Is Phenomena’s Father Jose Maria Pilón a Real Person? What Happened to Him?

Netflix’s ‘Phenomena’ follows the story of the Hepta Group, who are asked to investigate paranormal occurrences in an antique shop in Madrid. The leader of the group is Father Pilón, who visits the shop alone one night. There, he encounters a sinister entity that attacks him, and he ends up in a coma. In the quest to find out what happened to him, his team investigates the shop and comes face to face with the centuries-old spirit that has been haunting the place. The film is inspired by a real-life paranormal investigation group and a real case they handled in the 1990s. If you are curious about which member of the real-life group inspired the character of Father Pilón and what happened to him, then we’ve got you covered.

Is Father Pilón Based on a Real Person?

Father Jose Maria Pilón is based on the actual priest who founded the Hepta Group in 1987. Born in Madrid in 1924, Father Pilón was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1957. He had a degree in Philosophy and Sacred Theology from the University of Granada and studied the paranormal phenomenon for years. He was a member of the Spanish Society of Parapsychology and the Association of Parapsychological Research of Barcelona. He taught at the Comillas Pontifical University as a General Ethics and Professional Morality of Social Work professor.

Father Pilón became famous for his psychic dowsing. He used it to locate everything from wells to missing persons. Reportedly, he collaborated with security forces to search for kidnapped or missing people. He authored many books on dowsing, like ‘Psychic Dowsing: Notes for a Study of the Dowsing Phenomenon’ and ‘The Great Book of Dowsing,’ among others. He also authored ‘The Paranormal: Does it Exist?’ And ’10 Key Words in Parapsychology.’ He directed conferences on parapsychology, worked as the counselor of Montañeros de Santa María, and served as a religious adviser of Radio Popular.

Seeing the advancements made by other countries in parapsychology, Father Pilón formed the Hepta Group in 1987. He wanted to study the paranormal phenomenon from a scientific point of view. He brought together various people, from nuclear physics and mathematics to clairvoyance and journalism. Over the years, the group earned fame on a national level with their involvement in the hauntings at places like the Palacio de Linares and the Reina Sofía Museum.

How Did Father Pilón Die?

Image Credits: Moisés Garrido y Claudia M. Moctezuma/ Youtube

Father Pilón died from a long illness at 88 on December 20, 2012, at the Príncipe de Asturias Hospital in Alcalá de Henares. He is interred in the San Isidro Cemetery in Madrid. Called “the most popular priest in Spain in the 80s and the 90s”, Father Pilón is remembered by his close ones as “a good priest and a tenacious researcher.” When he formed the Septa Group, he made it a point not to charge for their services. “Father Pilón said that when you do good, you can’t get paid, and that’s how it has stayed”, said Piedad Cavero, a member of the Hepta Group.

Father Pilón once said: “What I most want from heaven is knowledge. I have always been curious and knowing in the mind of God everything that I do not know here seems wonderful to me.” He is said to have been a humble man who was “a man of faith above all else.” He believed the people who sought his help turned “more to the priest than to the man because they think that in him there is a greater guarantee of truthfulness.”

The Netflix film pays tribute to the priest through a close representation of his character in the movie version of Father Pilón, though it takes some creative liberties. In the film, the priest dies after fighting a sinister ghost. However, Father Pilón lived a long life, dedicating himself to studying the paranormal and bringing the truth to the world while helping people.

Read More: Is Phenomena’s Hepta Group a Real Paranormal Investigation Group? Does it Still Exist?

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