Podcast: A Cursed Neighborhood In São Paulo

This is the transcript and sources for the podcast that just dropped this morning on Paranormal Housewife Podcast. You can listen to it on any streaming service you listen to your podcasts on. Please subscribe to my show to be alerted to when new episodes drop. Please let me know in comments what you thought about today’s episode! 

Hi! Hello! And welcome back to the Paranormal Housewife Podcast! Welcome if you new to this podcast! Can you believe this is episode five?!?!? That means we are officially half way through our first season! Thank you so much for all of your support so far! I truly appreciate y’all listening, sharing and interacting with not only this podcast but also my blog, Paranormal Housewife. None of this would be possible without y’all’s support. 

I also want to thank you for all the birthday wishes. Being thirty nine feels good and I am content with where I am in life for the first time in my life. I have been having a blast this birthday week. If you would like to hear about all the birthday stuff I have been getting into, I will include that at the end of this podcast. I know you come back every other week to hear about paranormal stuff and not so much about me. I get it. The paranormal is much more fascinating than a quirky housewife. 

With that being said, lets get into today’s topic! Last episode I mentioned how, according to my hosting site, every continent (with the exception of Antartica) has listened to at least one of my podcasts except South America. My goal was to get South America on my listening map. Yes I have a map up in my office with little pushpins showing where all of my podcasts have been listened to because I think it is so cool that complete strangers around the world want to share in learning about the same topics I find so fascinating. So in order to help bring in my first South American listener, I decided to look for an interesting topic in South America. Not only did I find one but it seems like the area is cursed and those that die upon it are not able to find rest. I do want to let you know that today’s topic is a bit darker than previous episodes, so if you are sensitive to depictions of death and dying, this may not be the best episode to listen to. I’m sorry. 

Today’s episode takes us to Sao Paulo, Brazil. There is a neighborhood that seems to be cursed. While all deaths are horrible in their own ways, the deaths that occur in this area seem to be even more horrible than the average death. Many claim that the land itself is cursed either by natives who opposed the Catholic invaders that tried to force them to convert to their Catholic religion or by the slaves that were sold at a market located here until slavery was abolished or by the many prisoners who were tortured while being imprisoned. Whether or not it was an actual curse put upon the land, negativity was poured into the ground for decades before the neighborhood began attracting families and businesses to establish in the area. 

In the 1940s, a young man would end up moving his family to this neighborhood. Twenty- six year old Paulo Ferreira de Camargo seemed to have a very promising future ahead of him. Despite only being young, he had put himself through school and had become an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sao Paulo. His peers called him intelligent and eccentric. Paulo was also a caring son and brother who took care of his mother and two sisters. The four family members lived in a very humble one story house near the center of Sao Paulo. All three women were unable to provide for themselves due to various health issues. His mother, Benedita had been diagnosed with cancer. His sister, Maria Antonieta, had epilepsy while his other sister, Cordélia, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Because of their health issues, Paulo was often at the hospital with at least one of his family members. It was during one of these visits to the hospital that Paulo would meet a young nurse who worked there, named Isaltina Dos Amaros. 

Paulo and Isaltina quickly began dating and fell in love. Isaltina introduced Paulo to her family who instantly loved him. Isaltina’s mother was very excited for the match and thought that Paulo was would be a good husband and provider for her daughter. Paulo brought Isaltina home to meet his mother and two younger sisters, hoping that they would be as exciting and welcoming as Isaltina’s family was. Unfortunately, Paulo would not get this wish. His mother was very critical of Isaltina and did not think she was worthy of her son’s affection. Most of these stemmed from her strict Catholic beliefs that sex before marriage was a major sin. Isaltina had lost her virginity to a previous boyfriend that she had loved very much. Benedita not only tried to talk her son out of a relationship with Isaltina but she would loudly and harshly criticize her when she would come over. Paulo continued to date Isaltina but stopped bringing her back to his home. 

