My name is María Bosch. I received 200 whippings and was exiled from Valencia for being a fetillera – a hechicera, or witch.
Or at least that’s who I was for 2 hours last Saturday evening on the Camins màgics i sobrenaturals. A new take on the typical walking tour, CaminArt offers various camins aimed at those with an interest in the macabre history of Valencia. Comprised of a small team of historians, archaeologists and tour guides, CaminArt offers a whole host of alternative walks including Ruta por la cara oculta de la Ciutat Vella (the dark side of the old town) and Camins negres (black walk) as well as the less spooky street art tour and Modern Architecture tour.
Despite the Camins negres initially catching our eye, we quickly learned that the walks sell out fast and so had to opt for the Camins màgics i sobrenaturals -focusing on witch hunts and supernatural activity in Valencia-, and we were not disappointed…
The 28-strong group met at 7 o’clock in Plaza de la Compañía -a small square nestled behind La Lonja- where we were each given a character. We were forewarned that we’d be called out to the front of the group when the tour guide spoke about us, and we were assured that all of the people mentioned in the stories really existed and that all stories were researched and true to life.
Throughout the tour we delve into the lives of the many characters of the group, including various metzines (envenenadoras, or poisoners), witches, people possessed, devil worshippers and the local hangman, el morro de vaques – the stories of which span from medieval times to the 20th century. María Bosch, as it turns out, was one of the heads of a coven of witches that met and practiced spells in the aptly named Calle de las Brujas (Street of the Witches). The legend goes that this small street was once a hub of supernatural activity that scared so many people that it was blocked off during the hours of darkness so as to avoid any mishaps – and remained this way until 1862. Nowadays the road -which has since changed name- looks just like any other charming street in La Seu…
The second half of the tour focuses more on ghostly happenings in and around Valencia, including apparitions of half-man-half-cat spectres and whole buildings with gruesome histories. And keep a look out for any eerie green smoke coming from the bottom windows of the Palau de la Generalitat on Calle Caballeros – those windows belong to rooms that were once used as torture chambers and the ghostly smoke has been spotted and recorded on various occasions.
The tour ends on a high point at 9 o’clock in Plaza Tossal with a tale about a poltergeist terrorising a family for months on end. We just hope that the people who live there now are aware of the spooky history of their quaint, city centre home. Or would you prefer not to know?
If you’re looking for something a bit different to do in Valencia, we recommend a CaminArt walk for just €10. Tours are available in Spanish, Valencian and Italian, with English, Portuguese and French also an option if you contact the team via their Facebook page.
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