The "Villagers" were once peaceful people living in rural Spain, isolated entirely from civilization.
At some point prior to the 21st century, the villagers were aware of a cult known as "Los Iluminados" who worshiped a parasitic organism known as the Plaga. A threat to humankind, the first Castellan of a nearby fortress had them sealed away underneath the building, towering over a canyon. The story was told from generation to generation of how the great lord of the castle removed paganism from the region.
Some time prior to 2004, the cult's leader, Osmund Saddler, corrupted the mind of the eighth Castellan, Ramon Salazar, convincing him into allowing entry to the underground. Some villagers were brought to the catacombs for an apparently important "excavation" project in the caves in search of what was left of the parasite. All they found however, were mere fossils. That was all they could see, but unbeknownst to them, the parasites survived in a spore-state, reforming their bodies inside their new hosts. This process took some time, and the miners returned to their normal lives. When the people began to experience violent convulsions, the cause was discovered to be the growing parasites gaining control over their nervous systems.
With the Plagas' survival being confirmed, Lord Saddler indoctrinated the village chief, Bitores Mendez, during a festival to mark the end of the harvest season. Mendez would then order a church meeting the following Sunday, which everybody had to attend. It was here that the villagers, over a period of a few hours, were indoctrinated into Los Iluminados, throwing aside their children's tales as lies, now believing the first Castellan to be a tyrant who forced the parasites away out of jealousy and fear that the Los Illuminados were a threat to his power. When the villagers began to notice the convulsions after the service, they assumed it to be a divine action against the "heathens" who did not follow Saddler's teachings. At some point later, Saddler had the rest of the villagers injected with Plaga eggs, telling them that it was sacred blood intended to "cleanse" their bodies. They too experienced convulsions, but they were utterly devout and therefore did not suspect Saddler of culpability. They eventually lost all ability to feel emotions, and some parents gave blank expressions when their children started to die - with the Plagas unable to gain control over the children's nervous systems, they experienced painful fits before dying with a disfigured look on their faces (caused by their nervous system's poor control over the muscles). Not long afterwards, Saddler informed them that outsiders may be seeking to infiltrate Los Illuminados and that they should be murdered on sight; the people ("Ganados") blindly followed. Those that rejected the Los Illumnados' teachings, regardless of gender, were most likely killed.[notes 1]
- ↑ A female villager was seen impaled through the face with a pitchfork in a shed during the trek through the Footpath to the village early into the game, with Leon upon examining the corpse speculating that they "don't do sex discrimination" at the village.