During this time, when Paulo wasn’t working or spending time with Isaltina, he devoted himself to the experiments that he loved to conduct. Always trying to expand his understanding of how the world works. One of the experiments he wanted to conduct involved a fertilizing system. This fertilizing system would require a separate water system than the one currently installed at his house. Paulo had a well dug in his backyard for the fertilizing system. Shortly after the well was finished, Paulo told his friends and Isaltina that he and his family was going to take a family vacation to try and rebuild their family. The family left on vacation November 5th, 1948. A few days later, Paulo returned home without his family. When questioned by Isaltina, his neighbors, and friends about where his mother and sisters were, Paulo said that they had been killed in a car accident. When Paulo told his half- brother,Carlos, of the car accident, Carlos didn’t believe the story. He questioned Paulo’s story when he couldn’t find any news stories talking about it. Paulo then told him that it wasn’t an accident but that they had driven over a cliff instead and was killed that way. Not believing him, Carlos contacted the police to investigate where his family was. 

The police arrived unannounced to Paulo’s house. They questioned Paulo on the whereabouts of his family members. Paulo became fidgety and nervous while he attempted to answer their questions. The police officers noticed he kept glancing towards the backyard while answering their questions. They decided to request some firefighters to help check the backyard. As they poked around in the backyard, Paulo excused himself to the restroom. The police officers were surprised to hear a gunshot ring out from the bathroom. They cautiously approached the bathroom with their guns drawn. After a few moments of stressful quietness coming from the bathroom, the police officers carefully opened the bathroom door. They were shocked to see Paulo laying on the floor with a gun laying beside him on the gun. Paulo had killed himself with a self inflicted gun shot. 

While the officers were trying to figure out what just happened and why Paulo took his own life, a firefighter rushed into the home. While looking around in the backyard, they discovered the well’s true intended purpose. In the well the firefighters found the bodies of Benedita, Maria Antonieta, and Cordélia. Benedita was shot twice in her chest. Maria Antonieta was shot once in her neck and twice in the back. Cordélia was shot once in her neck and once in her back. Unlike her mother and sister, Cordélia didn’t die right away from her gun shot wounds. Instead she lived for a bit before passing away from internal bleeding. Paulo had wrapped each body in black lace and covered their heads in with hoods before tossing their bodies into the well. He then sealed the well shut so that the smell wouldn’t alert the neighbors. 

With all the deaths caused by Paulo, there was one more that happened that he hadn’t anticipated. A fireman who was helping remove the bodies from the well, contradicted an infection from one of the decaying bodies (they had been in the well for almost 3 weeks by the time they were discovered and removed). This firefighter would end up dying shortly there after from the infection. 

Two decades after the murder suicide of Paulo’s family, Paulo’s home and well, as well as the homes of his neighbors were bulldozed in order to build a brand new, state of the art skyscraper. The Joelma Building was a 25 story mix of apartments and offices with the first 10 floors being a parking deck. Even though the murder suicide of Paulo and his family had been a few decades previous, the builders didn’t want their dark history to taint the bright future they say for their new building. So they made the main entrance on the opposite side of the block so that the building wouldn’t share the same address as Paulo despite being built on the same land. 

The building was touted as being fireproof but the builders failed to let folks know that the only reason it was fireproof was because of the thickness of the concrete that made up the walls. Not only was the building full of flammable materials with carpets, cellulose fiber ceiling tiles, curtains, wooden desks and chairs, etc. They developers also “forgot” to mention the lack of emergency exits, sprinklers, fire alarms, or even emergency lights. There was also only one stairwell that went all the way up to the roof. If you read my post titled “Absolutely Fireproof” about the fire at the Iroquois Theater in 1903, you already know why those things are so important when a fire happens. If you haven’t had a chance to read that post, I will link it in the description of this episode. 

