Netflix’s Spanish horror film, ‘Phenomena’ follows the story of three paranormal investigators tasked to investigate a haunting at an antique shop. They were supposed to visit the site with their leader, Father Pilón. But when he goes there alone and is seriously injured after being attacked by the sinister entity, it falls upon the trio of women to solve the case. Despite their belief in the paranormal, the group keeps a scientist with them on their visits and goes into the case with skepticism. Their approach towards the haunting looks more like a detective solving a puzzle to figure out the identity of the culprit. Their realistic methods might make you wonder if the Hepta Group is based on an actual paranormal investigation group. Let’s find out.
Is the Hepta Group a Real Paranormal Investigation Group?
Yes, the Hepta Group in ‘Phenomena’ is based on a real paranormal investigation group. It was formed in Madrid in 1987 by Father Jose Maria Pilón, a Catholic priest who wanted to explore paranormal phenomena from a scientific lens. He was inspired by similar groups forming in other countries, like America, and wanted to bring credibility to parapsychology by bringing together people from different fields. The three principal members of the group were Sol Blanco-Soler, Piedad Cavero, and Paloma Navarrete. In ‘Phenomena,’ the lead characters are inspired by this trio.
Navarrete explained the group’s intention and approach toward any case brought to them: “Father Pilón wanted to form a versatile team with scientists so that it would be a serious research team. The first thing to rule out in an investigation of paranormal phenomena are precisely the ‘normal phenomena.’ It is necessary to verify that all the conditions are within normality and that the phenomenon cannot be something that occurs under the laws of physics. Once this is ruled out, we began to work trying to communicate with what is happening, or with the character that appears in the house where the phenomena are happening.”
Father Pilón handpicked every group member, who wanted it to be as versatile in its talents as possible. Paloma Navarrete and Aldo Linares were the clairvoyants and the mediums who would complement each other’s methods to create a communication channel with the spirits and entities. Outside the group, Navarrete was a pharmacist and psychologist, and Linares was a journalist and a computer scientist.
The team also had a nuclear physicist, José Luis Márquez, who measured things like electromagnetic fields and temperature in the place using sensors, infrared cameras, and metal detectors, among other things. Fernando Ruiz de la Puerta was a mathematician and astronomer, and Piedad Cavero was a businesswoman. She recorded everything about the case, from interviews with the people who came to them for help to the haunting site and getting to the bottom of the truth.
The group gained notoriety after handling some high-profile cases, which made it to the front cover of newspapers in Spain. Some of their famous cases include the hauntings in the Palacio de Linares, the Reina Sofía Museum, and the “Baúl del Monje” case. The last case serves as the inspiration for the Netflix film.
Is the Hepta Group Still Active?
Yes, the Hepta Group has been active for more than three decades. Even after losing its members like Father Pilón, who died in 2012, and Paloma Navarrete, who died in 2022, the rest of the group has kept the work going. While they might have reduced their frequency of visiting and investigating haunted places, they have actively shared their experience with the new generation through conferences, podcasts, and several books written by different members. Some of them have also been a part of TV programs that shine a light on weird and unexplainable things.
From the beginning, the group has kept its services free of cost. “We are going to help people. We never go anywhere that we haven’t been called. Whether the problem is here or elsewhere, you are going to reassure people. And we don’t charge anything because Father Pilón already said that when you do good, you can’t get paid, and that’s how it has stayed”, Piedad Cavero revealed. Some team members were also involved in making the Netflix film, for which they acted as advisers. “We wanted you to get to know us, to see that we are very normal people, that each of us has had professions that have nothing to do with this because nobody lives from parapsychology,” Blanco-Soler said.
Read More: Paloma Navarrete Tribute on Phenomena: How Did She Die?