Ghost stories from Germany
Ghost stories from Germany
As if 2020 hasn’t been terrifying enough, Halloween is right around the corner and soon we will have to add spooky ghosts and demonic spirits to our ever-growing list of things to worry about.
While trick-or-treating and the other usual Halloween shenanigans won’t be taking place this year, there’s still plenty of ways you can get into the spooky spirit at home. Why not go old school and kick back with a good-old-fashioned ghost story? Luckily for you, we have picked two ghost stories from Germany, filled with murder and mystery, for you to creep yourself out with.
The White Lady of Hohenzollern
Around 500 years ago, the prince-elector of Brandenburg, Joachim II, took a mistress called Anna Sydow after his second wife, Hedwig Jagiellon of Poland, suffered a severe injury. The injury put a great strain on his marriage and the elector grew very close to Anna, putting her up in the Jagdschloss Grunewald, a Renaissance-style castle in Berlin.
Joachim grew so found of Anna that he was even seen in public with her, which disgruntled the public. They had several children together and Joachim even bestowed the title of Countess von Arneberg on his daughter, Magdalene. The years passed and one day, Joachim made his son, Johann Georg, swear an oath to protect Anna after his death. He made his son swear the oath again a year later and, a year before his death, arranged for Magdalene to be placed in the care of Johann.
Despite his promises, Johann reneged on his oath and imprisoned Anna in Spandau Citadel, almost immediately after his father died. Johann then married Magdalene to a court pension clerk. Anna remained in the prison for four years until she died.
Johann continued his life as elector of Brandenburg, imposing taxes on the poor and exiling the Jewish people from Brandenburg. He thought he had seen the last of Anna Sydow, but he was wrong. Eight days before his death, Anna appeared as a ghastly apparition; the White Woman.
Hell hath no fury
Sightings of the White Woman have persisted since that time, particularly before the death of one of the Hohenzollern Kings of Prussia. In the mid-1800s, King Frederick William IV of Prussia, stopped by Pillnitz Castle to visit his cousins, the King and Queen of Saxony.
That night, everything was still. The air was cold and crisp, and it was silent as a strange fog descended on the castle. Reports by on-duty sentries from that night tell of five ghastly spectral figures walking through the castle walls and towards the King’s chambers. One figure, a White Woman, lead the other four, headless men carrying a casket. Inside the casket, another man lay, a crown where his head was supposed to be.
The next day, King Frederick William began to suffer from terrible symptoms, which would continue for three months. He suffered a haemorrhagic stroke which would leave him incapacitated. He remained this way for three years, until he finally died.
The White Woman has all but disappeared, mainly due to the German monarchy being abolished, as the House of Hohenzollern had no more kings in its line. It is said, however, that she might appear to the forsaken few who wander around the Berlin Schloss or the Spandau Citadel.
The warrior princess of Eltz
Burg Eltz is a picturesque medieval castle, tucked away in the hills in the west of Germany, between Koblenz and Trier. It is one of Germany’s more famous castles and has never been destroyed or taken in battle. Since its construction, and even to this day, the castle has been owned by the Eltz family.
The castle is also said to be haunted by the forlorn ghost of Agnes, daughter of a fifteenth-century earl from the noble Eltz family. Agnes’ hand in marriage was promised to the squire of Braunsburg when they were both just children. Years passed and as the two passed into adulthood, their engagement day drew close. Their families arranged for them to finally meet for the first time, just days before the engagement took place.
Upon meeting the young squire, Agnes was shocked at how rude and callous he was. Agnes begged her father to call off the engagement, but he refused - the marriage had been sealed years ago and had to be honoured. Negotiations concerning dowry and heritage began between the two families. In the final meeting, when everything had been agreed, the squire turned to kiss his soon-to-be bride. Agnes refused to kiss her betrothed and he responded angrily, swearing vehemently at her.
Till’ death do us part
Tensions rose and the squire’s family were expelled from the castle. The Braunsberg squire raised his forces and laid siege. The Eltzer guards were tricked into leaving the castle and chasing an expeditionary force, allowing the squire to sneak in with his heavily armoured bodyguard one night. They began massacring the Eltzer residents, servants and the few guards that were left behind.
Agnes awoke to the sound of murder and upon seeing the slaughter from the window of her tower, rushed to the castle armoury. She took her brother’s ornate breastplate and sword and rushed into battle, ferociously hacking back the attackers. Her courage inspired the few remaining defenders to slowly turn the tide of the battle. The attackers seemed all but beaten until an arrow struck and pierced Agnes’ armour, fatally wounding her.
Upon seeing her fall, the Eltzer defenders rushed the squire, hacking him down and driving off the attackers. The castle was saved but Agnes succumbed to her wounds, her spirit forever cursed to haunt the very castle she fought to defend.
Hopefully, these ghost stories have got you in the mood for some Halloween fun. What will you be doing for Halloween this year? Let us know your ideas for fun activities at home - costume competition anyone?