange happening and left the room. On the whole, testimonies coincide in affirming that Estefanía behaved from then in a very withdrawn and unusual way, although one of her brothers, Maximiliano, assured in the podcast Dimensión Límite that his sister continued behaving and developing her social life as always. In fact, at that time she had a boyfriend.

Nor is there any precision about the age at which Estefanía died (so obviously it is not possible to specify the age at which she played the Ouija in her school). Looking at different sources, we can find different figures: 14, 17, 18… However, Maximiliano assured in Dimensión Límite that when his sister made the Ouija she was 16 years old and died with 18. Therefore, about a year and a half or two years should have passed between the Ouija session and her death, which contrasts with other versions that assure that only a few months passed. In fact, in the disappeared radio program Turno de Noche, presented by the fabulous Juan Antonio Cebrián (who was skeptical about the case: he thought that there was no case and that everything was due to a folie à famille caused by Concepción, that is, a collective hysteria generated in a family nucleus), was assured in one of the first interviews made to the family, even before the making of the police report, that only days had passed between the Ouija session and the subsequent death of Estefanía, a version that we can discard with certainty, since the majority of testimonies set a greater interval of time.

The date on which Estefanía died is also debated, although in this case the differences of opinion are minor, almost insignificant, since while some point to July 14, 1991, others argue that Estefanía died a month later. Let us remember that the evening before her death, Estefanía would have taken a stroll with her boyfriend Pablo. This information differs depending on the family member however. For example, Concepción and Maximiliano confirm that Estefanía had a boyfriend at the time, but her sister Marianela denies it. On the other hand, the family seems unanimous in remembering how Estefanía predicted her own death shortly before it happened, and how she asked for a photograph of her with her father to be placed in her coffin.

The controversies of the paranormal phenomena

After Estefanía’s death, the poltergeist in the house of Vallecas began to grow gradually.  However, it should be noted that the origin of the anomalies is not clear. In fact, in the aforementioned interview conducted by the radio program Turno de Noche to the family is asked about the same issue. Surprisingly, for the family the onset of paranormal phenomena was quite prior to Estefanía’s death. According to one of the daughters, a little girl at that time, already in her previous home, a house that had already been demolished, they witnessed a psychoimage (that is, an image of a deceased person captured by an electronic device) on the old television. It appeared after the device was turned off and the whole family could see the face. That phenomenon allegedly chased the family to Luis Marín Street and settled there with them. However, the most extended and repeated version is the one that assures that the strange phenomena began after Estefanía’s Ouija session at her school.

We can establish a plausible consensus, that is, that most of the family members and several outside witnesses agree that something strange was happening in that house. However, not all the supposedly inexplicable phenomena were experienced by all the members of the family, so that each one of them has their own vision of the facts which, at times, coincides with that of the rest of the family and, at other times, consists of an individual and non-transferable testimony. Likewise, feelings about what happened during those years also vary. Some of them, like Ricardo or Maximiliano, downplay some of the events, even giving them their own rational explanation, while other members, like Marianela or Concepción, lived a situation of authentic fear. For example, in the previous post we reviewed how Marianela, who shared the room with Estefanía, was the only witness of her sister’s levitation on the bed. Likewise, Marianela and Querubina were the exceptional protagonists of the episode of the shadow that disorganized the toys in their room, since when their parents arrived they only saw the disorder. However, it is true that almost all the members of the family saw shadows in their home, which are described in a very similar way (to some of them, shadows looked like monks and to others like silhouettes without faces). Likewise, all of them also saw objects moving by their own without any apparent explanation in different rooms.

This period was disastrous for the case itself and, of course, for the family. This is when scroundels like Tristanbraker started to visit the family and to offer their fraudulent services. We can reason that, indeed, this was the moment when the Vallecas case began its decline because of the amount of nonsense that was said. For example, let us remember that the theory about that the cause of the poltergeist was the evil spirit of Estefanía’s grandfather (who died a few months before Estefanía and who supposedly threatened his daughter Concepción with making her life impossible as a result of some economic squabbles) was possibly created by Tristanbraker after obtaining information from the Gutiérrez Lázaro family. Nevertheless, it is necessary to emphasize the impressions of some members of the family regarding the grandfather, as is the case of Marianela, who has constantly defended him, always alleging that whatever he had said, he did it influenced by the senile dementia that he suffered. On the contrary, when he was lucid, he was a person who gave infinite affection to his family. Later, the evil entity was identified as a demon named Crápula, a version that would also have been invented by some of those fake investigators. The intervention of those presumed investigators could have over-dimensioned the Vallecas case. As the family recognized, the only thing they achieved with their interventions was to feed their fear and influence them even more. Consequently, it is obvious to reason that their state of alert increased and that they could interpret completely usual phenomena as anomalous events.

The controversies of the police intervention

The Vallecas case became famous thanks to the National Police intervention and the testimonies of the officers. Although it is not the only mysterious event in which the Police has intervened, for the layman of these matters it may be equally surprising that members of the Security Forces are witness to anomalous phenomena.

