8 May 2009
Haunted mansion up for auction
• 07 May 2009 •
Malaga Judge orders that the infamous Cortijo Jurado must be sold to pay the present owners’ creditors
BY ALFREDO BLOY
THE owners of the infamous ‘Cortijo Jurado’, the massive 19th Century mansion that lies in ruins just off the A-357 near Campanillas Village, may well think its curse is more than a popular local ghost story. A judge has ordered the troubled property group, Mirador, to sell it by public auction, on May 11, at the behest of one of the group’s principal creditors, Promociones Pantie. The 45,206 square metres of land that makes up the Cortijo estate is estimated to be worth almost 1.4 million euros.
In 2002, Malaga Council approved a proposal submitted by the Mirador group to build a four-star hotel complex in the grounds of the Cortijo Jurado and to renovate the original building to provide a cultural edifice, open to the public.
In December, 2004, the construction licence was issued and a high-profile event was arranged, during which Malaga’s Mayor, Francisco de la Torre, laid the symbolic foundation stone to inaugurate the commencement of the project. Four years later, not a single brick has been laid.
Since then, the Mirador group has faced a number of lawsuits from clients to whom they sold properties which were never built. The courts froze the lands of the Cortijo to protect debts of over five million euros, most of which is owed to Promociones Pantie, from whom Mirador secured the mortgage for this property. Malaga Council is also owed 365,000 euros by the Mirador group.
Malaga Council then contentiously extended the building licence for the original project when it expired in December 2008. In February, opposition councillor, Antonio Serrano, of the ‘United Left’, lodged an official complaint accusing the town hall of bribery and abuse of power in relation to their dealings with the Mirador group. One of the main issues raised by Serrano was the fact that the town hall had waived the obligatory ten per cent fee for the building licence, which in this case was 900,000 euros. The town hall defended its position by claiming that the regulations had not come into force at the time the agreement was signed.
THE mansion lies on the outskirts of Campanillas and was built in the 19th century by the influential Heredia family from Malaga, one of Andalucia’s wealthiest families at the time. The building boasts 365 windows, one for each day of the year and was constructed as part of a plan to convert the farm into a grand agricultural enterprise. In 1925, the property passed to its new owners, the Jurado family. It is known in Malaga as ‘the haunted mansion’, not only for its ghostly appearance, but due to numerous reports of mysterious voices and strange sounds that have been reportedly heard there without explanation. It is among the best known ‘haunted’ buildings in Spain and is considered a sort of temple by followers of paranormal phenomena.
Legend has it that the Heredia family, together with other rich families in the area, kidnapped young girls, aged between 18 and 21, and subjected them to sinister satanic rituals, involving rape and murder. The bodies of their victims are said to be buried deep within the property. Whilst it is true that many young girls did disappear during this period, nothing was ever proven to connect their disappearance to the Heredia family. Many say they used their money and influence to evade justice. Whatever the truth of the matter, paranormal enthusiasts maintain that the pain and suffering that took place within those grim walls has led to inexplicable ghostly phenomena.