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Dark Alchemy at Quinta da Regaliera, Sintra, Portugal

High above the valleys and tucked into the dense, rocky forest of Sintra, Portugal sits a magnificent estate named the Quinta da Regaliera. The town's roads are narrow and old, and wind precariously up the mountains, almost hiding the large estates of the cliffs above it. The estate was constructed by wealthy Portuguese businessman Carvalho Monteiro over 6 years, and was finished in 1904.

The locals nicknamed the place the "Palace of Montiero the Millionare" due to the lavish design. After the death of Carvalho Monteiro, the house was bought by Waldemar d’Orey. The d'Orey family remained in residence there until 1987, when it was bought by a Japanese corporation. The town of Sintra's local government reclaimed this national historic landmark in 1997, and it was opened to the public in 1998.

The massive house contains five floors, and is designed with a detailed gothic façade. The woodwork and masonry is ornate and contains mystical elements like gargoyles and ancient symbols. The grounds, though, are what make this place appear so magical and also mysterious to visitors. The Greek god Dionysus can be seen in statue form all over the estate, and is even symbolically linked to Freemasonry. Even in the chapel located on the grounds, alongside the usual Catholic imagery, there are pentagrams surrounding the Order of the Christ Cross.

The elaborate gardens of the Quinta da Regaleira were landscaped in representation of ancient secret orders, most notably the Freemasons. There are references to the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, the Masons and dark alchemy throughout the grounds and hillsides. The most notable and famous feature of the estate is the Initiation Well. While designed to look like it held water, it never actually functioned as well. Rather, it was designed as a location for the initiation ritual of the Knights Templar.

Montiero was involved in secret societies and even incorporated the major and minor arcana of the Tarot into the design of the structure itself. At the bottom, there's a secret passage that descends 27 meters to connect to a series of tunnels that lead through the gardens to grottoes and caves. There's even a series of waterfalls throughout the property. Carved into the hillside itself, the property maintains a hidden, secret quality about it. For this reason, a number of strange stories have emerged, especially since the time the d'Orey family lived there.

Rumors about the mysticism practiced at the Sintra da Regaliera estate abounded over the years. Ghostly figures have been spotted walking the pathways of the garden, and the words "unsolved murder" have even been floated around the town by locals for several years. While no one can verify any deaths on the property, the heavy occult symbolism and ancient cult connections are apparent. The gorgeous estate is perfectly maintained for visitors from all over the world, and hosts tours daily. What ghosts lie at the bottom of that Initiation Well, though, we may never know.

Thanks for reading,

I'm Amy L. Bennett, a writer, multimedia artist, recovering archaeologist and YouTuber from Upstate, New York. I've been invested in all things strange and unusual since my dad gave me the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy when I was way too young. Along with my fiancé, Ryan, we've explored countless haunted locations in the US and abroad in search of the Weird.
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