It would stand to reason that there are hundreds of legends throughout Bogota of ghostly happenings and chilling hauntings; the country has been through many years of wars and violence – exactly the sort of thing that tends to inspire ghost stories and sightings. In fact, there are so many local legends of ghosts and spirits that it would take a long time to list them all (and many of them, to be fair, are from very obscure parts of Colombia that you’re unlikely to visit!) – so, instead of trying that, we’re going to examine the many creepy, spooky goings on that are said to take place in Bogota, the nation’s capital. All of these ghosts we talk about in this post are said to haunt La Candelaria, Bogota’s Old Town; making it super easy to create your own DIY Bogota ghost walking tour to make this Halloween extra exciting (and terrifying!) So here are Bogota’s 10 most haunted places (in no particular order of spookiness) so you can create your own Bogota ghost tour…
1) Chorro de Quevedo
This charming little plaza in La Candelaria, said to be where Bogota (as we know it now anyway) was founded, is not as charming as it looks…by the dead of night anyway! Following the Battle Of Boyaca, one of the key conflicts in Bolivar’s liberation of Colombia, a Spanish marshall named Jesus Torrado stole goods from armed patriots, who proceeded to kill him for the theft. Supposedly his ghost still roams the street of the Old Town, mainly focusing on Chorro de Quevedo, where he reportedly died. And I though the plaza was all clowns and jugglers!
2) The Ermita de San Miguel del Príncipe
You don’t even have to walk far (or any distance at all really!) for #2 on the list of Bogota’s most haunted: this little church (which we can also call charming) is on the corner of Chorro de Quevedo. How (ghoulishly) convenient, eh?! According to legend (and there are a few different versions), Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada (founded of Bogota) has a fair few bastard sons…apparently one of these sons, an especially belligerent one, fought a duel with his uncle over the family fortune…and lost, on the site of this church! Other versions of the story say that a Spanish soldier challenged another to a duel here before succumbing to heartbreak and ending his life before the duel could be fought. What is certain (perhaps) is that many people claim to have seen the ghost of a main clad in armour, holding a sword, wander from the church and patrol the square, before sadly returning. Not the most terrifying of spirits, this one!
3) Headquarters of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History
What a convenient place for a ghost to live, right?! I mean, ghosts are totally historical and stuff…so I’m reliably informed by the ‘History’ Channel (pfft, yeah right!). Anyway, this building apparently used to be the home of a couple who were deeply in love. They used to sit together for coffee on the balcony. Sweet! But hold on…it gets less sweet! When the wife died the husband couldn’t bring himself to part with her…so he embalmed her body (maybe just a nice eulogy next time?) so he could keep enjoying coffee time. From the street you can reportedly still see their shadows on the balcony – his presumably more active than hers!
4) The José Caicedo Rojas House
You though this was going to be haunted by the ghost of José Caicedo Rojas, didn’t you?! Admit it! Well, it’s not…it’s actually purported to be the home of a goblin named Baltazar, giving rise to it’s other name: The Goblin’s Mansion. That might have been a better clue… Anyway, I digress: Baltazar is said to be the spirit of an illegitimate child, born to a single mother, who drowned the child in the well (which still exists in the courtyard of the house) to avoid being burnt at the stake. Others say he was a dwarf, brought from Spain, the illegitimate son of an infanta, who was condemned to live his whole live hidden in the house. Apparently the goblin spirit is playful with children, kind to women, and scares away all men (you’d think, based on the story, that he’d be a touch mad at the women too…).
5) The José Raimundo Russi House
Another trick name: this one isn’t haunted by it’s namesake either! Mwhahaha: I feel eviler than the ghosts! Anyway, in 1851, Snr. Raimundo Russi was executed for the murder of one Maunelito Ferro; which was committed in front of this house. Neighbours claim to have heard the sounds of Ferro’s screams and stabbing noises in front of the house where the murder took place. Russi’s ghost is also said to wander Plaza Bolivar where he was executed (that’s an extra ghost tip! Bonus ghost!).
6) The Casa Sámano Museum
This one has the right name, promise! Formerly the home of one of Colombia’s most reviled historical figures, Viceroy of New Granada, Juan Samano, this current museum still supposedly houses his mean and vengeful spirit. Apparently in real life (not even ghost-life!) he used to be a horrible person; spitting on those he wasn’t fond of and kicking them too! Security guards claim to have heard kicking noises, steps, and doors slamming, whilst people have alleged that they’ve been spat on by a shadowy figure on the balcony…ghost spit! Everyone knows that’s the hardest to wash off! Pure evil…
Here’s a totally scary lady ghost, caught on camera in Bogota…
7) Calle del Sol
This one is a bit less lighthearted than some of the previous ones…In 1945, this former religious lodge building became the headquarters for the Colombian Intelligence Services (sort of like the Colombian FBI), later the DAS, who did some pretty nasty stuff here during the worst years of La Violencia in the late ’40s and 1950s. Nasty stuff like horribly torturing prisoners…It’s an apartment building now and residents (those who haven’t been freaked out enough to move, that is) have reported hearing a variety of nasty noises: screams, moans, cracks and whipping sounds for instance; apparently made by the souls of those who were tortured there. Told you it was dark!
8) The Silva House of Poetry
The Casa de la Poesia is now a museum to Colombia’s most iconic poet, Jose Asuncion Silva (he of the excellent beard on the 5.000 peso bill). It was also where the young artist once lived. It was also, sadly, where he ended his own life in 1896, shooting himself through the heart. Visitors to the museum have reported feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness upon entering (it sounds like a fairly sad vibe anyway, to be fair!), as well as well as whispers and moans at dusk and dawn (slightly harder to explain than just feeling a bit blue in a dead poet’s house).
9) Calle de la Cara del Perro
I’d always wondered why this street in La Candelaria was named “Dog Face Street.” Turns out it’s not for the whimsical reason I’d hoped…but a ghostly one instead! It’s not much more complicated than a headless black dog that roams the streets at night, scaring the bejesus out of anyone it runs into (I would image bumps into, not having a face and all…)…but that’s scary enough, right?! I’ve done more research, but can’t seem to find a reason why this dog is here…perhaps it bit another dog here in 1875 and is forever condemned to look for its enemy dog…or perhaps not!
10) Calle de la Peña
There’s an old manor house in this street (although no-one is saying which one strangely enough!) which is haunted by a ghost who, quite frankly, sounds like the meanest one of the lot! Apparently it lives on the patio (so not a house-trained ghost) and, if you’re unlucky enough to see it, you will be forever cursed! No-one is sure why, but apparently the original owner of the house hung himself after hanging out with the ghost one too many times! He allegedly revealed the ghost’s secret to his wife in a note found after his death…but she refused to reveal it, as it was too horrible! Simon Bolivar apparently saw it once (and we all know how it ended up for him!). Although, Bolivar himself is supposed to haunt his old house, the Quinta de Bolivar, nearby…ghosts haunting ghosts haunting ghosts…this thing has too many layers!
So there we have it: the most haunted places in La Candelaria for all your ghost hunting needs! Just do me a favour, if you meet any in person, don’t tell them that I told you!