An event we did not mention in the previous post was a precedent police intervention than that occurred in the context of the Vallecas case. Thanks to the persistent inquiries of investigator Manuel Carballal, the testimonies of two policemen came to light. According to Jesús C. and José M., one year before Inspector Negri’s visit (November 19, 1992) they received a call for help from the Gutiérrez Lázaro family home. Estefania was still alive. When they went into the house they saw a grotesque scene. Estefanía, her parents and siblings, some friends and her boyfriend, Demetrio Camacho, were in the house. The latter had lost control, wallowing on the floor out of his wits in the midst of strong convulsions and foaming at the mouth (the same symptoms Estefanía suffered during her seizures). Again, the cause had been a session of Ouija carried out in the house. The officers had no choice but to handcuff the boy until his symptoms passed. However, the immobilization was not exactly easy. Demetrio violently resisted the attempts of the corpulent agents to immobilize him, until they were able to handcuff his hands behind his back and tie his legs. As the young man was still exerting incredible force, one of the policemen blurted him out:

“Look man, if you break the shackles, I’m gonna freak out and shoot you in the head.”
Officers Jesús C. and Jose M., who went to the Luis Marín Street house before Inspector Negri’s patrol. El Ojo Crítico 

According to some versions, at that time a neighbor priest of the family came to the house. He almost received a kick from the “possessed” young man. It can therefore be concluded that Estefanía did play on more than one occasion with the Ouija. It is important to keep this little-known episode in mind because it could explain the incongruities that we are going to expose. Likewise, and as Manuel Carballal points out, this case is a good example of how even a law enforcement officer, a person who, in principle, should be objective because of his job, can be influenced in cases for which he has not been trained. It is interesting, therefore, the possibility that inspector Negri’s patrol was also influenced and considered some phenomena as strange (let’s remember that some policemen left the house because of the fear produced by the episode of the little wardrobe in the living room).

In general, the police intervention is relatively clear thanks to the police report that was generated. However, in subsequent interviews, witnesses added important new details that suspiciously do not appear on the report or contradict what is exposed there. For example, Máximo assured for the program Misterios en la intimidad that a priest accompanied the patrol, something strange and singular that should have been exposed in the document, although in a subsequent interview he remembered that the patrol was formed by 4 policemen, including a psychologist, which was not registered either. One of his sons, Maximiliano, stated the same. On the other hand, José Pedro Negri assured in an interview with Iker Jiménez that the contingent was formed by him and four other policemen, although previously in the program Al Otro Lado, presented by Carmen Porter, he set the figure at 6 agents, including himself, of whom four would have left the house for fear or because there was no crime to investigate.

One of the most generalized versions stated that the whole family was waiting for the arrival of the Police out on the street in the cold night (this variant is defended by inspector Negri and by an anonymous policeman of which we will speak later), but Marianela disagreed on this matter in an interview. According to her, only a few members of her family came down, but not all of them. This would also make sense, since in 1992 she and some of her siblings were very young (12 years old or younger, in fact, the youngest member of the family, José Luis, was 1 year old), so it would not have been too safe for their health to be exposed to the cold of November. Also, in the report is related (and also reaffirmed by the inspector) that the family showed a series of newspaper clippings reporting the intervention of several “parapsychologists” in the house of Vallecas. However, Marianela said in the interview that this did not happen.

On the other hand, Concepción and Máximo have pointed out on several occasions how a policeman drew his weapon to point at the wardrobe in the living room once its doors were opened and closed on their own. Such a significant fact should have appeared in the police report, but it did not. This kind of mistakes may be attributed to the family’s distress. It would be logical that the circumstances in their home and the passage of time have influenced their memories. Moreover, it is curious that these versions coincide in part with what happened during the first police intervention in the house of Vallecas, when Estefanía’s boyfriend lost control after playing the Ouija. Indeed, on that occasion a priest visited the family and, although no policeman drew his weapon, it is true that one of them mentioned that he would use it if the situation became more violent. Therefore, the two events could have been intermingled.

The famous episode of the scratch on the poster in Estefanía’s room also suffers from inaccuracies. Although in several interviews the inspector has assured taxatively that the scratches generated by three claws occurred that same night in the blink of an eye, the truth is that there is a previous interview conducted by Germán de Argumosa a few days before the arrival of the police officers to Concepción. According to her, the scratches were already there before the police intervention. In fact, Concepción describes the marks on the poster and the door exactly as the Police report did days later. Even so, another proof of this would be the police report itself, whose first page shows how Máximo had already alerted the Police by telephone of the presence of the scratches on the poster. On the contrary, the second page suggests the opposite, that the scratches occur with the Police already present in the house… Investigating the different sources, we can see a change on inspector Negri ‘s perspective with respect to what he experienced. In the first interviews he gave, his skepticism is palpable, he diminishes the importance of his experiences. This perspective is softened and, with the passage of time, he manifests a more believing and impressionable vision about the case. Perhaps because while he was on duty he kept to himself his experiences due to professional commitment and took advantage of retirement to express what he really saw and felt?