It would only be two years after the building was complete for the developers to regret their greed. On Friday, February 1, 1974 at about 8:50am, Clara Lucia Dias Gomes, one of the eight hundred plus people that were living and working at the building at that moment, was just beginning her work day when she smelled smoke. Since there was no fire alarm, she called the fire department and some friends in the next office to alert them to the smell of smoke before exiting the building. As others in the building started smelling the smoke, they too would try to call to alert others in the building before trying to flee. On the 12th floor, an air conditioner that had been haphazardly installed had begun sparking and caused a fire that soon became unmanageable. It would take the fire department over 20 minutes to arrive at the Joelma Building. At that point the twelfth through fifteenth floors were completely engulfed in flames. Including the only staircase in the entire building. People were unable to leave. The fire department tried to raise ladders to help people escape but their ladders only reached up to the 16th floor. There were one hundred and seventy people trying to seek shelter on the roof but it wasn’t suitable for a helicopter to land. Only eighty of the one hundred and seventy people on the roof were able to escape. Through out the building, people were trying to find ways to escape. Some chose to try and jump to the ground below. Forty people leapt to their deaths. In interviews with survivors of the fire, people talked about how they had to use dead bodies to protect themselves from the fire that came at them from all directions. 

With time running out, thirteen folks were surprised to see that the elevators were still running despite the fire. They crowded into the elevator and attempted to take it to safety. Sadly, the elevator would get stuck in the midst of the large fire. The thirteen people clung to each other as the elevator began to heat up. By the time the firefighters were able to control the fire and open their elevator, the thirteen people were not only dead but their bodies had become fused to each other and to the walls and floors of the elevator. These people would become known as the 13 souls because they could not be identify. The 13 souls were buried in 13 adjoining graves at the Sao Pedro Cemetery. 

All in all, the fire destroyed 14 floors of the building and claimed 187 lives. Over 300 were injured. This would become the deadliest skyscraper fire in the world until the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. 

After the fire, the building was closed for four years. It reopened as well, I will use the English translation because my Portuguese is worse than Japanese. The building was renamed Flag Square in hopes that a new name will help move past the deadly history. After it reopened, the tells of paranormal activity started being told right away. People said that it wasn’t unusual cars’ lights to flash on and off by themselves even if there was no one in the car. Car’s horns would blare out with no one pressing the horn. Inside the building, people often remark about how often the elevators will break down for no reason. Most alarming, was that the smoke alarms that were installed in the building after the fire will go off despite no smoke or fire being detected. People walking in the stairwell would often see see people rushing past them in a hurry but they disappear as they run down the stairs. Smells of smoke and the feeling of not being able to breathe is common within the building. People claim to see dark shadows passing by their windows. Was it a bird’s shadow they saw or spirit reliving how it died? Voices, both quiet whispers and load cries of pain, and crying can be heard despite no one being in the area where the noise is coming from. Most of the spirits seem friendly but I understand how unnerving it most be to hear a fire alarm and not know if it is a legit alarm or a paranormal one. 

In 2004, part of the city hall would have to begin working in the building but most of the mayor’s staff felt uncomfortable working in the building due to the many reports of spirits and other paranormal activity. To try and help his staff feel more comfortable working at the former Joelma Building, a monk was brought in to bless the building. The monk came in and did her blessing. She deemed it safe to work in the building but said she could do nothing to remove the spirits that roamed the upper floors. 

But the Joelma Building isn’t the place haunted by the spirits of that fire. Over at the thirteen graves of those trapped in the elevator and the chapel built close to their graves to honor those lost in the fire, there has been several instances of paranormal activity. People visiting the graves have said that they have seen spirits walking through the headstones. People have reported hearing screaming, moaning, and asking of help from the 13 graves. The caretaker, Luiz Nunez, said that he took to pouring a watering can of water on the graves when the souls buried below became too restless which would instantly quiet the pained voices from the graves. Visitors will often leave glasses of water or bottles of water by the graves to help bring peace to the 13 souls. They also leave prayers and wishes written on small pieces of paper asking the spirits of the 13 souls to help them with various requests. Some of the requests are for safe travel, to get pregnant, or to get married. 

