You know that there are places
you’d better not roam alone in. You can feel that weird sensation that
alerts you. What if the ghost in a haunted place is the place itself?
Cross the fence and enter into the desolate feelings of an abandoned
house. Places are not haunted by ghosts but by desolation.
Halloween is drawing near and the veil is getting thin…
Every year I do a Halloween special and this was last year’s Hocus
Pocus but I am resharing it now along with the photoshoot, making of and
so get ready for some eerie entries this October… :). Video was
done last Fall, but many of the pictures have been recently edited and
are shared now for the first time. Sharing here a special creepy little
music video I made for Halloween last year as I am preparing a new
seasonal special for this one. In the mood for something slightly eerie?
This post also includes photo shoot, filming locations, and lots of
Are you in Halloween mood quite yet? Do you usually celebrate it?
Are you plotting your costume already?
There will be some “Special Spectral entries” as Autumn is here now in
its full glory with its mysterious mists and fallen leaves.
Press play to listen / watch the video featuring several locations in Spain and France.
Who remembers this movie?
Hocus Pocus is a fantasy seasonal Halloween movie that was released
in 1993 by Disney. Featuring a trio of Witches (The Sanderson Sisters)
the movie is lighthearted and fun entertainment, but there was an eerie
haunting moment, darker than the rest of the film by its tone and
meaning, that stayed with me longer, and that was the moment Sarah, the
blonde haired witch (how appropiate) uses her power, her sweet voice
with which she is able to lure unfortunate children into her lair…
just like a Siren.
So as a collector of movie scores, my main and major influence in my
own music, I have been picking some “classics” from my childhood and
giving them a spin within my own style. And thus here I’m sharing my own
version of the soundtrack.
So do you remember this movie?
It was indeed a commercial and critical flop back in the day but
slowly it became a cult classic. Apparently there is a sequel about to
be released too after so many years. I remember it with fondness though
and some scenes like Sarah singing this song are quite vivid in my
mind… It is now a seasonal classic of my generation, so well drop also
your impressions if you remember or have watched it. If not, this is
the perfect month to have a look at it!
I put a spell on you and now you’re mine
But this post is more than about the song but also the hikes and
behind the scenes of this little creepy video I made as Halloween
special. (Preparing another surprise for this one) as we get into the
mood for the forthcoming All Hallows Eve. Despite being blonde
myself and having a “similar garment” than the character that sings it I
did not pretend to cosplay the character but tell a different kind of
story (darker in mood) than the original take… I am curious about your
The veil is getting thinner…
“Sarah’s Theme” is one of the sung and most iconic tracks in Hocus Pocus Movie score with music by James Horner;
lyrics by Brock Walsh inspired by Edgard Allan Poe; performed by Sarah
Jessica Parker in the movie. Additional variations were made by who was
in charge of most of the instrumental soundtrack of the movie. The theme
also known as “Garden of magic” and has become a rather well known
seasonal Halloween classic. There are longer versions but the original
lyrics (very short) are these:
Come little children, I’ll take thee away,
Into a land of enchantment.
Come little children, the time’s come to play,
Here in my garden of magic.
Credits: Sarah´s theme was composed by James Horner and variations and rest of the movie soundtrack by John Debneyhttp://johndebney.com/. Lyrics by Brock Walsh.
John Debney was kind enough to listen to my version and send back a
compliment which I found so encouraging. This is just a tribute cover
and it’ was not an official release, I always recommend to purchase the
ORIGINAL soundtrack but I enjoyed recording this as it was a challenge
was a good practise to improve my hammered dulcimer playing 🙂 and thus it deviates quite a lot from the original arrangement.
I loved your rendition, it sounded great John Debney (Hocus Pocus OST composer and conductor)
Priscilla Hernandez voice, lead and choir, arrangements, hammered dulcimer, piano, video edition
Armen Vartanyan: violin
Svetlana Tovstukha: cello
Héctor Corcín : mixing, mastering, camera work, video edition
The abandoned decaying ruins of a former village of miners of Arruitzgain on Basakaitz
Mount (Spain) served as main background to film the video… There used
to be also a train (Plazaola) to transport the minerals from this area
that has been of mining interest since the Romans settlements in the
area… And at the beginning of the hike you can choose to go over the
now deserted rails and tunnels. Then there is a hike uphill while while
enjoying a forest of long and slender beech trees. I filmed this exactly
mid October last year but the leaves hadn’t fully shifted into autumn
colours quite yet (thus we used color correction in the video to make it
The mining village was abandoned in the fifties and barely a few
buildings tumbling down and emerging chimneys and walls over the
engulfing and lush vegetation and they look much older while a thick pad
of moss, vines and blackberry bushes have covered the walls.
It felt convenient that there was a fireplace in one of them… oddly
enough with signs of recent use, maybe one hiker took the remaining
building structure as shelter.
Don’t worry, I don’t eat children, I’m vegetarian 😉
We also collected some wood in order to create that uneasy feeling of
“Witch in the Woods” as I was intending to do a video for the song
“Come Little Children” anyway. I always try to release a Halloween
special, whether a cover of Halloween classic like this, or an
original… so already working in this year special Halloween release.
The early autumn filtered light was perfect and I found a perfect witchy
staff out of a wooden stick.
After filming we stayed in the woods until dark… you had to be
careful as light got dim you could easily for into hollows like this
El Señorío de Bertiz also in Navarra (Spain) served
as additional location including the spooky shot at the end wearing a
mask I made out of a piece of bark I collected from the floor. It’s a
place we often visit and hike that I will cover in detail in one of my
“hiking adventures” posts. But here a clear still of that “eerie ominous
ending”. I decided to add a spooky reverse effect to finish. And well ,
I think I succeeded in my “spectral” makeover.