It is also not clear how many people were in the house that night and their tour through the house. According to Marianela, her mother Concepción, Máximo and, presumably, Ricardo returned to the house escorted by three policemen. The rest of the family waited on the hallway with an agent. Therefore, we return to the contradiction of the number of policemen who were inside the house that night of November 19, being again four. On the contrary, Maximiliano assured in Dimensión Límite in 2012 that he also witnessed some of the events during the police inspection. Another significant contradiction with respect to the police report was provided by Máximo Gutiérrez, who stated that Negri couldn’t have been witness of the opening of the doors of the dining room furniture because he was with him inspecting another room…

According to the two policemen that talked with investigator Manuel Carballal, before José Negri’s intervention, they lived the supposed possession of Estefanía’s boyfriend after playing the Ouija. Apostolado Eucarístico

More recently, it has been possible to recover a new testimony about what allegedly happened that night of November 19 of 1992. The information came from one of the policemen who visited Luis Marín’s house together with Pedro Negri. The interesting thing is that many details contradict the inspector’s version (it is necessary to emphasize that Negri has always vehemently defended that what everything he lived that night and what appears in the police report is true). According to this anonymous policeman, every phenomena can be explained in a conventional way. He relates that, when they arrived at number 8 of Luis Marín street, they did indeed meet the family in the unpleasant night. As they went up to the house, one of them commented that

“the ghost of the red cloak was making their lifes impossible.”

This entity was identified with the demon Crápula, of whom we have already spoken. The policeman also remembers the intense state of terror in which the family lived, to the point that they had moved the mattresses to the dining room and slept all together (this is a detail that has always been reviewed but which Negri did not refer to in the police report). He also remembers that they had to turn off the lights to be witnesses of the demonstrations of Crápula, but that he never saw the doors of the little wardrobe open on their own. He also categorically denies that a colleague pointed his gun at the furniture. However, he heard the noises in the terrace (just like Negri). The policeman also assures that he saw one of the rooms full of junk, screws and nuts, and that he asked Máximo if they were not afraid that the entity would use those objects to hurt the family. Máximo answered, always according to the version of this policeman, that in that room the demon did not appear.

It seems that night was the object of boasting and mocking at the police station. Some individuals even boasted of boldness and bravery before their companions, inventing that they had been in the house.

The investigations following the Vallecas case

We can delimit the Vallecas case until the night of the second police intervention. However, this does not mean that the phenomena ended that day. From then on, and with the passage of time, the poltergeist went on to become something anecdotal. Around 1996 it seemed to be almost non-existent, or at least the family had adapted and integrated the poltergeist into their lives, as can be extrapolated from the interview carried out in the program Misterios en la intimidad.

During this period, and thanks to the circus set up by Tristanbraker and many others, the Vallecas case attracted the attention of the most serious researchers, such as Fernando Jiménez del Oso. Several paranormal research teams, such as Grupo Hepta, headed by Father José María Pilón, or a small group from the Sociedad Española de Parapsicología, headed by psychiatrist Manuel Berrocal, also arrived to take a look. The differences between these new incursions and the first ones are clear. In the latter case, economic interest was absent and there was a greater degree of skepticism and rationalism. To illustrate this, we can mention the case of Manuel Berrocal’s team, who were in the house on two occasions as part of an Antena 3 program to, obviously, offer a show to their viewers taking advantage of the circumstances. Berrocal and his team didn’t get paranormal material, so they were reprimanded by the program management. In fact, many of these researchers never saw anything strange in the house. Father Pilón even showed disinterest in the Vallecas case, alleging that nothing paranormal was happening. Unlike Tristanbraker and so many others, they visited the family to try to calm the situation and make their lifes more bearable. It is not strange, therefore, that some of them are remembered with affection by the Gutiérrez Lázaro family. On the contrary, other researchers did live some unusual experiences in the house, although not very significant. This is the case of journalists Iker Jiménez and Lorenzo Fernández Bueno who, together with their producer, visited the house in 1996. They felt vertigo and negative sensations when they entered the bathroom and the cameras’ batteries, which were perfectly charged, were drained instantly as they passed through certain rooms.

Few researchers carried out any test to verify the existence of strange phenomena in that house during the most critical period for the family and, curiously, many of them were either prudent or skeptical even though they believed in the reality of paranormal phenomena. We can highlight, for example, the psychophonies of Germán de Argumosa. It could be said that interest in the Vallecas case appeared years after the police intervention, when the phenomena had significantly diminished, which led to the visit of a greater number of research teams.

It seems that the phenomena ceased around October 1996. Several fallacies have been reported in this regard, according to which Concepción deliberately exhumed her daughter’s body in order to fulfill her wishes by placing a picture of Estefanía and her father at the coffin. However, the family has already repeatedly stated that this version is a hoax. The truth is that they had to remove Estefanía’s body momentarily from her grave but only because they had to remove the body of another relative underneath. Taking advantage of that, they put a photograph on the tomb. Later, the family moved and neither they nor the new tenants have experienced anything anomalous.

On November 9 of the same year, a team of researchers visited Concepción and Máximo’s home. Their objective was to find the origin of the poltergeist. With that goal in mind, several members of the now extinct F.E.D.I.N.E. group (formed by parapsychologists Luis M. Rivero and Enrique Sánchez, graphologist Mónica N-C, and psychologist Carlos I. G.) conducted a series of psychological and parapsychological tests focused on Concepción (which, on the other hand, has fed criticism on this study, considered biased by not taking into account the rest of the family members in the tests). Certainly, the conclusions of these tests do not leave Concepción in a good place, since she is described as a person prone to introversion, neurotic, in need of attracting attention, megalomaniac, immature, aggressive, emotionally unbalanced, imaginative, etc., all derived from the situation of constant stress and anxiety that she lived since her daughter was “possessed”. These psychological traits suggest that the testimonies of Concepción would not be reliable. But what about the rest of the family? According to the report, they might be influenced by Concepción and, as a result, they would see and believe the same things she did. In conclusion, far from being an immaterial entity, the real origin of the poltergeist of Vallecas would have been, in the first place, Estefanía itself, who

“[…] could have been psychically impregnated with the energetic charge created around the game and once in her family context, experience an overflow of psy potentiality […].”

