The Vampire of Barcelona
- Serial Killers
- On 10 February, 1912, a young girl named Teresita Guitart Congost was in the city of Barcelona when she met a homeless, beggar lady. This lady promised her many lollies if she went with her. She took the lady’s hand and started walking. After a while, she realised that she was walking further and further away from her home, so she started to protest and struggle. The homeless beggar lady produced a black cloth which she tied around Teresita’s head, and carried her for the rest of the distance.
When the cloth was removed, Teresita was in an apartment, and there was another little girl there. The beggar lady cut Teresita’s hair, told her she didn’t have any parents anymore, that she was to call her ‘step-mamma’, and changed her name to Felicidad. Teresita was very young, and had no idea what was going on, so did as she was told. She was also not allowed near windows or the balcony, and must stay inside all the time.
For the next few weeks the beggar lady would go out during the day and would leave Teresita in the house with the other little girl, whose name was Angelita. There were rooms they were not allowed to enter, but one day they decided they would anyway, and in that room they found a sack full of children’s clothing. The clothes were covered in blood. A big boning knife was also in the bag, covered in blood.
One day Teresita, without really thinking, went to the window and looked out. A lady from a neighbouring property, whose name was Claudia Elias, was looking back. She looked straight at Teresita. The beggar lady quickly came over to the window. The neighbour, asked the beggar lady who the little girl was, but the beggar lady did not answer. She closed the window and drew the blinds. She pinched Teresita whenever she was naughty.
A few weeks later, on 27 February, the girls were in the apartment on their own again when the beggar lady returned, and this time she had some policemen with her. The police asked her what her name was. She told them her real name, not the made up name the beggar lady had given her, and they took her home to her mother and father.
So ended the sordid career of Enriqueta Martí i Ripollés. Her mistake was kidnapping a child whose parents caused a fuss. Teresita’s photograph had been in the newspaper every day since her disappearance, and when the neighbour, Claudia Elias saw her in the window, she recognised her. She mentioned her suspicions to someone else, who went to the authorities.
An excuse was found to raid her house (a dispute over chickens no less) and that is when the police found Teresita and Angelita.
It was Angelita who had the most shocking story to tell. She told of how there was once a five year old boy named Pepito who also lived there. One night Angelita saw Enriqueta kill him on the kitchen table.
Little is known of Enriqueta’s life before moving to Barcelona, Spain in the early 1900s. It was known she was very attractive, and that she worked in several upper-class houses as a serving girl. It didn’t take her long to realise that she could make more money from her looks than as a servant, so went into prostitution.
Her time as a prostitute also showed her the darker, seedier side of human nature. Acting on the demands of her clients, and her own, baser instincts, she rented out a nice apartment and opened her own brothel in 1909. This brothel though was not the normal variety… her brothel was for the paedophiles of Barcelona, and was filled with children aged from five to fifteen. This brothel was entirely for the richest and fully depraved men of Barcelona.
She looked so innocent, and had such an authoritive air about her, that children seemed to trust her and would follow her. Apart from Teresita and Angelita, these children were not destined to live for long. Once their ‘usage’ was up, in regards to sick perverts sexual flavours, they would be killed.
Enriqueta’s brothel was even raided once. A case was opened up, but it was all mysteriously swept under the rug. It is assumed that someone with power, who frequented the brothel, managed to hush up the case.
Prostituting minors is one thing, and something which can never be forgiven, but what she did to those children once their time was up was another thing entirely! You see, Enriqueta saw herself as a bit of a witch doctor! Whilst servicing the rich men of the area by providing young, innocent flesh for their pleasure, she would also provide potions and poultices to the wives of these men. Potions entirely made up of children’s remains.
She would kill her poor little victims, and then she would crush the bones of the kids, combine the powdered bones with body fat and blood, and would sell her elixirs and facial crèmes to the privileged. And worse still, those who purchased her potions knew exactly what they were buying. Many aging nobles craved the infant remains, believing the benefit was that it slowed the aging process.
She reached a point where by day she was a beggar lady, out on the prowl in search of children, and by night she would put on her best dress and go out to the elite society balls and gatherings, mingling with the upper class.
During the investigation, it was discovered that Enriqueta had several apartments in Barcelona, all designed for different uses. One in particular was used as her execution chamber, and was littered with remains, jars of body parts, others of hair and blood and fat…. In another apartment, located in the most luxurious of suburbs, was where she kept her brothel.
During a raid of all of her premises, the police located at least ten bodies, prepared perfectly for their cosmetic purposes. They also found ancient books made of parchment which had handwritten ‘recipes’ for her potions, dictated in elegant calligraphy. There were also coded letters and notes which caused a lot of controversy as they detailed a list of names of very important figures in Barcelona at the time. It is believed they were clients of Enriqueta.
She operated her ‘business’ over the span of 20 years, so it is assumed she kidnapped a large, but indeterminate number of children in that time.
For her crimes, Enriqueta was dubbed “the Vampire of Barcelona”. She was imprisoned while the investigators gathered more and more evidence against her. If found guilty, she would have faced execution by the garrotte.
One year and three months after being arrested, her fellow inmates attacked her and beat her to death. Although dead, this did not give the families of the victims any closure, as the full extent of her horror went to the grave with her. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Cementerio del Sudoeste.
Written by Peet Banks of APPI - Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators
Put together by Ashley Hall
Photo: The ‘Vampire of Barcelona’ Enriqueta Martí i Ripollés
Inset upper: Teresita Guitart Congost, the surviving child.
Inset lower: The search for childrens remains.
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