Mental Floss

Zaragoza, Spain became the center of controversy in 1934 when a family reported to authorities about an unwelcome house guest who’d been bothering them for weeks. The uninvited tenant lived right inside the stove. The homeowner, Mrs. Parzon, was mentally tormented by the incident.

Police authorities answering the emergency call were also baffled when they witnessed the gas stove talking by itself and answering their questions. The mysterious and interesting case caught the attention of local and international media. It became sensational to the point that a radio station set up a microphone and broadcast the talking stove live on a radio talk show.

The talking stove that drove the homeowners away

During the course of the mysterious incident, authorities wanted to get to the bottom of the whole mystery. They decided to have the building evacuated. The electrical and telecommunication supplies were cut off, and policemen guarded the building day and night.

During the course of the investigation, the mysterious voice did not reappear and the investigation yielded nothing. Priests were asked to exorcise the whole place to remove the so-called “duende” (a small and mischievous creature from the Spanish folklore) thought to be living inside the gas stove.

The mysterious voice suddenly reappears

Believing that the “evil spirit” had vacated the building, police allowed the Parson family to return to their home. But just after they moved back in, the voice reappeared with a greeting that said, “I will kill everyone inside.” The whole family quickly packed their bags and never returned again. They were brought in for questioning and psychiatric evaluation by the Zaragoza Police Department.

One possible explanation: The police investigation came up with is the possibility of the family maid suffering from “unconscious ventriloquism.” Since she was the first one to discover the mysterious event, she might have unknowingly been throwing her voice towards the innocent gas stove.

A confirmed explanation has yet to be reached to this day. No one claimed responsibility for the elaborate hoax. The apartment building was demolished some 40 years ago and replaced with a new one named, Edificio Duende — the “Goblin Building.”