That situation left an imprint in the house, and Concepción would become the continuator of the phenomena by fulfilling the necessary requirements for it (significant psychological and emotional disorders). Likewise, the results of the parapsychological experiments did not provide empirical evidence of the presence of something anomalous. These results served the most skeptical to forge the irrefutable conviction that the Vallecas case was a complete fraud, whose material author would have been Concepción Lázaro. However, the report does not seem to reach the same conclusions. This analysis really attributes the origin of the poltergeist to the psy potentiality manifested by Estefanía and, later, by her mother, and given that a psychic liberation of a bioenergy accumulated in the organism during an intensely distressing situation that affects the surrounding objects it’s a parapshychological concept, it is clear that the origin of paranormal phenomena, always according to this report, is parapsychological and, therefore, mysterious. Another point worth highlighting is the explanation given to the decline of anomalous phenomena. According to the conclusions of the report of the F.E.D.I.N.E group, the fulfillment of Concepción’s promise to her daughter (remember that, shortly before her death, Estefanía asked her mother to put a photograph in her funeral in which she appeared with her father) put an end to the paranormal phenomena, perhaps because Concepción was reassured to see her daughter’s last wish fulfilled.

Although this case is full of confusions and contradictory versions, it does not mean that it can be established in all probability as a fraud. Possibly, the passage of time ended up altering the memories of witnesses and intermingling the events of those years. Perhaps the weak point of this case is that there is no empirical evidence, we only have testimonies. Although this is not surprising since the investigations were rather few. For some, the collection of psychophonies obtained during those years is sufficient, but for the most skeptical, who even doubt about the reality of psychophonies, this only is not enough. However, it is unfair to diminish the value of testimonies, especially when sometimes these testimonies coincide with each other even though they come from different sources. Obviously, testimonies are not conclusive evidence, but they always serve as clues to initiate and direct an investigation and to contrast the data obtained.

On the other hand, the Vallecas case has once again come to the fore in the media a few months ago due to the categorical statements made by Ricardo and Maximiliano, brothers of Estefanía. Statements that have only added fuel to the fire. Declarations that for many have served to put an end to the Vallecas case…

“There’s no case for me”

On September 23, 2018, the newspaper El Mundo published an interesting interview made by journalist David Cuevas to Ricardo (who for the first time spoke about the Vallecas case) and Maximiliano in which both retract and deny the paranormal nature of what happened around their sister. This publication has provoked division and heated debate among the Vallecas case investigators: on the one hand, there are those who label the interview as fraud and, on the other hand, those who believe that it is the definitive truth about the Vallecas case. The aim of the brothers was to clean the image of their sister Estefanía and their family following the statements that one of their sisters, Marianela, had declared in Cuarto Milenio a few days earlier. Really, the image of their sister Estefanía has been stained by many fallacies that have been poured throughout all these years. However, the reason why they have not retracted so far is for respect for their beloved father, who recently died. This, added to the already mentioned statements, seems to have ended the patience of the brothers. Although we will post the link to the interview, we would like to outline what we consider to be the most important points. According to Ricardo and Maximiliano:

  • Estefanía was not a strange girl and was not fond of the Ouija or other spiritist practices.

  • Estefanía’s epileptic seizures did not respond to any diabolical possession and typical convulsive signs could be found. Possibly she inherited it from her mother, who also suffered from epileptic seizures.

  • The Ouija was not the trigger of Estefanía’s malaise, as there is a relatively long period of time between the two events.

  • Estefania never levitated or spoke strange languages.

  • She always was an affable and cheerful girl, with a developed maternal instinct, took enthusiastic care of her siblings and was very much loved.

  • It is inappropriate to speak of paranormal phenomena. Everything that happened was psychological. Their mother was obsessed with the idea that something inexplicable was happening around Estefanía and ended up influencing the rest of the family. The passage of several “pseudo-researchers” like Tristanbraker helped to fix the paranormal version within the family. Fortunately, the wise advice of Fernando Jiménez del Oso and others helped the situation disappear.

  • The policemen who visited the house on 19 November 1992 were influenced from the moment they met the family in the hallway. All the phenomena that supposedly happened that day and that was captured in the police report would have a rational explanation. For example, nobody saw how the Christ fell from the wall of one of the rooms or how the scratches appeared on the poster. It can be assumed that the wind from the outside caused the door to close violently and, in consequence, the crucifix to fall, while the alleged scratches were due to the wear of the poster. The brown slime that appeared on the tablecloth on the coffee table in the living room would really be baby food of José Luis, the youngest of the brothers. The episode of the furniture door in the living room would also have its rational explanation. In the furniture were stored some files that contained albums of photographies and that in occasions fell, causing the opening of the doors. What Inspector Negri saw may have been due to the fall of one of those files. It seems that shortly before the event, the family extracted a series of newspaper clippings from the furniture to show them to the Police. Perhaps at that moment the door was left ajar.

