The Vallecas Case, the demonic possession and subsequent death of Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro, gained legendary status in Spain not just for the events, but for the number of first-hand witnesses including neighbors, friends, hospital workers, and the legal authorities (who filed an official report documenting the events they saw).
A change in Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro’s behavior
In early 1990, the family of 18-year-old Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro noticed an odd change in her behavior. The family, who lived in Vallecas, a municipality of Spain just south of Madrid, worried when Estefania began suffering from hallucinations and convulsions. In an instant, Estefania would burst into rage, barking, growling, and hissing at her brothers. She told the family she saw “shadows” walking through her room at night.
The Lazaro family took Estefania to several doctors who puzzled over her condition. After finding no explanation for her bizarre symptoms, in August 1991, Estefania was admitted to a hospital in Madrid for further evaluation. Hospital physicians could find nothing physically wrong with her and thus, no diagnosis could be provided. Still, Estefania’s health continued to deteriorate, and her seizures and hallucinations grew stronger. After three weeks, hospital workers found Estefania lifeless in her bed. She had no apparent wounds or any other indication of how she died. She simply stopped breathing. The official autopsy report declares she died of a heart attack. Her family thought otherwise.
Seeking answers for their daughter’s death, the Lazaro family digs into Estefania’s past
The Lazaro family struggled with Estefania’s death and brooded over the rapid and mysterious decline in her health and mental state. They knew Estefania had been reading several books about the occult and spiritualism. Then school officials came forward and notified the parents that Estefania and some of her friends had been toying with a homemade Ouija board in a field behind the school. According to the surviving girls, the idea of using the board had been Estefania’s.
The girls described how they utilized a small, clear, upside-down glass as a pointer and each placing a finger on the bottom rim of the glass, began asking questions of spirits. According to the girls, at one point, the glass flew across the board, of its own accord, and shattered into pieces.
A nun caught the girls performing the act, admonished them, snatched up the board, and broke it in two. The nun questioned the girls and found that Estefania had brought the board to school to help one of her friends contact a boyfriend who had recently died in a motorcycle accident. Although the girls felt no contact with the dead boyfriend had been made, they claimed they saw a mysterious thick, dark puff of smoke appear, the source of which, none could discern. The smoke hovered briefly over the board, then surged towards Estefania.
The haunting of the Lazaro family
After Estefania’s death, the family experienced a series of bizarre events. At first, they began hearing a disembodied voice whispering “Mama, Mama,” often emanating from Estefania’s bathroom. When the family opened the door to the bathroom, they found the room empty.
Soon the aberration spread to Estefania’s bedrooms. The family normally kept the room clean, kempt, and organized but every couple of days, they would enter the room to find bedsheets thrown about the room and objects scattered across the floor.
Next, they began hearing scrapes along the walls and the sounds of cackling laughter radiating from the ceiling. Then the situation rapidly deteriorated.
Conditions grow dire for the Lazaro family
Soon the echoing sound of laughter turned to wailing and a hard sound like fists punching through the walls. Lights and appliances would switch on and off. Then the sounds and unseen forces turned real – doors began to open by themselves.
The family resorted to placing furniture, including a large sofa, in front of doors to keep them closed. To no avail, the family would hear a sound like a “huge wind”, the handles of the doors turned, and the furniture, including the sofa, were flung out of the way. In one instance, the door burst open knocking a photo of a smiling Estefania from a shelf onto the floor. When her mother picked up the picture, she dropped it suddenly. Her father, puzzled, reached to pick up the photo and stopped when he saw the photo paper ignite, burning through the face of Estefania.
Soon, family members began seeing a strange, dark, humanoid creature moving quietly about the house. One of Estefania’s sisters described an encounter with the mysterious creature:
“We heard a whistling sound, like on other nights, and then a groan near the door. We were so scared we were frozen. It was then we noticed something on the floor, as the light from the streetlights would enter our bedroom, and light it up. It was the shape of a man, crawling, dragging itself along the floor. He had a black head, no eyes, no mouth, nothing. It was crawling towards us and we started to scream. It was then that the toys we had on a shelf started to be thrown violently towards the other wall, one by one, and then we heard bangs and shouts.”
The Lazaro family were not the only witnesses to the strange events. Visiting neighbors confirmed the family’s claims, reporting shadows skittering along the walls of the home and seeing toys and other objects fly through the air, sometimes with enough force to embed the object into the wall.
Events culminated in 1992. Estefania’s mother awoke in the middle of the night feeling “pressure on top of me.” According to Mrs. Lazaro, “I felt a pair of hands grab my feet and then grab my arm.”
Police investigate the case – and confirm Lazaro family reports
Mrs. Lazaro’s terrifying visit in the middle of the night prompted the family’s first call to the local authorities. Police arrived at the home at 2:40 AM and were greeted by a terrified family who burst outside babbling about loud bangs, booms, and other noises. Present were Chief Inspector of the National Police, Jose Pedro, Officer Negri, and three other police officers. As they approached the home, the official police report documents they heard loud noises coming from the empty porch and upon entering the home, the door of a close armoire opened “in a sudden and totally unnatural way.” Then a crucified statue of Jesus separated from his cross.
Police recorded their experience in an official police report. In part it said,
“We sat with the family, you could hear and see how a perfectly shut cupboard door would open and shut. We checked the door. It was perfect. It moved in an anti-natural way. Moments later we saw a tablecloth on a small telephone table become stained by a brown substance that the Inspector identified as “drool like”. When we checked the bedrooms of the house, we saw a wooden cross spun upside down and the metal Christ upon it was ripped off. One of the daughters then placed the cross behind the door on a poster. Then in the same moment there appeared three “nail marks, scratches” on the poster.”
Later, Officer Negri was approached by local news and in an on-screen interview, told reporters what he experienced when he entered Estefania’s bedroom:
“It was a small bedroom with twin beds. The father told us that sometimes when he and his little son were sitting on the bed, his son was picked up and thrown on to the other bed in a flying move. I sat down in the same bedroom to see if anything would happen. We heard a terrible scream behind us which came from a small balcony. I quickly opened the door and ran out to see if I could see anything. But there was nothing. No fallen stones. Nothing. It was 2.30 in the morning and the noise was dreadful. When I’d first entered the room, I noticed they had a large wooden crucifix on the wall and hanging off it was a smaller pearly crucifix like the one children get at their first holy communions. There was also a poster. But a few moments later, the crucifix had been turned upside down, the little crucifix was on the floor and the poster and the door had three or four deep scratches in them as if someone had clawed through the poster and deep into the door.”
The closing of The Vallecas Case
According to Officer Negri, the Lazaro family soon left the home, moving to an undisclosed location in Madrid. Years later, the family told reporters that after moving from their home, their lives returned to normal.
Veronica – the movie
A popular horror movie, Veronica, was created to document the events. According to Spanish Director Pacoa Plaza, his hit movie was only based loosely on Estefania’s story. However, the overlay text in the movie lists real dates, times, addresses, including the address of the police station in Madrid that took the family’s infamous call. In the movie’s closing credits, crime scene photos accompanying the credits included this statement:
“This story is based on the police report filed by the detective in charge of the case.”