The Terrifying True Story That Inspired ‘Veronica’ Is Even Scarier Than The Movie

November 8, 2022 People's Tonight 17853 views

Jacob Shelton

Veronica, a 2017 Spanish film about a girl who uses an Ouija board and becomes possessed, captured the attention of horror fans everywhere. Veronica is one of the few horror movies based on true stories that’s actually based on true events. The basis of the film is the Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro mystery. In 1990, Estefanía was a regular teenage girl living in a suburb of Madrid. She performed a séance and allegedly became possessed by a demon who tormented her for months.

What happened to Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro is a matter of much speculation. Her family and the local police definitely believe this teenage girl’s passing is one of the few Ouija board horror stories where someone actually managed to conjure something from the other side. Read on to find out about the true events that inspired the movie that horror fans are calling one of the scariest movies on Netflix.


• Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro’s Occult Interests Turned Deadly

Estefania1Photo: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

The teen who inspired the events of the 2017 horror film Veronica was actually 15-year-old Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro from Vallecas, a suburb in southern Madrid. Estefanía was allegedly into the occult, although according to her parents, no more than any regular high school teenager. They believed she was just playing around with spooky stuff and didn’t think something like an Ouija board could cause the damage it later seemed to.

In 1990, Estefanía brought an Ouija board to school, changing the course of her life forever.

• • A Nun Tried To Stop The Girl’s Séance

NunPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

Estefanía’s parents claim the séance occurred at their daughter’s high school. She allegedly wanted to reach her friend’s ex-boyfriend, who had passed away after being involved in a motorcycle accident. Friends watched the process, but then a nun stopped the séance. The nun damaged the board, which some speculate caused a paranormal disruption.

The nun was too late, however, to stop the possession that allegedly occurred right after.

• • She Suffered From Hallucinations

SufferedPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

Estefanía’s parents claim that after she performed the séance, she began to hallucinate. According to the family, Estefanía said that she saw dark figures walking through the house. She described the mysterious beings as “evil,” maintaining that they plagued her all night. Then the teen began to have seizures.

The seizures became full-on manic fits where she would bark at her siblings, but no one knew what to do. Her parents took her to multiple doctors and specialists but no one could figure out what was wrong with her. She reportedly didn’t have a mental problem, but it was obvious to professionals that Estefanía wasn’t well.

• • It Took A Year For Police To Get Involved

PolicePhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

The story of Estefanía’s haunting was nothing like what happened in Veronica. While the police arrive after a crazed 911 call in the film, it took over a year before the actual police became involved in the real case. Estefanía’s family didn’t reach out until after the girl’s passing in 1991. When the family brought the police to the apartment in Vallecas, the authorities discovered a series of spooky happenings.

When the police investigated, they claimed they heard a loud banging noise coming from an unoccupied area in the home. After that, they reported how a “perfectly closed armoire” became opened “in a sudden and totally unnatural way.”

• • Estefanía Passed About 6 Months After The Ouija Board Incident

OuijaPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

In the film Veronica, the girl passes away under extreme circumstances in three days, but Estefanía’s passing took over six months. After more than half a year of suffering from seizures and hallucinations, Estefanía’s life ended in August of 1991. Reportedly, she passed while at the hospital and not at home like the fictional character Veronica.

Estefanía’s parents don’t know what happened to her, but they believe that her death had to do with the supernatural. They’ve never said that they explicitly believe a demon was released, but they think her passing was caused by something evil.

• • The House Was Still Haunted After Estefanía Passed

HousePhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

After Estefanía’s passing, the hauntings continued to torment her family for over a year. The Gutiérrez parents claimed that after their daughter died, they didn’t go a day without dark, ominous figures stomping through their home and slamming doors. They described how their appliances turned on and off without warning, and how inanimate objects would leap from shelves and move without interference.

Members of the Gutiérrez family also maintained how they could hear someone whispering to them in the middle of the night, and at times, hear Estefanía shrieking.

