In 1934 the police force in Zaragoza, Spain, was called in by a deeply concerned family. It seemed an uninvited guest had been bothering them for several weeks. Greeted at the front door by Mrs. Palazón, who was by now already going out of her mind, the chief policeman wasted no time. He began questioning the suspect right away:Who are you? Why are you doing this?Do you want money?He got one simple“No”from the other party in return. He asked:Are you looking for a job?Yet, the answer once again was a cool“No”. Annoyed now and with his patience running thin, the policeman threw his last question:Well then what is it that you want, man?The answer to this question was what actually made this case so interesting, almost 85 years after it happened. “Nothing, I am not a man”, came a reply from what seemed to be an ordinary chimney. Yes, the policemen were talking to a chimney, one that had a special connection to the stove. Only it wasn’t so ordinary, because it was talking back. It was a rude, ill-mannered and insolent chimney that at one point even threatened to “kill everyone in the room“. It was one day in September when the Palazón’s first heard maniacal male laughter that was emanating from behind the walls in the kitchen of their duplex apartment on what was then Gascón Gotor Street. At first, they assumed that the neighbors were making the ruckus. There were screams, shrieks, and all kinds of different unidentified noises along with the laughter that would come and go out of nowhere, and got louder when the family opened their stove. But then, on the evening of September 27th, the maid, Pascuala Alcocer, was in the kitchen finishing up with the dishes when she heard the voice calling her name followed by a burst of prolonged sinister laughter. Scared to death, she woke up her mistress to tell her what had happened. For the next couple of days, the voice would appear randomly, sometimes as early as 5 A.M., often times calling out to the maid as if it had some strange fixation with her. Occasionally it would just tease people when they approached the kitchen. It was like it was an all-seeing entity, fully aware of what went on in the house or at least in front of his home, the stove. The Palazón’s were almost certain that an invisible Duende, a goblin-like supernatural being from Spanish and Latin American folklore, was for some reason living inside their stove and talking through the chimney. They told their neighbors and asked for help, at least to ease their minds that they weren’t going crazy. Intrigued, they came over and, what do you know, the voice would great them with a “Hello“. Without options of what to do next, the troubled family called the police. Baffled, but believing it was an elaborate hoax, the police arranged for the Palazóns to be relocated to another residence while the apartment was thoroughly investigated. From the moment that people living next door heard about the family moving out, mass hysteria spread through the community. It became a nationwide sensation. Hundreds flocked the street from every corner of the city to see, or maybe talk with, the haunted stove. Even the London Times began to cover the story. And a radio station from Barcelona was tempted enough to try and set up a microphone for a live radio broadcast with the stove’s chimney as a talk show guest. In an article, titled “A Polite Spanish Ghost,” released on November the 24th, 1934, the Times reported that at first a team of architects and construction workers were sent in to inspect the whole building but could not find anyone anywhere. Reportedly, when the architect suggested his men measure the chimney opening, the voice simply said, “You need no trouble, the diameter is 6 inches.” He was right. A police patrol was then assigned to guard the perimeter day and night and not let anyone or anything slip through. From the very next morning, the voice was nowhere to be heard. Nothing was found. Priests were called in to sprinkle the chimney with holy water and the Palazóns were brought back. “Cowards, cowards, here I am,” was how they were greeted the very next morning after moving in again. “I will kill everyone inside,” said the voice returned, and the family swiftly left the apartment once more. Only this time, they left it for good. The Governor of Zaragoza, upon hearing that the voice had returned, ordered the police chief to bring the whole family in for questioning and psychiatric evaluation. After many, many hours of deduction and scientific reasoning the psychiatrist decided who was the blame. On December the 4th, the governor released a statement that the family maid, Alcocer, was the responsible party. She was, he alleged, suffering from highly unusual and bizarre condition called “unconscious ventriloquism,” apparently throwing her voice unknowingly. Even though she was nowhere near the apartment for most of the time after their first few encounters and people swore they heard the voice when she was not around, the blame was firmly placed on Pascuala Alcocer. The family she worked for left town, never to be seen there again, and the voice was last heard that December the 4th. Pascuala left as well, to escape the accusations of being evil or a fraud. Even though she was almost certainly innocent, she lived out her days in her hometown and disappeared into obscurity. The apartment block was torn down 40 years later, and the new building on the site is named “Edificio Duende,” the “Goblin Building.” SUBSCRI-I-I-I-IBE!