Additional scenes were added filmed on or hike to the mountaing Midi
dOssau (French Pyrenees), some general scenes of autumnal elements and
small waterfalls and conveniently filming scenes dressed in black like
casting spells in different spots on our ascent. Yes, I hiked with a
corset up to the Pyrenees and here is proof!
I even got into thef freezing mountain lake but I did not use that footage in the final edit of the video.
Little boys and girls don’t get lost in the woods after dark
Tiermas is a Spanish abandoned village in Aragón in
a region of Zaragoza known as Jacetania. This place is located next to
the Yesa dam, that was built in the late 50s to provide irrigation and
drinking water to this area. Very close to this very water reservoir we
can also find another of my favourite deserted locations, Escó that I
will cover maybe in another moment, as I spent one magical night
stargazing and watching a meteor shower so it deserves its own post.
Those two villages are very close one from another so you can visit them both in one hike. My partner Héctor knows I have a weakness for ruins and desolate locations and they are less than hour drive from where I live now, so we have visited them both through the years and been myself spectator of their decay. I cannot help to feel a pang when I see them falling apart. Some places transcend beautifully when returning to Nature, but there is a sad ghostly quality in Tiermas, futures truncated, homes confiscated from their families, life taken away from a place.
In the case of Tiermas most of the village was flooded in 1959 and
it is now underwater. Only part of it remained uncovered, isolated and
safe on top of a hill. More than 1500 people lost their homes and crops
and had to leave the village, which remained isolated and surrounded by
water. In the 90s there were claims by former owners to try to restore
the remains of the village but these plans were not taken into account
as there are intentions to make the reservoir bigger (engulfing other
locations like Escó that are also abandoned). Well technically Escó has 1
inhabitant (a single person that visits the place and keeps his dogs
and cattle in it). I know because I met him once and talked with him
though there are even legends he’s a “ghost”. Again, that is another
The old Thermal Baths rises from the waters once a year
Above: ruins of the thermal baths rising from underwater once a year
The place was once well known for the thermal baths and Hot Springs with hot sulfurous waters. The ruins of this former Health resort rises once a year around September when the water reservoir is rather low. People still gather to take baths when these rise from the waters and it remains known to have “healing properties”. Even though laying down on the spontaneous pools that are formed among the scattered ruins every season is not safe, and one wonder if they can collapse on top of your head, the place is crowded even at night as hikers tend to set up their tents and sing songs while enjoying the thermal hot waters. The ruins return underwater when rain fills the dam again. It is rumored that they intend to use pipes to build brand new Health Resort eventually on top of the hill for what this old village with so much History would need to be wiped out from existence.
And meanwhile it’s vanishing slowly into forgetfulness.
Abandoned into Oblivion
But today Tiermas it is just a rumble of houses covered in vines. At least emerged on top of the hill. From up above on clear days sometimes you can see the ruins of the rest of the village underwater. I wonder how it may look down there if diving were allowed. I have never seen footage of it and apparently currents make it dangerous. Just curiosity… As a sunk ship wreckage.
On top of the Hill the abandoned village decays each year, each
season one or two houses crumble down. The overgrown vegetation has
engulfed everything. The thorns of blackberry bushes have cut the access
to many of the old streets unless you want to leave a few drops of
blood making a way through.
An abandoned Church in an abandoned village
One of the highlights is the Church. Some graffiti and painting have
vandalized the romantic decadence of this place. Some are of poor
taste, especially the ones around the church which makes me sad.
These pictures are old rather old, two years ago the vault collapsed
and is gone. So my entry photo doesn’t exist anymore as it is shown in
Both Esco and Tiermas were used as “sceneries” for the recent movie
“Guernica” (that was bombed in the Civil War) as they both look like a
reenactment of villages destroyed by war.
The Witches Portal
The “Witches Portal” was built in the XIII century by order of the King Pedro II of Aragon
as this was the frontier of the Kingdom of Navarre. It is the only door
that remains out of the three that were part of the “fortification” of
the village. At the edge of the abandoned Tiermas it offers an
excellent aerial view.
Final Thoughts… Let’s not forget
Last time I visited the place oddly a brand new road has been made to
reach the location, yet there are no plans for its conservation and all
it’s left to fall down. A ghost of a town. It is obviously sad that brand new “Spa” might be built in the near future, wiping out Tiermas history and story.
So this place as it is on these pictures is NO MORE… the arches of the church remain but the vault collapsed… some constructions are barely held by vines… Others have still belongings and objects scattered around… One cannot help to imagine it when it was flourishing and full of life. Both Tiermas and Escó are doomed to oblivion, even if their origins date them on the XII century as towns and even as “settlements” in the Bronze Era. So much History and legacy… falling down and becoming a part entangled by ivy.
Let’s remember it…
This place has shifted and will be no more soon…
But let’s not forget…
Tiermas, Zaragoza, Spain
All pictures (c) to Priscilla Hernandez. The ones I appear in taken in collaboration with my partner Héctor Corcín.
Do you like abandoned places? Share your thoughts!
Nature can transform everything… even an industrial munition
factory into a fantasy scenery… A little imagination can wipe out the
ugliness and transform it into an enchanted location.
As I mentioned in my recent article, I have a fondness for ruins and
abandoned places. I find them very eerie but melancholic and romantic…
I think places are haunted by desolation and disuse but in some cases
they are transformed into something magical when overgrown Nature claims
them back and this is the case of Orbaizeta.