What happened in Zugarramurdi (Navarre)?

I like secrets, urban legends, stories nobody wants to believe are true. I like visiting abandoned monasteries and villages in which I can still feel the souls of people who used to live there and for an unknown reason left.  Those places make my brain work like crazy, I can think of 100 reasons why they had left, what had happened.   My creative brain is able to make a tiny, short movie in my head. Odd, right? But at least I never get bored with myself!

Right now you may think I am nuts? Well don’t, because I am about to tell you the story of the poor witches from Zugarramurdi.

Zugarramurdi is a little, lovely village situated in northern Spain (Navarre), close to the border with France. From every single place in the village you can admire the beautiful and a little snowy hills of the Pyrenees Mountains. You get the feeling of joyful bliss and the only thing you want is to lay down on a fur rug and breathe the fresh, cold air. I could say a normal, calm place surrounded by amazing nature but  that wouldn’t be true. There is a mysterious cave.

While wandering around the streets you get the feeling of mystery mixed with death and craziness. You can actually feel that something bad and odd happened there.

At the beginning of the 17th century when the Spanish Inquisition was having its best moments, a group of neighbors from Zugarramurdi asked them for help. As witch hunting was what they loved most, they came, and accused 53 people of practicing witchcraft. 11 of them were burned and the rest locked up in a jail for the rest of their life.  That’s a tough sentence, isn’t it. They must have done some seriously evil witchcraft. Well, they didn’t.

The beautiful cave which still can be admired today (after paying for a 4 € ticket ), is surrounded by  a little creek and green grass.

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In 17th century the neighbors of Zugarramurdi used to meet in the cave to have “natural medicine  meetings” in which they were making some natural medicines, talking about herbs and its properties. Some of them might have also prayed to the goods (of the surrounding woods asking them for health, and its goodness ). Was it something unusual? I am sure that is what all of our ancestors might have been doing 4 centuries ago. But even then, there were busybody jealous old ladies that should have kept their mouths zipped and not sniffing around.  One of them had a dream in which she saw the neighbors performing witchcraft and praying to the devil. She might have told it to her gossip friends. One word leads to another and  suddenly the pro homeopathy neighbors were believed to meet with the devil on a regular basis and performing  perverted sexual acts with him. The old lady might have also seen  in her dream who the witches were. That was kind of a helpful dream, wasn’t it?


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