There are many who believe the spirits that roam the former Joelma Building may not just be victims of the fire. They believe that there may be spirits of those who were sold in the slave markets or that were imprisoned and tortured on that land. There are also some that think Paulo, his mother Benedita, and his sister Cordélia and Maria Antonita may occasionally visit those working and living in the Flag Square Building. Do you think its a coincidence that the brutal murder suicide took place on the site of the second most deadly skyscraper fire or do you think the cursed land caused it? Personally I believe the area is cursed. Much more happened here and other paranormal activity has been linked to the slaves that were kept and sold here but due to my personal beliefs, I don’t feel comfortable talking about them. As a white woman, I don’t feel it is my place to discuss slavery or spirits of slaves. In the paranormal world, those who were enslaved throughout the Americas have often been used to embellish a haunting, their histories ignored except to talk about their paranormal activities in the afterlife, and even their names erased from the stories. There are many more bloggers, researchers, and paranormal investigators that are more qualified to discuss these topics. I don’t want to misrepresent anyone’s history or facts, so stories that involve slaves, I will typically try to avoid talking about if possible. 

Well, I guess that brings us to the end of this episode. I know this episode is a little shorter than normal. I promise to have a longer one next episode to make up for the shortness of this episode. If you want to stick around for a few minutes and hear about my birthday, you are welcome to. If not, I completely understand. This week on the blog, there are no new posts. I am swamp with this jewelry order and honestly I wanted to take some time to enjoy my birthday. Next week we will be back with new posts about creepy locations in Iowa. Definitely check out my website for those posts. Last week I shared two really spooky locations in Puerto Rico. The Castillo San Fillipe del Murro and La Casa del Mustang. 

As always if you have a suggestion for a location, urban legend, or whatever it may be for future blog post or podcast episode, please let me know by either emailing me at kelly at paranormal housewife dot com or shooting me a message on any of the social media platforms. I’m Paranormal Housewife on most social media platforms except Twitter where I am paranormal h w. If you would like to read a copy of the transcripts for this episode, please check out the post on my blog about this episode. Also on that post, you can find a list of some of the resources I used while researching this topic. 

Are you still here? Yeah? Great! I am recording this on my birthday. Jeremy and all the critters are sleeping while I record this. So far I have had a great birthday. Thursday night Jeremy and I went to a dueling piano bar with our friends Abby and David. It was a lot of fun and I even went up on stage where I remember I can’t dance to save my life. But hey, I got a free drink out of it. Hahaha. 

Saturday, Jeremy surprised me by taking me to the San Diego Zoo. It was his second time visiting it but my first time. I love zoos and aquariums, so he did great by picking this for me. We had a blast running around the zoo. We actually managed to see all the exhibits except for the butterfly house and the insects but I am okay with missing those. My favorite exhibit was the orangutan inclosure. The orangutan named Aisha was so adorable. She was trying so hard to make a hammock out of a burlap sack. She was tucking it under a chain on a bamboo pole and then would crawl into it. Unfortunately the hammock fell with Aisha in it. Aisha threw the burlap sack over her head and stumbled off while pouting. She spent the rest of the time with her back to us while hiding under her burlap sack. She was soooo cute. My other favorite exhibits was the maned wolf and fennec fox. I never heard of a maned wolf before. If you have never seen one, its a fox on stilts and absolutely gorgeous. I have loved fennec foxes for forever but I have never seen one in person. I did conspire with a complete stranger on how we were going to sneak the fennec fox out of its cage and run a relay race out of the park with it. All in all, it was a lot of fun and I am still recovering from walking so much. 

On Sunday we joined our neighbors, Hollie and Scott, for dinner. Their son, Mason, is my birthday twin. Jeremy and I had gotten him a dinosaur but Mason surprised me with a beautiful painting and a pot of daisies! It was so sweet. Both are now in my office so I can see them whenever I am working. 

Tonight will just be a quiet dinner in and cupcakes with my husband. All the celebrations were fun but at the end of the day, I love being home with Jeremy and our fur babies. 

Thank you for listening to me ramble about my birthday. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the non paranormal side of my life. I love the paranormal and I love sharing the paranormal with others but there is more to me than just the paranormal and hopefully that is just as interesting. 





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