The cemetery never found

Next to a rubbish bin I'm going to find a very old Gladiator suitcase and I'm going to take it home, to see if it was full of banknotes. Inside there were only_some pieces of paper.

My attention was drawn to a map of the neighbourhood from 1791 which had a mark at the beginning of Calle del Cementerio, at the back of the Church of San Miguel. The mark was in the shape of a skull.

This street was called Calle Alegria all its life, except for a few years when it was called Andrés Doria in honour of a Genoese admiral, because in this neighbourhood nobody had a penny but it was full of admirals. I ended up going to visit María Jesús Vidal, from the group of historians in the neighbourhood. She told me that “In 1840 the name of Calle Cementerio was still in force. In a map of 1859 you can see the ground plan of the church but it was already called Calle Alegria”.

I asked her if there had been a cemetery there. She shrugged her shoulders ” There is a plan that places the street of the cemetery in a quite initial phase of the project of the district, with very few streets built, although it does not indicate the supposed cemetery. When the Forn Baluard, which is next door, was being built, someone spread the rumour that tombstones had been found. But only this: rumours”.

Many years ago, I had worked some nights in the underground where the oven of the Baluard street was, when it belonged to the Alcorque family. In the square of the street behind the church where the cemetery could have been, there is currently nothing to be found. The price per square metre is here is also something strange. The wooden figure of Negre de la Riba hangs from one of the walls here, the dark patron saint of the neighbourhood. So, one night I decided to go there.

After a lot of digging, I noticed a small old manhole cover. I lift it up and found some rusty stairs going down. I went down a couple of metres from the surface and there was a closed metal door built into the wall. As it was very stuck, I gave it a couple of punches to see if it would give way and I froze : on the other side it rang a couple of times. I quickly ran back upstairs. I put the lid back in place, ran home, locked the door with two turns and didn’t go out for two days.

For weeks I avoided passing the corner of Baluard street and Alegria street. Little by little I calmed down. There had to be some explanation for those knocks. Maybe it was the sound of the new kiln next door. Or was it the echo of my own knocking. I prepared a toolbox and a torch, and one night I went there to solve the mystery once and for all . But when I got there, I saw a sign saying “Do not step on, fresh cement”. They had just tiled the box behind the church and the manhole cover had been buried underneath. I went home relieved. It was better this way. Certain doors, should remain closed.

You may also be interested in

More articles