  • The blow on the terrace that both police and family heard during the inquiries of the authorities was provoked. This is the most shocking revelation of the entire interview. The maker of the blow would have been Ricardo, who from an adjoining balcony would have secretly thrown a stone onto the terrace that would have hit with an iron pantry, causing the commotion. The author, however, was his mother Concepción, who sought to impress the police. Even her husband did not know about the plan.

  • Concepción forced her children to consciously lie and overdimension what was happening at home. The fear they felt at that time was cause, more than by the phenomena, by Concepción, who would retaliate if they did not say what she wanted. In this way, the psychological profile that the F.E.D.I.N.E group established in its report about Concepción is corroborated.

  • Máximo, their father, was always very skeptical, but ended up being convinced by his wife.

  • Concepción was the origin of the Vallecas case.

Certainly it is not strange that these words should have come from their mouths, since these two members of the family have always been the most unbelieving. They have received numerous criticisms concerning the charging of some profit for the interview due to their testimonies. However, at the beginning of the interview, they already claim not to have received any economic benefit. As we have already mentioned, their aim was to tell their own truth.

Ricardo Gutiérrez Lázaro showing a photograph of his sister Estefanía. Sitting in front of him is his brother Maximiliano. Both have burned the social media with their controversial statements. El Mundo

As we have mentioned, these powerful statements have served to establish the opinion of the unbelievers and to ignite the faithful of the Vallecas case, generating strong discussions mainly in social networks. For the skeptics, therefore, everything has already been said. The Vallecas case was a fraud perpetrated by Concepción. However, for those who are reluctant to give credibility to these statements, there are a series of inconsistencies in the testimonies of the brothers, inconsistencies that cannot be explained simply because they intended to respect the figure of Máximo Gutiérrez.

For instance, although Estefanía was not fond of the Ouija, she practiced it at least twice: that time in her school and months later in her own home, causing the first police intervention. Moreover, the interviewees try to give a rational explanation to their sister’s epileptic seizures, attributing them on a hereditary illness already suffered by her mother. However, in a previous interview for the radio program Dimensión Límite, directed by the author of El Mundo‘s interview, Maximiliano considered his sister’s illness to be a mystery, since her mother did not show the same symptoms as Estefanía during her attacks. Of course, it is mere chance that Estefanía started having epileptic seizures after playing Ouija.

On the other hand, they state that Estefanía never levitated, but they can’t corroborate it accurately since the only witness of the alleged levitation was Marianela. There would be another contradiction in considering that everything that happened in their house during those years was simply an illusion nourished by Concepción’s convictions, since in the aforementioned program Dimensión Límite, Maximiliano also confirmed having witnessed what in his opinion were inexplicable phenomena, such as the episode of the ball bouncing alone towards the frightened family after the apparitions that Marianela and Querubina experienced in their room. He also witnessed his poodles flying through the air and how, one day, a glass was thrown on its own straight to the face of one of his brothers and exploded in front of him. Nor did he ever mention that the scratches on the poster were normal. In fact, on this last issue he rejects psychiatrist Manuel Berrocal, who speculated on the possibility that the scratches were caused by the family pets, even though the marks did not correspond to the size of the dogs’ legs. Maximiliano also considered the burning of his sister’s photograph strange, although no one could see this at the moment of the fire. In this respect, it seems to be the most perplexing episode to him.

For a certain group of opinion, the brothers’ arguments are vague and weak. When they give certain explanations, they don’t do it convincingly, rather, they are speculations. When the time comes to rationalize what happened on the night of November 19, 1992, which was also presumably evidenced by the Police, several contradictions appear. For instance, about the episode of the crucifix, Maximiliano assured in Dimensión Límite that that night all the crucifixes fell off and that, on one occasion, he saw with his very own eyes how a crucifix was inexplicably reversed. In the same program he claimed that, although he had not seen it, one of the officers had witnessed the appearance of the brown slime on the tablecloth. Moreover, if the cause of the slime was baby food, the police officers would have deduced it without much effort. Regarding the noise on the terrace, which according to these statements would have been triggered by Ricardo, for José Pedro Negri it is clear: it is impossible that Ricardo could have acted in that way and he was not seen by anyone, because as he remembers, one of the policemen was with him during the event (it is also true that sometimes Negri contradicts himself and suggests that both he and the policeman who remained in the house were together in Estefanía’s room accompanying only Máximo, so Ricardo could have had the opportunity to throw a stone, although if we take into account one of Máximo’s versions, according to which more than two policemen were present and some of them were in the living room with the rest of the family, Ricardo’s performance would therefore be unlikely). The reasoning in relation to the abrupt opening of the dining room furniture door would also lack logic, because inspector Negri inspected the furniture to try to discover the existence of some hidden mechanism. Obviously, if he had seen that the cause of the phenomenon was the fall of a folder, he would have refrained from carrying out any inspection (although, certainly, for Negri that event did not seem too anomalous either, as he has stated on several occasions). In addition, the police report communicated by Negri to the central office ensures that the door of the little wardrobe was perfectly closed. Finally, Maximiliano concluded with certainty in the interview for Dimensión Límite that there was evidence of something strange.

