When you think of Germany, your first thought might be the genocide that occurred there in the 1930s and 40s. But Germany is so much more than Hitler and his atrocities.
While conducting research for my series, The Londo Chronicles, I was astounded to learn that Germany is the birthplace of the Romanticism movement. Romanticism is the inspiration for the literature, art and music that I particularly appreciate: lush paintings, a focus on emotional subjects, the importance of the individual and love of nature.
There is much more to this country than I ever imagined. And I hope to have the opportunity to discover more about it soon. Here are some of our paranormal discoveries.
The Black Forest
This fir and pine-filled forest has spooked humans since the dawn of man, including the Romans, who named it “Silva Nigra” or “Black Forest.” It is known for its spas, cuckoo clocks and historical sites, including monasteries, ruins and castles. Germans call this place the Schwarzwald, and feature it in many fairy tales.
One tale talks about der Grossmann, a tall, horribly disfigured man with bulging eyes and many arms. Bad children who entered the forest were made to confess their sins to him and the worst children were never found again. Is this a fairy story or cautionary tale for misbehaving kinder? You choose.
There is also a Brother’s Grimm story that is typical of the region.
In Die Gansemagd (Goose Girl), a princess on her way to meet a prince in a faraway kingdom is accompanied by her maid. But the maid has an agenda. She forces the young princess to trade places with her. Now the princess has a magical horse called Falada. This horse can talk. And out of the mouths of babes (and horses) can come the truth. So when the two women arrive at the castle, the maid kills the horse and hires out the real princess to work as a goose girl. The real princess is not about to let the maid get away with her crimes. She hangs the head of her beloved horse on the city gate. This horrific act catches the attention of the king, and the goose girl is brought in for questioning. The princess finally gets a chance to tell her story. The king punishes the wicked maid by rolling her around in a spiked barrel until she dies. Who knows if the real princess ever met her prince…
- Beautiful ladies appear at night.
- Bowling games can be heard on the first Monday of the month.
- Mysterious vault filled with wine that no one can find.
- A small shallow lake.
- Ruled by an undead king.
- Inhabited by nixe or Baden nymphs.
Why It’s Superstitious:
- Haunted by werewolves, witches and the devil.
- The nix lures women to drown in The Mummelsee.
- Headless horseman of Wolmerspur.
Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Watchers in the Wood: Kirchlengern Forest
Kirchlengern means “clergy” in German, and the forest is undoubtedly named for the city of Kirchlengern nearby.
Locals say the forest is haunted. People who walk through it report they feel watched. They experience feelings of panic, uneasiness and vivid daydreams. Pets go missing and pieces of dead animals appear days later. When police and forest rangers investigate, however, no one can explain the dead animal parts flung throughout the woods. No wild animal would distribute their prey like that.
However, just to the west of the forest is the town of Osnabruck, the site of a major pagan temple. When Charlemagne came to the area in the eight century, he tried to convert the pagans to Christianity, but ended up slaughtering them in a great massacre on their sacred ground. Perhaps pagan practices are still being held in the forest. Or their ghosts remain.
Why It’s Supernatural
- Feelings of being watched. Uneasiness.
- Unexplained dead animal parts.
Kirchlengern Forest, Osnabrück, Germany
The huge 13th-century fortress was destroyed by French troops in 1797, but much of its foundations — including a series of meandering catacombs — still exist today. A four-star resort and event center, Hotel Schloss Rheinfels, currently hosts overnight guests and late night soirées. The area is surrounded by vineyards, has stunning river views and is near the legendary Lorelei Rock.
The castle moat was turned into a cellar by building arches over it in 1587-89. It is the largest self-supporting vaulted cellar in Europe and has a length of 79 ft and width of 52 ft and can accommodate up to 400 people.
The castle is so large that during a siege, it could house 4500 people. Generally, around 500 people lived there.
The most interesting thing to do when visiting is to explore the system of tunnels beneath the castle. Buy a single candle and see how long you can stay.
Why It’s Supernatural:.
- Paranormal investigators have recorded disembodied voices.
- Strange shadows follow visitors through the ruins.
- Surrounded by vineyards the castle hotel boasts great views of the river, the town of St. Goar and the legendary Lorelei rock—which is said to house the ghost of an unhappy woman whose haunting voice has lured thousands of sailors to their deaths. (Part of the Rhine Maiden mythology.)
Left (west) bank of the Rhine in Sankt Goar, Germany
The Breastplate Bride
Burg Eltz is one of the few castles on the left bank of the Rhine to have escaped destruction during hundreds of years of conflict and invasion. Another miraculous fact is that it’s been in the same family for over 850 years and has never been taken in armed conflict. Refusing to give up is embodied in the tragic tale of Agnes.
Agnes was the daughter of a 15th century count of Eltz. As was the practice of the day, Agnes was betrothed to a nobleman’s son when she was still a young child. However, years later when Agnes met her betrothed as an adult, she discovered that he was not only cold, he was rude. He haggled over dowry details out loud in front of the court, treating her like chattel and embarrassing Agnes, so much so that she refused to have anything to do with the guy. She demanded that he leave. The young man was so angry, he threw a glove at her face and promised retribution.
