Top 5 creepy castles in Germany

Top 5 creepy castles in Germany

by Genevieve Northup
Stripes Europe

When touring medieval castles, it’s easy to imagine kings and queens, ladies in waiting and knights in shining armor. But life in the Middle Ages was far from Disney-inspired fairy tales. Within the walls of many a medieval fortress were evil-doing egomaniacs, gruesome public executions and deadly disease. Add in some backstabbing royalty, and you have all of the ingredients for spooky stories at these creepy castles.

Jagdschloss Grunewald Berlin, Germany

Built in the 16th century by Elector Joachim II, the Grunewald hunting lodge is considered in the oldest castle in Berlin. For many years, Joachim openly courted Anna Sydow, though he was married to another woman. On his deathbed, Joachim requested that his son, Johann, take care of Anna. Following Joachim’s death, Johann immediately had Anna arrested, and she reportedly died after years of imprisonment in the Spandau Citadel. Later, Johann had dreams of a white figure in the weeks before he died. It was Anna seeking revenge.

A female skeleton was discovered within the wall of the lodge in the 1700s, perpetuating a legend that Johann actually had a wall built around Anna while she was still alive, rather than holding her in the citadel. The white lady has been spotted in the Jagdschloss Grunewald and the Spandau Citadel over the centuries.

Burg Eltz — Wierschem, Germany

Isolated from civilization, Burg Eltz was one of the few castles built near the Mosel that was never destroyed by war, fire or neglect. Thirty-three generations of the same family have lived and died here over the past 850 years. In the Middle Ages, as many as 100 family members lived within the soaring nine-story towers.

The Count and Countess of Eltz probably wouldn’t admit it, but at least a few of their deceased kin probably still roam the grounds of the estate after dark. Caretakers over the years have noticed items large and small out of place in the morning, even though no one had stayed there overnight.

Neuschwanstein — Füssen, Germany

Known as the fairy-tale castle, the sleeping beauty castle and the Disney castle, it is hard to imagine Germany’s most famous (and, arguably, the world’s most famous) castle as being anything other than stunning. However, King Ludwig II was an odd character who retreated within his imagination to escape the doldrums of life as a monarch. His peculiarities become evident while touring the few rooms that were completed, including an artificial cave on the third floor of the royal apartments.

In 1886, an upheaval by royal advisors resulted in a ruling that Ludwig was unfit to be king. Three days later, his body was found in a lake. Many believed the same commission that removed him from the throne murdered him. His castle was open to the public for tours a few weeks later and remains unfinished.

Burg Bergwartstein — Erlenbach bei Dahn, Germany

Burg Bergwartstein was the residence of Hans von Trotha or Hans Trapp, a medieval robber baron. The imposing Palatinate marshal was infamous for his feud with the local abbey. Abbot Henry disputed Hans’ claim to the castle lands, saying the property actually belonged to the Weissenburg Monastery. In retaliation, Hans first built a dam to rob Weissenburg village (now the French town of Wissembourg) of water, then removed the dam, causing devastating flooding. Murals of this despicable story were painted in the great hall of the impregnable castle. Hans’ cruelty became a part of regional folklore, and the mention of his name would scare misbehaving children straight.

Burg Frankenstein — Mühltal, Germany

If your idea of Halloween fun has you longing for a terrifying trip through a stateside haunted house, look no further than the grandest and most unique you will ever visit. Burg Frankenstein, near Darmstadt (not to be confused with the ruin in Frankenstein village south of Kaiserslautern) was the birthplace of an alchemist who performed disturbing experiments on cadavers in an attempt to raise the dead. Dr. Dippel and the Frankenstein castle are rumored to have inspired Mary Shelley’s novel about a mad scientist and his monstrous creation.

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