In short, these are the criticisms of the group of researchers who continue to be faithful to the Vallecas case. We can also highlight the statements of Marianela Gutiérrez Lázaro and José Pedro Negri in a Cuarto Milenio program that was broadcast on television a few days before the interview. Both claimed to have experienced unexplained sensations and phenomena. And not only them, Querubina also recognizes that she cannot explain everything that happened. Or José Luis, another of the brothers, who at that time saw a kind of smoke in the shape of his sister Estefanía leaning out of a window. When he described Estefanía to her mother how she was dressed in his vision, she could not believe it, because her son had seen her in the costumes of the day she was shrouded, when he could have never seen her in that way (although it is true that we must be careful with this testimony, since in 1992 José Luis was only one year old). This was also told by Maximiliano. Therefore, Maximiliano’s and Ricardo’s statements would be nothing more than an incomprehensible retraction and not evidence that allow to shelve the Vallecas case, always according to certain authors.

Our personal conclusion is clear: as we warned from the beginning, it is very complex to conclude something regarding the Vallecas case. The enormous amount of contradictions and contrasting data do not allow it. Many of the versions that have been given are probable, including the recent statements of Maximiliano and Ricardo. Today we only have conflicting testimonies and a lack of physical and verifiable evidence and, therefore, the impossibility of putting an end to this story. Now, of course, it is the reader’s turn to draw his or her own conclusions from all that has been exposed and question the existing data.

The Vallecas case has been one of the most intoxicated paranormal cases. The large number of lies and versions that have been stated and the infallible passage of time have made the Vallecas case blurry. However, the most painful thing is not the lies, but that they have negatively affected the family. Everything has been said: that Máximo mistreated his wife, that Concepción’s father was an evil person, when he really suffered from dementia and all he could have said was under the influence of his illness, that Estefanía was a sinister and extravagant girl, that the family charged abundant benefits for giving interviews… On the contrary, the members who still live agree on one thing: that their family was always united and supporting each other. That they were completely normal people, whose lives were disrupted by an accumulation of tragedies: Estefanía’s death and the subsequent nightmare (whether paranormal or not). Despite all this, they were reborn stronger and more tanned than ever and they have managed to settle down and move on. Let these two posts serve to do justice.

Breaking news

New data on the controversial Vallecas case have recently come to light. Information that refers both to the protagonists and the events that at the time framed the famous paranormal case. Our aim is always to inform in the most accurate way and this leads us from time to time to update our posts. Courtesy of researchers David Cuevas and Juan José Sánchez-Oro, we extract and expose the results of their arduous and fascinating research. This information will serve some to concretize their conclusions, for others perhaps not. We limit ourselves to showing these new data so that each one can judge as they consider best.

Firstly, it is important to highlight a series of data that help to better contextualize the Vallecas case. Until now we did not know how Estefanía’s family heard what happened during the Ouija session that took place in one of the classrooms of the Colegio Público Aragón of Vallecas. According to some of the first interviews Concepción  Lázaro gave (previous even to those we have mentioned throughout these posts and directed by a team of parapsychologists in 1992), it seems that the informants were the schoolmates who participated together with Estefanía in the Ouija session. It was when they expressed their condolences to Concepción for the loss of Estefanía that they informed him of the alleged paranormal phenomena that occurred that day.

Thanks to these first interviews recently brought to light by the radio program Dimensión Límite, we now know that there were a number of strange phenomena that have not been mentioned by the family again since then. For example, it is mentioned that Estefanía saw on several occasions the Virgin appear as a sort of teleplasty on the wall in front of her bed. That figure sketched a slight smile when Estefanía looked at her. Of course, all this would have happened after the Ouija session. Likewise, and always according to the testimonies given during the mentioned interviews, a mysterious force shook the cradle of the smallest of the family, José Luis Gutiérrez Lázaro. Concepción also claimed that her daughter sometimes went into strange trances in which she seemed to be absent and through which she conversed with deceased relatives. When she regained consciousness, she remembered nothing of those conversations.

We already mentioned in the first part that Concepción assured on several occasions that her daughter had made a strange request a few days before her death: she wanted her paternal family to have no knowledge of her death. In fact, she wanted this family sector not even to be present during her funeral. It seems that the relationship between the two parties was not cordial. The new information also details that Estefanía threatened to make an act of presence after death by some sign if her wishes were disobeyed.

Another of the major controversies that have been resolved thanks to David Cuevas’ research is whether Estefanía suffered from any disease or not, specifically whether she was epileptic. On numerous occasions, Concepción and her husband Máximo denied this, however, in the first interviews already referenced Concepción confirmed not only that Estefanía suffered from epilepsy but that an epileptic seizure was what really ended her life. But we can go even further. The team of Dimensión Límite has had access to the full 40-page report of Estefanía’s autopsy, which has generated rivers of ink due to the part where Estefanía’s death is described as “sudden and suspicious”, something that many authors have interpreted as evidence that the death of the young woman was inexplicable even for medical examiners. However, David Cuevas has turned to various experts in the field to obtain a professional interpretation of the report. So, the medical examiners and neurologists consulted agree in the same thing: that Estefanía’s death had nothing to do with the paranormal. Let us remember that the document stated that Estefanía’s sudden death would have occurred due to heart failure and pulmonary asphyxia caused by pulmonary edema. That is why death was labelled as suspicious. The term “death suspected of criminality” comes from the legal and medical spheres and refers to those deaths which, although there is a possibility that they are due to natural causes, there is some sign in them that provokes suspicion. Obviously, sudden deaths of young people fall into this category, because they are not normal. As forensic experts Pedro Cabeza and Gregorio Arroyo Arrieta did not observe any sign that an external agent caused the death (violence caused by another person or self-inflicted), they requested a toxicological study. It provides very interesting data. In Estefanía’s stomach and blood were found traces of carbamazepine, a drug known commercially as Tegretol that was used for the treatment of epileptic seizures, another fact inconsistent with the testimonies of Estefanía’s parents about the presumed perfect state of health of their daughter. The levels of the drug in blood were not very high, so it can be ruled out that an overdose was the cause of death. Therefore, medical examiners were finally able to conclude that the death was due to natural causes, although there is not enough data to ensure the cause of the cardiac failure.

