By Gaerea (Bandcamp),
Portugal isn’t just one of the favorite tourism destinations in ancient Europe. It’s true, we do have some of the finest beaches, a fantastic gastronomy which morphs itself in every small village, and a welcoming weather for every cold soul traveling from the northern countries above us. Still, we hold some of most obscure gothic architecture, a musical culture which will bring you all to tears when absorbing it (Fado), and we learned the fancy ways of disliking every artist who lets their soul dictate their words in the most honest and truthful way. In the end, we are as proud of having Jose Saramago in our Portuguese ranks as we are of having him resting in his grave so he won’t continue to shake the ancient pillars of our society. Today, we bring you a handful of sinister, bleak and horrifying places which inspire us as Portuguese artists. Welcome to the Romantic and cathartic vision of our homeland, Portugal.
5. BONE CHAPEL, EVORA
“Nós ossos que aqui estamos por vós esperamos” translates to “We the bones that are here are waiting for you.” More than Five thousand skulls represent the core structure of the Bone Chapel in Evora, the city which holds the designation of Hell on Earth for the extremely harsh and warm temperatures it reaches by this time of the year. If you can imagine being unearthed right after your death and have your skull transcend into the decoration of a Church pillar, we welcome you to behold and witness a House for the Holy.
4. TEATRO LETHES, FARO
Let us stand in the center of this beautiful theatre in the South of Portugal and wait. Let us wander these majestic halls while we enjoy the unsettling sound of creaking wood and hollow footsteps of what is said to be the uncanny ghost of a girl who hanged herself during a Ballet performance in front of a packed audience. The elder claims that she still wanders these halls, she still dances on that stage and that she is still halfway into her performance. Maybe she is expecting you to witness her next spectacle.
3. SANATORIUM, VALONGO
Located in the Serra de Santa Justa and probably the closest mysterious location to our rehearsal place, Valongo’s Sanatorium was active between 1958 and 1975 and welcomed numerous tuberculosis patients, many of whom died in that horrifying way. More than 350 people were admitted at the same time despite the initial capacity of just 50 beds. After its closure, it was looted, vandalized and severely damaged by fires. Today it is abandoned and one of the most popular places among ghost hunt expeditions, drug trafficking and satanic rituals. No one can wander those endless dark hallways without hearing the endless, painful shouts of those who suffered a grotesque death.
2. RADIUM WATER SPA, SORTELHA
As with any good story, there is a myth at the Radium Water Spa. It says that a Spanish Count came to this area with his daughter, who suffered a serious illness. The Waters healed her, and the Count built a spa hotel all around it. But let us step back a little. About 30km from Covilha, Uranium Mines have been explored since 1910. It was from this element that radio was extracted, a highly radioactive substance that in the early 1920’s was believed to have miraculous powers. Long before the Chernobyl disaster and the word radioactivity causing chills all around the globe, this substance was incredibly popular. Almost everything was made with radio: cosmetics, tonics, bath salts, even chocolates. It was believed to cure a large variety of physical and mental problems, from cancer to sexual impotence. Just a few years after its official opening, Aguas de Radium was considered one of the most radioactive in the world. By this time bottled water was already commercialized. For those consuming the Radium products, Death was certain.
1. BOCA DO INFERNO, CASCAIS
In English: “Mouth of Hell” is a cliff formation located in Cascais. It owes its name to the choppy ocean waves crashing against the cliff face, seeping into the cave system, and gushing angrily from the opening above. Boca do Inferno is better known as the place where Aleister Crowley faked his death in 1930 with the help of our beloved poet Fernando Pessoa. He was able to appear suicidal. Pessoa handed the newspapers a letter of Crowley’s suicide, explaining the Thelemic symbols and explaining the distorted Portuguese police and media. Think of it as perhaps the first ever example of “fake news!” Crowley reappeared three weeks later at the opening of an exhibition of his work in a Berlin gallery, implying that the whole thing was more of an advertising gimmick than anything else. The note also shows that it was intended to irritate his lover and magic partner.