Croatia is not only a beautiful country, it has numerous paranormal sites. What stands out about Croatia is that many of the hauntings are caused by recent events, in comparison to the much older stories we have told in our previous episodes. At first, we thought this might be due to the number of modern wars that ravaged this part of Europe. There have been eight wars fought here since 1918.
However, when we compared modern day to the long history of this strategically-placed country, we learned that eight wars was just a drop in the bucket of bloodshed. Starting in 791 when Charlemagne marched into Croatia and made it a vassal state, Croatia has been involved in eighty-nine conflicts. That’s a lot of loss and heartache.
The Witch, the Trial and the Guy in the Tower
This story takes place in Veliki Tabor Castle in Hum Košnički, which is near Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. The castle is now a museum and can be visited. But the story is not about the castle. It’s about a young woman, Veronika of Desinić.
The land around Veliki Tabor was once ruled by Count Herman II of Celje. His son Fridrik fell in love with a local girl. Of course, the count didn’t approve. So of course, the couple married in secret in Slovenia. When the count found out, he imprisoned his son in a tower for four years—which is a welcome departure from what would usually happen in such a case.
The count pursued and caught Veronika and accused her of witchcraft, because she had certainly cast a spell over his son. Why else would his son misbehave? Veronika was put on trial and found innocent. Surprise. But the count overturned the verdict. He ordered his soldiers to kill the witch.
Veronika was drowned in the castle courtyard of Veliki Tabor. Legend has it that as a safeguard, her body was built into the castle’s walls. No mention was made of what happened to the imprisoned son. He probably gained forty pounds in the tower and was married off to a royal hemophiliac from Prussia. The usual…
Why It’s Superstitious:
Go there at night—especially a cold dark night—and you might year Veronika’s cries and wails.
Veliki Tabor Castle, Hum Košnički, Croatia
The Island No One Will Buy
For under two million euros, you could buy Daska Island. For that staggeringly low price, you get a villa, an old monastery, a lighthouse and a couple of crumbling docks on your own private island close to a major tourist destination. Sounds like a great investment, doesn’t it? But wait…the place is haunted.
You can see small J-shaped Daska Island from the city of Dubrovnik. Daska is only 1.5 miles away from shore. In fact, you could swim to the isle—but no one ever does. Locals give the island a wide berth. So that means, if you were interested in buying the house, you’d have a difficult time hiring a boat to take you out to look at it.
- Inhabited by monks in medieval times.
- Place of refuge for sailors during storms.
- Everything changed in October 1944.
- Nazis were ousted at the end of WWII. Nazi sympathizers were rounded up, taken to the island and shot. 48-53 people were executed.
- Bodies left unburied.
- The dead included the mayor of Dubrovnik and some priests.
- Citizens were forbidden to collect their dead.
- In 2009, explorers stumbled over remains of six people. Authorities found 48 more. The bodies have been buried and a memorial erected.
- The math doesn’t make sense, but that’s what the research said…
Why It’s Supernatural
- Ghosts and bad spirits haunt the island.
- Sailors won’t go ashore. Many won’t take a boat even close.
Daska Island, Croatia
The First Recorded Case of Vampirism
Jure Grando Alilović wasn’t famous enough or rich enough to have his portrait painted in the 16th century, so there is no image available of him. But his legend lives on. He was born in 1579 in Kringa on the Istria peninsula. He died in 1656 from an illness—nothing out of the ordinary for the time. In fact, he was fairly old. Seventy-seven. Lucky…
But after Grando died, he began to terrorize his village until he was decapitated in 1672.
The local priest reported that at night, Grando would knock on doors of the village, and whatever door he knocked on, in that home a person would die in a matter of days. Grando also appeared to his terrified widow in her bedroom. She described the corpse as smiling and gasping for breath. He would sexually assault her but didn’t kill her. Small favors.
The priest eventually came face-to-face with the vampire and held out a cross and called on God to stop him. But his efforts were fruitless. A villager ran after the vampire and tried to stab him in the chest with a hawthorn stick, but couldn’t pierce the monster’s chest.