Even so, medical examiners who analyzed the report give several clues to follow. Estefanía had a significant degree of obesity that could have disrupted the proper functioning of her endocrine system and heart. If we add to this the neuroepileptic disease, which clearly continued to evolve despite the medication, we can glimpse the etiology of Estefanía’s cardiorespiratory failure. It is important to note that Estefanía’s parents may have believed that her daughter did not have epilepsy because the doctors they visited on several occasions could not conclusively diagnose this, although they clearly saw signs of it, because otherwise they would not have prescribed Tegretol. It should also be borne in mind that the Gutiérrez Lázaro family had a history of epilepsy, particularly Concepción who, as we have already said, was being medicated against epilepsy, so there was an important predisposition to suffer from the disease. There could also have been a psychosomatic component that aggravated the symptoms, for example, a stressful situation within the family, something on which we shall now focus. The epileptic seizures Estefanía suffered regularly would have been the triggers of paranormal phenomena that allegedly manifested while she was still alive, such as visions and instantaneous violent behavior among others. This could be because epileptic seizures sometimes involve auditory and visual visions and psychotic outbursts. We therefore have a breeding ground (a neuroepileptic pathological case and an unhealthy physical constitution) which led to an end which, seen with new eyes, was even expected.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Dimensión Límite team managed to contact one of the authors of Estefanía’s autopsy, the forensic Gregorio Arroyo Arrieta, who in fact was the only author of the autopsy, since his colleague Pedro Cabeza only signed the report following a judicial procedure. Arrieta, who until now had not been interviewed by anyone about the Vallecas case, confirmed what the rest of the medical examiners did: that there was nothing strange and that the death of Estefanía, already a sick person, was natural. These pathologies would have been the direct cause of Estefanía’s nefarious end, while the last epileptic seizure would have simply acted as a catalyst.

The hypothesis of epilepsy as the trigger of the presumed mysterious phenomenology was already proposed shortly after the death of Estefanía by the researcher and writer Javier Sierra in the issue 36 of the magazine Más Allá de la Ciencia of February 1992. Sierra reviewed the evidence that there is high propensity to suffer hypnagogic hallucinations by epileptics, which could have caused the visions and other experiences of Estefanía. If we add to this the beliefs of the family, especially those of Concepción and the stressful and distressing situation that was lived in those moments in the Vallecas house, it was normal that anything that happened there, whether it was a noise, the blown of a light bulb, etc., should be contextualized in the framework of the paranormal.

In this post we referred to an episode in which the Police (in this case the Municipal) intervened before the famous intervention of the National Police headed by José Pedro Negri that gave rise to the famous report that has given so much to talk about. We said that a couple of agents went to the home of the Gutiérrez Lázaro family because Estefanía’s boyfriend at that time, Demetrio Camacho, was untied after having participated in a Ouija session in the house. Now we know new details about that episode. It seems that during the “possession”, Demetrio bit fiercely a series of holy cards. In an attempt to bring him back to himself, Concepción slapped him repeatedly, but nothing worked. At that moment the two agents of the Municipal Police were going up to put order in the house. At the same time, the parish priest and neighbor of the Gutiérrez Lázaro family, Father Carlos, who had come to the house to “clean” it of the diabolic influences and who almost received a kick from Demetrio, was going down the stairs towards the street with his face decomposed by the experience, according to one of those policemen. However, here we have a new incongruity, because thanks to David Cuevas’ investigation we now know that Father Carlos would have arrived to the house on a different date. Be that as it may, we also know how it all began. It seems that Estefanía was distressed during the Ouija session, so her boyfriend offered himself as a receptacle for Estefanía’s suffering. Then he lost consciousness and the phenomena began. He woke up later in the Gregorio Marañón hospital disoriented and not knowing what had happened. He did remember instead that strange things had happened during the Ouija session, such as the flame of a candle rising towards the ceiling.

Other alleged strange phenomena of which we were not aware until now have been related by journalist César Cid, one of the first to interview the Gutiérrez Lázaro family, for the radio program Dimensión Límite. Cid assures that Concepción told him that two policemen saw how the glass of the frame of a photograph of Estefanía broke on its own for no apparent reason.

