Haunted Castles in Bohemia and Slovakia Part I.

Castle Čachtice

The Castle of Čachtice is located in Western Slovakia. It was once inhabited by Elizabeth Bathory, a member of Hungarian royalty. She was known as the “Blood Countess of Čachtice”. The legend says that Elizabeth accompanied her female lover, Anna Darvulia. With the aid of 2 servants, they killed over 600 young women. Elizabeth used to bathe in their blood to stay young. These killings became an obsession for Elizabeth Bathory and went on for over 30 years. Elizabeth was captured on December 29, 1610, as she had just killed a servant for stealing food. Elizabeth Bathory was put on trial for murder and was declared insane by the judge. She was sentenced to confinement in the tower of Castle Čachtice. Her servant accomplices were executed by fire or beheading. Elizabeth died in 1614.

Castle Opočno

The owner of the Castle in the 15th century was Mikuláš Trčka of Lípa. He married a very young woman of a noble background. There was a big age difference between them. Mikuláš was away from home very often. As his young wife was very bored, she began an affair with a young man. Mikuláš discovered the affair and cruelly punished both of them. He had the lover beheaded; his wife was walled up alive in the castle cellar. The cellar was discovered in the 19th century during the reconstruction of the castle. Inside, the workers found a skeleton in a medieval dress fastened to a chair. When touched, unfortunately, it crumbled to dust.

Castle Bezděz

It’s one of our most valuable castles located in Northern Bohemia. According to a legend, once upon a time, three devils lived in the castle. One of them made a bet. He bet a mysterious knight that he could build a wall from Castle Bezděz and connect it to a nearby hill named Jested, and he would do this quicker than the knight could manage to ride the same distance on his horse. The race began. First, it seemed that there would be no doubt about the winner because the track went through deep gorges and thick forests: but then the plains opened and the knight was quicker than the wind! When he came close to Castle Bezděz, he outran the devil. The Devil lost his bet. He was so furious that he tore his apron full of stones, thus creating a “Devil’s Hill”. Today, it is also known as a “Small Bezděz”. Even now, you can still see a part of the wall near the town “Český Dub”.

Castle Špilberk

A majestic structure and once the Moravian seat, the Castle Špilberk defended its walls against many armies, namely Turks and Swedes. Later, it became a state prison for the worst criminals. One of its involuntary “guests” was Count Pandur Trenck, a leader of a pack of forest robbers who were meant to harm German enemies. Soon, they became too greedy and started to attack their own people. The Empress eventually lost patience with Pandur Trenck and had him caught and imprisoned for the rest of his days. By his own wish, he was buried in a long robe and enchained. However, even after his death, he did not find peace. He often wanders through Špilberk’s co­rridors at night and loudly swears while his chains rattle.

Castle Buchlov

Dating back to the 13th century, Buchlov is one of the oldest castles in Bohemia. That’s why many ghosts gather in its chambers. One of them is a “White Lady”. She scared a mean lord of the castle so much that he jumped out of his window and killed himself. Another apparition here involves a former owner of the castle. He has a habit of recounting his money throughout the night. Just at the moment that he seems almost at the end of his task, he makes a mistake and has to start over. During his life, he borrowed a large sum of money from the Templar Knights. Instead of returning it, he murdered them one by one during a Christmas feast in the Castle.