We’ve all had to go to war with a stubborn stain, but what if the indelible mark on your floor looked eerily like a human face?
And what if the most popular explanation for it was paranormal?
These are the questions faced by one family, who have been battling to remove – and solve the mystery of – a series of bizarre, humanoid-looking faces on their kitchen floor since the 1970s.
Every time they have managed to remove the mark, it comes back, looking slightly different and, often, with more for company.
The ‘Bélmez Faces’ have been appearing in the concrete floor of the Pereira family home in Bélmez, Andalusia, Spain, since 1971.
Unsurprisingly they have been the focus of a lot of media interest, with newspapers and TV channels reporting on them.
Do you believe the faces were real or a hoax? Tell us in the comments below!
It’s really put the small city of Bélmez on the map and turned it into a must-visit tourist destination – prompting some sceptics to accuse the Pereira family of faking the phenomenon in a money-making hoax.
However, many others are adamant the faces are unexplainable, and not created by humans.
Some paranormal investigators have argued the apparitions represent a ‘thoughtographic phenomenon’. In other words, they are subconsciously produced, or conjured, by the now-deceased owner of the house, a psychic called María Gómez Cámara.
The story goes that one day Maria noticed a face in the floor so she called her husband, Juan Pereira, and their son Miguel, to smash it up with a pick axe and lay new concrete.
As the new surface dried, a new ghastly face appeared, staring back at them.
The local mayor got wind of it and forbade any further destruction of the faces, ordering that they should be preserved for research.
By Easter 1972 it was believed that hundreds of people had visited La Casa de las Caras (The House of the Faces).
This continued for another 30 years, with the family claiming the image changed between male and female, became different shapes, sizes and displayed expressions. One face became several, with many more appearing.
The faces appeared in the wall too.
A 17th century murder and proximity to an ancient cemetery were touted as possible explanations.
Some investigators grew certain that they were connected to Maria. They claimed the faces changed expression and colour depending on her mood.
Others, though, remained convinced it was all a big hoax.
Research into the concrete and its patterns was ongoing until Maria died aged 85 in 2004, and for a decade afterwards, too.
Interestingly, the faces continued to appear after her death.
In 2014, Spanish investigative journalism show Cuarto Milenio performed a technical analysis on the faces.
They concluded that the images “weren’t made with paint” and “according to scientific knowledge and techniques employed in the analysis, there is no external manipulation or elements” in the faces.
They also tried to unsuccessfully recreate them using concrete solvents, hydrochloric acid and silver nitrate. They were left “in absolute bewilderment”.
While some investigators also claimed there was no scientific explanation for the unnerving faces, others argued that the faces were the handiwork of Diego and that the family had pulled off a successful and lucrative hoax.
The case of the Bélmez Faces remains a spine-tingling mystery.