For centuries, people have been searching for unexplained events and phenomena to help piece together the mysteries of the universe. From crop circles to alien encounters to mysterious disappearances, the number of unexplained occurrences is seemingly endless. One of the most intriguing of these unexplained mysteries is the Bélmez Faces, a phenomenon that has perplexed researchers and locals alike since 1971.
In Bélmez, reports of mysterious facial apparitions date back to August 23, 1971, when María Gómez Cámara claimed that a human face mysteriously materialized on her kitchen floor made of concrete.
Maria’s husband, Juan Pereira, had originally installed the concrete floor in the early 1960s. Juan and their son, Miguel, tried to remove the image by breaking it apart with a pickaxe and replacing the concrete. However, to their surprise, a new face appeared on the same spot.
The faces were all distinct and varied in size, shape, and color. At first, the faces resembled those of a human beings, but as time passed, some of them started to look like animals and even abstract shapes.
The mayor was notified and forbade the destruction of the new face. Instead, the floor concrete was carefully removed for examination.
As a result of the unusual events, María’s home became a popular tourist destination known as “The House of the Faces.” By Easter of 1972, the Pereira family reported that hundreds of people were visiting the house to see the faces for themselves.
The locals of Bélmez de la Moraleda and researchers alike began to believe that the faces were of supernatural origin. Many theories have been proposed as to why they appeared and what they meant. Some believe that the faces were created by the spirit of a deceased individual, while others believe that they are a sign of a curse placed on the house. Others have suggested that the faces were created by a powerful psychic force or a divine being.
Over the next three decades, the family claimed that faces of various shapes, sizes, expressions, and gender continued to emerge on the floor.
In 1993 author Luis Ruiz-Noguez suspected that lead and chromium were used in the creation of the Bélmez face because they were commonly used for painting.
The analysis did not rule out the possibility of paint being used. However, several people objected to the theory because painting does not resist wear and tear and the chemicals of enamel have a low tolerance to acids, alkalis, and detergents.
Manuel Martín Serrano, a sociologist interviewed numerous residents of Bélmez, but he believed the Belmez faces was a financial hoax.
José Luis Jordán, despite being the president of the Spanish Society of Parapsychology, was highly skeptical of the claims surrounding the Bélmez faces.
In 1971, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior tasked Jordán with leading a commission to conduct a comprehensive study of the strange occurrences in Bélmez and present a report to the authorities. The commission consisted of technicians specializing in concrete chemistry. In his report, Jordán considered various possibilities of fraud, including different chemical materials.
Jordán believed that the faces were made with chemicals that could be obtained from any drugstore.
Ramos Perera, who was also a member of the society and the President of the Spanish Society of Parapsychology, also maintained the hypothesis of forgery. He stated that after conducting infrared photography on La Pava, pigmentation and even paintbrush bristles could be seen.
In addition to the analysis, there have been other chemical examinations conducted on the Bélmez faces by J.J. Alonso, a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council.
Although the results do not provide a clear explanation of the origin of the images, they did confirm the presence of aluminum. However, in his report, Alonso does not specify the percentage of aluminum or provide information about its structural properties.
The investigation of the Bélmez faces was led by Hans Bender and Germán de Argumosa in the early 1970s. Despite their collaboration, neither Bender nor de Argumosa released an official report on the alleged phenomena. Bender did, however, refer to the faces as having paranormal origin.
The Bélmez faces were studied scientifically by the Instituto de Cerámica y Vidrio. Two samples underwent tests such as granulometric, mineralogical, and chemical analysis. According to the institute, no evidence of paint was found.
Luis Ruiz-Noguez believes that the visual appearance of the Bélmez faces could have been caused by an oxidizing chemical agent, such as acid. According to Ramos Perera pigment or resin must have been used.
Investigator Joe Nickell also claimed that the Bélmez faces were deliberately faked and poorly designed, while Brian Dunning wrote that the faces were painted with paint or acid and the woman living in the house must have perpetrated a hoax for financial gain.
In 2014, the investigative journalism TV show Cuarto Milenio hosted by Iker Jiménez conducted a technical analysis to uncover the truth behind the Bélmez faces. The analysis was led by José Javier Gracenea, a chemical engineer, and Luis Alamancos, a forensic criminalist. After obtaining samples from the faces with the homeowner’s consent, Gracenea conducted an analysis and concluded that the images were not made with paint and that there was no external manipulation in the faces. Alamancos then attempted to replicate the faces using various methods considered valid in previous investigations but he declared a failure in his replication.
The faces of Bélmez de la Moraleda remain an unsolved mystery, but the fascination and intrigue surrounding them will likely continue for many years to come. Despite the lack of answers, the Bélmez Faces remain one of the most mysterious and fascinating anomalies of the modern world. From their supernatural appearance to the theories surrounding them, the Bélmez Faces are an enigma that continues to captivate and perplex people from all walks of life.