Another recurrent statement about the Vallecas case is that the anomalous phenomena began either after the first session of Estefanía’s Ouija or after her death. That is to say, the family had a normal life until those moments. However, we already mentioned an episode prior to all this that they lived in a previous house with a psychoimage that arose on a television. It wasn’t the only one. According to what Concepción stated in interviews until now unpublished, she was aware of a strange event that happened to her sister-in-law Pilar. The eldest of her nephews was possessed by a monk who was slowly consuming him. It was all over when they went to a healer. On the other hand, Concepción personally suffered an anomalous event. When she was single, eight days before marrying Máximo, at her brother’s house she saw a terrifying black figure slowly approaching her. It was night and Concepción was lying on the dining room couch. She was terrified and began to scream. Her brother came to her aid and when he turned on the light in the room, the shadow vanished. This information is important, because what it tells us is that Concepción was already carrying a baggage and a series of unusual experiences (at least for her) that influenced her belief system, which, as we shall see, is fundamental.

Having said all this, it is now necessary to focus on Concepción Lázaro, fundamental protagonist of the Vallecas case and, possibly, the architect of it. Curiously, Concepción is the one who has been mainly in contact with journalists and researchers and who has related everything that happened in the family during those unpleasant years. That is to say, Concepción has been the fundamental chronicler of the Vallecas case, she has been practically the one who has built it. We already mentioned it when we exposed the main points of the interview that David Cuevas made to Maximiliano and Ricardo Gutiérrez Lázaro, brothers of Estefanía, and who gave a 360 degree turn to the Vallecas case with their controversial statements. Well, a new character has appeared and corroborates to a certain extent the psychological profile we present about Concepción, a relatively authoritarian person, with a very strong personality and certain emotional imbalances. This person is an old good friend of Estefanía and her nickname is Cuca. According to her, both were very close and got along very well. They were even in the same class, so this person’s testimony must be taken into consideration because of her close relationship with Estefanía. Estefanía was a very good person, with a very developed maternal instinct and very loving and devoted, as also has been referred by members of the family. It seems that she suffered from bullying at school because of her physical constitution, and her domestic situation left much to be desired. Cuca points out Concepción’s bad behaviour towards her children, something she was able to watch first hand since they spent a lot of time at each other’s houses. She asserted that Concepción ignored them (perhaps that’s why Estefanía had to play as a mother?) and that she was a bit controlling and manipulative, because she would have been who would have instilled in her children her beliefs and who would have made them live surrounded by fear and worry. She even suggests that there could have been physical abuse. The situation in the house of the Gutiérrez Lázaro was therefore controversial and unstable, which could have worsened the diagnosis of Estefanía (as one of the forensic experts consulted by David Cuevas has suggested). The interview with Cuca is interesting, because she denies even that Estefanía played Ouija at school, in fact she would never have told her anything about it. Another incongruity for the list, because even Estefanía’s brothers confirm this episode. She also dismisses the testimony of Juan Chacón, the alleged Estefanía’s companion who claimed to be a close friend and who participated in the Ouija session. According to Cuca, this character was hardly related to them.

We therefore see that some pieces about Concepción are beginning to fit together. The report of F.E.D.I.N.E., the testimony of Maximiliano and Ricardo and now that of Cuca coincide in many points. But also, thanks to the fact that David Cuevas has published the complete interview with the brothers of Estefanía, we know much more data. It should be noted that Estefanía suffered sporadic episodes of absence epilepsy, so sometimes she was paralyzed and like absent. Her relationship with her maternal grandfather, whose spirit according to Tristanbraker harassed the family, was negative. They also comment on how the call to the National Police was made that cold night of November 19, 1992. It all began with the state of alert that was installed in one of their sisters after seeing how some teddy bears in her room began to move on their own. This person’s dread ended up infecting the whole family in a context that was already fed back. The reader may remember that it was said that Máximo Gutiérrez, who was in the street with the rest of the family because of their fear (scenario confirmed by Maximiliano and Ricardo), informed the police as they went up to the house of the presence of an entity with a red cape, a kind of demon called Crápula. As the brothers have confirmed, it was not Máximo who made this comment, but Concepción again, although we must remember that Tristanbraker was the one who invented this character and who surely ended up influencing Concepción, already susceptible to this type of beliefs.

For Maximiliano and Ricardo it is clear, as we already reviewed in this post. The Vallecas case was not such and its architect was their mother, both voluntarily and involuntarily. Voluntary because sometimes she forced her children to say certain things in order to oversize the case or forced them to reproduce certain “anomalous” phenomena, such as the famous blow on the terrace heard by National Police officers, and involuntary because Concepción was also influenced by the opinions and comments of the pseudo-investigators who approached her house. Indeed, and as the brothers point out, Concepción believed deeply in paranormal phenomena and diabolic entities, something that could derive from the supposed experiences she lived in the past. Her beliefs were so strong that she ended up instilling them in her children and even her husband, who was always the most skeptical in the family. This confluence of powerful suggestions would have been the generator of the scenario of fear and susceptibility, which was very real and which settled in that house for so many years altering the family welfare. For Maximiliano and Ricardo the real pillars that kept the family afloat were their father and their sister Estefanía. Curiously, they do not mention their mother, insinuating she was a bit conflictive and authoritarian, because if they did not say what she wanted, they might be punished. They also mention the difficult daily situation they had at home, alluding that sometimes there were situations of “mistreatment”, and it was not precisely the father who provoked them.

All this data is really suggestive. As always, we let the reader draw his personal conclusions. For more information on this controversial case, we recommend visiting the first part we did in this blog, which is available at the following link:

The Ouija that unleashed the nightmare. The Vallecas case (part 1)


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