THE LEGEND OF THE ROMEA THEATRE
Murcia is a very sunny and cheerful place but… it also has its dark and mysterious past… One of the most popular legends of this city is the curse of the Romea Theatre, that nowadays is still ALIVE… Do you dare to know more about it?
In 1842 the regional government started the arrangements for the construction of a theatre claimed by the citizens of Murcia. For that aim the church donated a sandlot in which there were only lemon trees, gardens and a cemetery. The architects Carlos Mancha and Diego Manuel Molina were the ones that presented the project for its construction on August 28th, 1857. The budget was 960 euros. It would have a capacity for 1600 people and its main entrance would face the Romea Square. It took up to five years to build such a marvelous building. The theatre opened up under the name of “Teatro de los Infantes” in October 1862 and Elisabeth II was invited to the opening act.
After the death of a distinguished actor from Murcia, Julián Romea, the City Hall changed the name of the building to Julian Romea Theater in his honour.
In 1877, at night, during the performance of the Corominas Company with the play “Como empieza y como acaba”, there was a great fire which destroyed the main room and a great part of the departments of the building. After a few years, the theatre was reopened to the public.The work of reconstruction was able to rejuvenate and improve the facilities. Then, on December of 1880 the Romea Theatre was reopened.
On December 10th 1899, at quarter to six in the evening, a new fire broke out at Romea’s Theatre. Apparently, the reason of this burning was related to electricity. That night, the show that was supposed to be displayed at the theatre was, ironically, “Jugar con Fuego” (Playing with fire). The flames devoured the whole building, only the exterior walls stayed in place, and everyone was sorry about the death of a seventeen-year- old young man, Antonio Garrido who got blinded by the smoke and fell down without being able to escape from the flames.
Again in 1985 the theatre was closed, but –this time– it wasn’t because of a fire. In this occasion, the purpose was to restore the old theatre after 85 years. They adapted and recovered lost spaces, the machinery was updated too, new lighting and heating systems were installed. Nowadays, many people from Murcia who walk by the entrance of the building on a daily basis do not remember it, but those friars, who were in possession of the areas where the theatre is located today, gave there eternal rest to the members of their community. And they took the expropriation of the area as a serious offense.
The black history tells that they promulgated a curse of three fires on anything that was going to be built there. Up to this date, two fires have deprived the people from Murcia of this theatrical referent called Romea. According to the legend, the third fire will take place with the whole public’s appraisal to the full capacity of the theatre and it’s effects will be devastating. To make sure this never happens, and since the second one of the fires happened, there are always one or two seats available that cannot be sold.
THE LEGEND OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF SAINT EULALIA
Would you like to know what we have discovered about one of the most disturbing corners of our city? It is a story of ghosts, exorcisms, love and betrayal that not many people know. What else can we ask for in a scary story?
The story takes place in an ancient palace of the center of Murcia from the 17th century that nowadays is a residence hall.
The legend tells that a very beautiful young woman who was living in the palace was engaged with the son of a rich family from the region by convenience of her family. Resigning herself to her situation, the destiny wanted to cross paths with a smart foreigner with whom she fell in love passionately.
The family after discovering the relationship that the young woman lady had with him when she was already engaged, they cursed her for the whole eternity. The family of the young woman locked her at the top of the tower to prevent her from supporting her prohibited romance. The lady remained locked up, lamenting and shouting day and night to be liberated, until she died of sorrow and loneliness.
Time passed and the neighbors started hearing to ripples and laments that were coming from one of the windows from the tower of the mansion. Night after night these ripples were increasing until turning into horrifying screams and mysterious sparkles that were frightening the neighbours and were preventing them from resting.
Little by little the rumors were growing and were more the neighbors who were confessing not to be able to sleep for the ghostly shouts, the radiance and a shade that was moving every night by the window. Whereas some of them wanted to think that it was some street animal, they all were feeling that it was the young lady asking for help.
Noticing the worry of the neighbours, finally the authorities asked the priest of the neighbourhood to do an exorcism. Nobody was daring to walk close to the tower, the parson was the only one who did it and the moment he said “amen” the laments stopped and a white dove flew away from the window … the soul of the young woman had been liberated.
From that day, the shouts and the lights stopped and the neighborhood of Holy Eulalia recovered the peace they had before the incident.
We will not know if the story of the young lady enclosed in the tower is true or not, but what we know is that years later a renovation was done in the house and it was discovered that a part of the tower (precisely where it is said that the young woman was enclosed) is only accessible from the roof. So it is possible that the lady was enclosed there and that she couldn’t go out.
Truth or fiction, myth or legend, the truth is that these stories are always very intriguing and they always give us goosebumps.