• • Estefanía’s Death Is One Of The Most Popular Ghost Stories In Spain

GhostPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

According to Paco Plaza, the director of Veronica, he made this movie because it’s a story that he’s heard time and time again. Plaza admits that he made some changes to the story, but he says that the tale is such a popular Spanish myth that everyone who tells it adds their own spin. In a Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival, he said:
In Spain it’s very popular. Because it is, as we say in the film, the only time a police officer has said he has witnessed something paranormal, and it’s written in a report with an official police stamp.

But I think when we tell something, it becomes a story, even if it’s in the news. You only have to read the different newspapers to know how different reality is, depending on who’s telling it.

With this in mind, Plaza didn’t strive to replicate Estefanía’s tale or even present her story in a biographical sense. He wanted to express his own artistic vision of the Spanish lure.

• • Shadow People Allegedly Began To Haunt The Family

ShadowPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

According to the Gutiérrez family, one of the most terrifying things that happened after Estefanía passed was the sudden appearance of a mass of shadow people. When Estefanía was still alive, she claimed that she was tormented by shadowy figures, and it seems they had moved on to the parents. Mrs. Gutiérrez claimed that one of the shadow people attacked her in her sleep:

I felt pressure on top of me but there was no one around. I said [to Mr. Gutiérrez] ‘there’s someone here.’ I then felt a pair of hands grab my feet and then grab my hand, which were uncovered by the blanket.

While these instances of paranormal phenomena haven’t been confirmed, the family continued to experience unexplainable occurrences within their Vallecas home.

• • The Burning Photo After Her Passing

BurningPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

In true horror film fashion, Estefanía’s family claims that a photograph of the young girl burst into flames on its own after her death. They maintained that it fell off an end table and simply began to smolder. When Estefanía’s picture ignited, Mr. and Mrs. Gutiérrez knew they needed to contact the authorities.

If you’ve seen Veronica, then you know that this moment was immortalized in the film. According to everyone who lived through the events, the film was accurate in this depiction.

• • Mysterious White Smoke May Have Caused Her Seizures

SmokePhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

One of the stranger parts of Estefanía’s story is the mention of an unexplainable white smoke that allegedly appeared after her séance. Witnesses claimed that after the nun broke the Ouija board, some kind of smoke spewed from shards, and Estefanía allegedly inhaled the white smoke through her mouth and nose before she fell into a seizure.

Some believe that the smoke was representative of a demon, and Estefanía unwittingly took the spirit inside of her, subsequently causing a form of possession.

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• The Apartment Was Destroyed

ApartmentPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

One notable element of the police report is the fact that the apartment was a wreck, especially Estefanía’s room. Upon investigation, the officers discovered the family had left Estefanía’s decorations intact on the wall, but many of the posters had been clawed at by some kind of creature. According to Mr. and Mrs. Gutiérrez, anyone who went into the girl’s room was subject to being pushed around by an unseen force.

Reportedly, the officers also witnessed a crucifix on Estefanía’s wall move on its own until it snapped, a scene reminiscent of The Exorcist.

• • Police Saw A Brown Stain Spread Throughout The House

StainPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

When police investigated the Gutiérrez household, they reportedly witnessed an array of paranormal activity. As a result, it’s believed that the officers on-site experienced unexplainable occurrences. They saw a mysterious substance stuck to the furniture that appeared to be the brownish-red color of blood. While they were conducting an investigation, the officers allegedly saw the stains begin to spread.

According to paranormal analysts, this anecdote relates an interaction with some kind of poltergeist. In the police report, the scene was detailed as a “situation of mystery and rarity.”

• • The Haunting Ended When The Family Moved

HauntingPhoto: Veronica (2017) / Netflix / Fair Use

After Estefanía passed away in 1991 and the police investigated the Gutiérrez home, the family finally moved. Reportedly, the haunting stopped after they left their Vallecas home. Since the family has relocated, there haven’t been any reports of a haunting in the building where Estefanía’s story took place.

While Veronica has received criticism for bolstering cliché horror movie tropes, the movie is also revered for combining one of Spain’s unexplainable mysteries with genuine filmmaking.