The next night, the priest and nine other people marched to Grando’s grave. When they dug up his coffin, they found a perfectly-preserved corpse with a smile on its face. One of the villagers sawed off the vampire’s head. As soon as the saw cut the vampire’s flesh, he let out a roar and blood burst from his throat.
After the decapitation, Grando the vampire was never seen in the village again.
Why It’s Supernatural:
It’s a vampire tale. Enough said…
The Lokrum Curse
Lokrum Island is off the coast of the city of Dubrovnik. Benedictine monks first built a monastery there in 1023. Centuries later, in a government takeover, a French general demanded that the monks leave the island. On their last day at the monastery, the monks circled the island three times, holding candles upside down and chanting, “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!“
Soon after the eviction, three aristocrats involved in the land grab were dead. One jumped out a window, one drowned, and another was killed by a servant.
Later owners, including Captain Tomaševic, Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg and his wife Charlotte, either lost their fortunes, lost their lives or went insane. Many tragedies befell the Hapsburg family members who were unlucky enough to inherit the small island.
Now all that remains on the island is a botanical garden and some wild peacocks.
Why It’s Supernatural:
Travelers can visit the island, but locals warn them to leave before dark. The residents of Dubrovnik still believe the curse remains.
Lokrum Island, Croatia (by boat)
Just Bury Me, and I’ll Leave…
This is the story of a courageous young woman who just wanted some basic human decency shown for her remains—and perhaps some recognition of her courage during an attack on the fortress now known as Prandau-Normann Castle.
Prandau-Normann Castle in Valpovo is one of the largest schlosses (German for chateaux) in Croatia. It houses the oldest church in Croatia. Why is the castle paranormal? Because of another ghost lady. Only she’s white this time, and not green or gray.
Apparently the spirit of a girl—the Lady in White—haunted the castle until a colonel in the imperial army visited the place in the 1800s. His name was Kuschmann. He complained about seeing a ghost. Maybe he was a channeler. Maybe he was an empath. Or maybe he didn’t like his after-dinner cigar interrupted by a young girl who claimed to have been murdered hundreds of years earlier. The ghost told him her body had been thrown unceremoniously between the ice-cellar and the city chapel, and she was going to keep bothering mortals until someone found her mortal remains and buried them.
The owner of the castle, Baron Prandau, couldn’t have his guest being hounded by the Lady in White, so he ordered an excavation. And what do you know? The skeleton of a female was found in the exact spot the ghost told Colonel Kuschmann it would be.
Many believe the skeleton belonged to a courageous heroine, Catherine, who helped defend the Valpovo fortress against the Turks in the 16th century.
Why It’s Supernatural:
Catherine’s ghost no longer haunts the castle, now that she has been found.
Prandau-Normann Castle in Valpovo, Croatia
The House No One Will Buy
This house is located in the small village of Skrinjari and is considered one of the most haunted places in Croatia. There are many reports of paranormal activities in the house and around it. Unlike most haunted places we’ve talked about, this one is a fairly recent structure.
- Built in the 1950s or 80s.
- The owner left the house because of the paranormal activities.
- The house has been on the market since 1997 for an unusually low price.
- There are rumors that say the owner will give the house to anyone who can spend the night there.
- There are lots of reasons why this place might be haunted.
- Built over a graveyard.
- Small girl fell into a well and drowned.
- A young woman was killed here and supposedly her body was hidden in the foundations.
- The owner purposely built the structure to “leave something” behind (an evil spirit).
What It’s Supernatural
- Eerie sounds like crying of a baby, screams, strange noises, strange shadows.
- Apparitions of woman and small girl inside the house and around the house.
- Apparently, those who have tried to spend the night have ended up in mental hospitals.
- Two policemen decided to investigate the house. However, their equipment didn’t work inside of the house, and in the morning they were found walking the house completely disoriented.
Skrinjari, Croatia – 64 km east of Zagreb