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Tenerife ghostly hauntings and the mysterious Canary Islands island of San Borondon

Updated on June 22, 2013

Ghosts and haunted places in Tenerife

You don't hear much about ghosts or haunted houses in Tenerife. There are no reports in the news of spirits of the dead being seen by fearful residents, and no stories about poltergeist activity either here in the Canary Islands.

Despite Tenerife's many historic buildings such as old colonial mansion houses, many churches and chapels and even a castle or two, there are no "Ghost Tours" like you get in the UK. But start asking around and digging deeper, and yes, there are ghosts and haunted places on the island of Tenerife just like elsewhere in the world.

Haunted houses and spooky places in Tenerife

It seems that Tenerife,unlike the UK, is not proud of its haunted houses and doesn't seek to promote historic buildings with ghost tours or circulating publicity about spectres that have been seen in them. However, there is plenty of evidence of paranormal activity if you dig deeper and do a spot of research.

The Lercaro House in La Laguna, which has become the Museum of the History of Tenerife, apparently has a ghost. The Spanish El Diá newspaper carried a story on this back in November, 2003, in which it explained that employees of the museum preferred to remain anonymous when talking about the matter because they feared they might lose their jobs. The local council doesn't want the building associated with a ghost it seems.

What was once the wealthy Lercaro family home in San Augustine Street, which dates back to the late 16th century, was where a woman named Catherine, or Catalina in Spanish, lived, and she is said to be the daughter of Antonio Lercaro.

She was forced to marry an old man, but on the day of the wedding, she decided to take her life rather than go through with this and threw herself into a well at the back of the mansion.

The story goes that her remains were actually hidden in one of the rooms in the house and the well was boarded up after that. The Church would not allow Catherine's body to be buried in a cemetery because she had committed suicide. After this the Lercaro family moved away to La Orotava.

The ghost of a young woman has been reportedly seen in the building and ghostly footsteps heard. Of course, it is thought that Catherine's troubled spirit still haunts the house.

There are rumours of ghostly goings-on in several other locations too including along the old main road from the south of Tenerife to Santa Cruz, and in the Adeje area. Many people were killed back in the days of slavery on the island and mass graves are said to exist on some of the banana plantations. It is thought some of these people who lost their lives have returned as ghosts.

The historic former seaport of Garachico is a town with very many old buildings including mansion houses and churches and I have heard that there are ghosts there too.


In the mountain village of Vilaflor, the very old Canary Pine tree that is known as El Pino Gordo, and is the biggest example of such a tree on the island, is said to be a location where paranormal activity has taken place.

Vilaflor has a legend which explains how it got its name. When the Guanche people lived on Tenerife before the Spanish Conquest, what is now known as Vilaflor was then called Chasna.

According to folklore, a Spanish captain by name of Captain Pedro de Bracamonte had fallen in love with a Guanche maiden whom he had imprisoned because he was scared of losing her. The young woman escaped and the heartbreak the captain suffered was so grievous that he died.

His last words are said to be"Vi la flor de Chasna" (I saw the flower of Chasna).

Barranco de Badajoz

Barranco de Badajoz. Photo by Steve Andrews
Barranco de Badajoz. Photo by Steve Andrews

Barranco de Badajoz

Near the southern town of Gúímar, best-known for its famous pyramids, is a ravine known as the Barranco de Badajoz or the Barranco de Chamoco. It is said to be one of the locations on Tenerife where paranormal activity is most-likely to be encountered.

Not just ghostly figures and UFOs have been seen there but some people even claim it is a portal to another time or dimension.

There is also the mystery of a young girl, known as the "Girl with the Pears." The story goes that at some time between 1890 and 1910, the parents of a girl sent their daughter to look for fruit from the trees in the ravine. However, she never returned, and in spite of lengthy searches was never found. The little girl appeared again decades afterwards, mysteriously looking the same age as when she had disappeared and thinking she hadn't been away for very long at all. It was as if she had entered some other dimension and that time for her had stood still.

Some say that the Guanches still haunt some of the many caves with which Tenerife is riddled. Many Guanches were killed by the Spanish soldiers and many Guanche men committed suicide rather than submit to the invaders of their homeland. Are there Guanche spirits that have returned and still wander where they used to live?

El Barranco de Badajoz - Cuarto Milenio - Iker Jimenez (2_3).mp4

Map of West Africa

Old map of West Africa showing the Canary Islands and where San Borondon is said to be
Old map of West Africa showing the Canary Islands and where San Borondon is said to be

San Borondon the Ghost Island of Tenerife

The most famous Tenerife ghost is an island though, not a person. San Borondon is the Spanish name for the Irish monk Saint Brendan or Saint Brandan of Clonfert (480-576 d.C.), and it is believed that an island named after him exists as the eighth Canary Island.

This mysterious island, also known as the "Ghost Island", is invisible most of the time but there have been reports throughout history from people who claim to have witnessed it. It is far more likely that they have seen La Gomera or La Palma, which on a clear day are easily visible but on a cloudy one are hidden from sight as you look out across the sea.

Nevertheless, San Borondon has a mysterious and romantic quality to its name, don't you think?

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.


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