Creepy castles around Bavaria and Stuttgart

Neuschwanstein Castle | Photo by Bernhard Klar via 123RF.
Neuschwanstein Castle | Photo by Bernhard Klar via 123RF.

Creepy castles around Bavaria and Stuttgart

by Amanda Palumbo
Stripes Europe

Something many don’t know about me is my parents are paranormal investigators. Really. They have all the scientific equipment, they go on ghost hunts and they’ve even captured “evidence.” So, my “spook-meter” is probably more liberal than most, but after extensive research and internet rabbit holes, here are the top three creepiest castles Bavaria has to offer.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein’s epic architecture and fairytale beauty is always front and center. But what’s lurking in the background is equally fascinating. The castle that inspired Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” was built on the ruins of two former castles. Full-body apparitions wearing 17th-century military uniforms have been seen floating about this 19th-century castle. The ghosts got quite the castle upgrade.

Then there’s the man who commissioned this beast of a castle, King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Officially, Ludwig took his own life by drowning in the nearby lake, as he was recently declared “mentally unfit.” However, an autopsy showed there was no water in his lungs and he had suffered blows to his head and neck. There were also signs of strangulation. Ludwig’s ghost haunts the castle grounds, lamenting over being murdered and his beloved castle stripped away from him before it was completed.

You can visit and tour this bucket-list-worthy castle and see it’s ornate and intricate architecture up close. If you want that iconic shot from across the castle for your Instagram page, head to Marien Bridge.

Wolfsegg Castle

Burg Wolfsegg isn’t much to look at when compared to its Bavarian brother, Neuschwanstein, but the legend behind it is just as captivating. Its primary paranormal tenants date back to the 1500s when Knight Ulrich von Laaber hired two farmers to kill his wife, Klara, for having an affair with his arch-nemesis. Soon after, Ulrich and his two sons were found dead. While nothing is officially documented about their deaths, many believe it was his wife’s lover seeking revenge. For hundreds of years, there have been disembodied voices, bright orbs flying around and sightings of a woman in white around the castle, primarily in Klara’s bedroom.  A supposed psychic medium says the ghost is, in fact, Klara.

To make this property even spookier, in the woods surrounding the castle is a creepy cave the locals have named, “The Hole.” It’s not a very creative name but it is very spooky. For centuries, villagers have warned tourists not to go near it or they could disappear. Strange smells and crashing sounds often come from the cave. A group of investigators was brave enough to go inside where they found several tunnels and animal bones scattered about.

The castle now hosts tours, concerts and even weddings! Nothing says love like getting married in a castle where infidelity turned into murder. Patrons can even go see The Hole if they dare. The castle is not liable if you disappear.

Werdenfels Castle

Burg Werdenfels can be seen looming over Garmisch-Partenkirchen as if to remind the locals of its dark history. The late 1500s were not a good time for Bavaria. It was the “blame-everything-bad-on-witches” era. Whether it was a failed crop or an outbreak of the plague, it was all blamed on witchcraft. Over a seven-year period, 63 alleged witches were rounded up, imprisoned, tried and executed at Werdenfels Castle. The convicted were either burned at the stake or garroted, a very slow and painful form of strangulation. More than 10 percent of the village’s people were found guilty of witchcraft during this time.

Werdenfels developed such a terrifying reputation of wrongly executed souls haunting the grounds, they performed an exorcism and used some of the stones to build a church. The spirits weren’t satisfied and there are still reports of hauntings to this day.

The Wedenfels Castle ruins is a popular hiking destination. It also provides excellent views of the city’s rolling green hills and the Wetterstein Mountains. While steep at times, the trail is easy enough for the older kiddos to hike up. But I wouldn’t hang out there after dark.

After you visit Werdenfels you can head to Austria’s Mooshan Castle, which has a very similar story. It’s where 150 people between the ages of 10 and 80 were convicted of witchcraft, many tortured and executed. Patrons have reported banging sounds, footsteps, doors slamming shut and floating white mists.

There are roughly 20,000 castles throughout Germany, so you don’t have to go very far to find one. Each one has its own unique history and spooky folklore.

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