Slovakia is a country with rich and various legends and stories among which you can find haunted castles, white ladies, spirits and some other enchanted creatures. It’s even though has a festival dedicated for mysteries and legends amateurs and those charming creatures lovers – the International Festival of Ghosts and Monsters – which welcome you every year in the middle of spring in the Bojnice Castle, maybe one of the most haunted and picturesque castle in Slovakia, a place where mysterious deaths occurred over centuries that ensure a really spooky and eerie atmosphere.
While Slovak Ghost Hunters’ webpage is doing well and some isolated villages state to be haunted to attract more tourists – ghost stories seem to be quite a lucrative business in here – Bratislava has its very own bizarre stories, haunted mansions, creepy ghosts or lost souls, to mention only the best known, but nice legends as well, and as I’m more into those so I will start with the one of the giant in the castle.
One morning, the former residents of the castle woke up really tired and noticed everything was upside down in the castle. No one knew what happened. They summoned a witch who saw that a giant was living in the mountains in the west. On his way to his work, he had flipped the castle to use it as a table. So they found out that they could draw a map out of rocks in the castle courtyard so the giant can use a different route. Since they sleep without a worry.
To go back with the ghosts, one of the most popular is the one of Saint Martin’s Cathedral. Late 17s, a ghost appeared to Regina Fischer, a girl from Hallstatt visiting Bratislava, about a hundred times. He was the ghost of a crook who stole money from his widow – among other many crimes – and couldn’t get any rest until someone help him. He asked Regina to get the money back and use it for a statue of Holy Mary. As a proof, the ghost left his handprints in a wooden beam of the cathedral to convince the widow. Legend says they are still there.
Last but not least, there is a good story in the very heart of Bratislava, Hlavné Námestie, about Maximilian’s Fountain – also referred and most commonly known as Roland’s Fountain, after the famous knight who played on horn. Bratislava inhabitants knew him because of the love song he was singing in the square, resting from the battle before going back to France. But the children loved so much his song they couldn’t find sleep without it after his departure. So the mayor of the city decided to build a fountain with a statue of him and water that would sound like the song he was singing. Legend also says that every New Year’s Eve, the statue turns its head toward the former town hall and bows to the noble ones who fought with him to protect the city. Its also comes to life in Good Friday to wave its famous sword to all four sides of the city in a protective sign. But only a born citizen of the city who never did harm to anyone can witness the miracle.
Apparently we have our very own ghost here in A4. Bartenders know it. Some have witnessed it. When they work, strange stuff might happen: glasses and chairs are falling down without any reason, others are simply disappearing. Vibration in the wall. And there is more. Hidden doors with no access. Weekly meetings of a church. Money going missing. Once a girl even quit the job because of the uncool energy she was feeling – she also claimed that she saw three ghosts. So yes it can be a bit tricky when you’re alone is a big old building like this – especially during the opening and closing hours. But isn’t it the thing with old buildings to create an atmosphere and let you feel something?
The only supernatural stuff I can recognize is that one night the little Virgin Mary vanished from her alcove. But I guess it was more the prank of a drunk student who find it challenging to stole it. So is the place haunted? Or just the regular life of an old building near a busy street? Poltergeist? Nice spirit? Wanna dare check out by yourself?
Header picture & last picture by Miriam Chair