Her angry betrothed mustered troops and laid siege to the castle. When Agnes saw soldiers pouring into the courtyard of the castle, she donned her brother’s armor, picked up a sword and ran into battle.
Her courage inspired the count’s men to repel the attackers. But when the battle was over, Agnes was found dead, her chest pierced with an arrow. Ever since, the sorrowful spirit of Agnes is said to linger around the castle, especially in the bedroom where a perforated 15th century breastplate hangs.
Why It’s Supernatural:
- Agnes is said to linger around the castle, especially in the bedroom where the breastplate hangs.
- She is seen near midnight on the castle grounds.
Burg Eltz, Rheinland-Pfalz
The castle is so large that parts of it are owned by separate branches of the same family. The Rübenach and Rodendorf families’ homes are open to the public, while the Kempenich branch of the family uses the other third of the castle and keeps the area private. People can visit Burg Eltz from April to October. Visitors can view the treasury, with gold, silver and porcelain artifacts and the armory of weapons and suits of armor.
The Original Dr. Frankenstein
Frankenstein Castle is located on the Hessian Bergstraße Route, an area famous for its vineyards and mild climate. The castle was built in 1250. In later years it was used as a refuge and hospital, but fell into disrepair in the 18th century. Its most famous resident was Johann Dippel, who many claim is the original Dr. Frankenstein. But there are other fascinating tales about this place.
The Real Dr. Frankenstein
- In 1673, Johann Conrad Dippel was born in the castle, where he was later engaged as a professional alchemist.
- Created an animal oil known as Dippel’s Oil which was supposed to be equivalent to the “elixir of life.”
- Also practiced anatomy, rumors of dug up bodies, medical experiments.
- Local cleric warned his parish that Dippel had created a monster that was brought to life by a bolt of lightning.
- Dippel was the supposed inspiration for Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein (1811), as heard thru her stepmother/Brothers Grimm.
Lord George and the Dragon
In the 1200s, a dragon lived near the city well. He would go into the town and eat children at night. A knight named Lord George arrived in town, fought and stayed the dragon, but lost his life in the fray. Lord George is buried in the castle grounds. (It is unclear where the dragon is buried.)
Fountain of Youth
Legend has it that on the first full-moon night after Walpurgis Night, (April 30/May 1) old women from the nearby villages had to undergo tests of courage. If successful, the woman was returned to her age when she was married.
Why It’s Supernatural:
You can visit the tomb of Lord George and look for the Fountain of Youth.
The Waldniel Hostert School
This school was a former Franciscan priory, St. Josefsheim. It is located near Düsseldorf and was built in 1913. After the Franciscans left in 1937, the school was taken over by the Nazis, who renamed it the Waldniel Institute and used it as part of their child euthanasia program. Children with mental disabilities were tortured and killed by the Nazis here, making it the site of some of the most vile and horrific atrocities of the Third Reich.
What It’s Supernatural
- Visitors hear bloodcurdling cries of poor young souls who died here.
- Reports of ghosts throughout the sprawling grounds.
The Little Ghost of Schwerin Castle
Schwerin Castle is located on an island in Lake Schwerin and was built sometime in the 900s. It has been a fort, palace, seat of government and a museum. But it is most known for its palace ghost or goblin, Petermännchen. Little Peter is only a few feet high and usually appears in 17th century clothing. He sometimes carries a sword or dagger and is the self-appointed watchman of the castle. Apparently he keeps away intruders by playing pranks, being a nuisance and creating loud banging noises. There are three stories that explain his origin.
- Story 1: When Christianity first came to the Schwerin area, a pagan god who was worshiped at the site of the present Schwerin castle, fled, leaving his spirit servants behind. Eventually these spirits also departed, except for one: Petermännchen, who would not leave his post. (Wiki)
- Story 2: In the mid 1100s the Prince of the Obotriten slayed a priest who destroyed an old pagan temple. The prince was cursed by the dying priest to haunt the castle as a dwarf-like creature. The prince became the guardian and good spirit of the ducal family. Apparently, he will continue in his small form until someone with a good heart releases him.
- Story 3: In the 13th century, Franciscan monks traveled from Lübeck to Schwerin to their monastery. When they stayed overnight at the house of a nobleman, they encountered a poltergeist. The spirit named “Puck” joined the monks and promised to be their servant in return for a jester’s dress. He followed them to Schwerin, where he worked for the monks and haunted within the monastery. During the Protestant Reformation, the monastery was destroyed and the stones were used for Schwerin Castle. With the stones came “Puck,” who is now called Little Peter.
Why It’s Supernatural:
- Little Peter can be seen roaming the halls of the castle, carrying keys and unlocking doors.
- He is reported to change clothing/colors depending upon the happy or sad events happening at the castle.
Schwerin Castle, near Hamburg, Germany