GHOSTour to Prague and Frankenstein Castle took a group of travelers to the scariest and most haunted locations in Germany and the Czech Republic. Twenty three like-minded guests from North America, many of whom had already journeyed to Transylvania for the Dracula Tour or a previous GHOSTour, jetted to Europe for the travel adventure of a lifetime.
Author Jocelyn Miller was one of the participants, and she wrote about her adventures on this May 3-10, 2015 Tour of Terror. Below is Part One detailing some of the highlights experienced in the first half of the trip, in Germany. In Part Two we check out the Czech Republic, including Prague, with Jocelyn’s unique writing style. (Read Part 2 here: http://atombash.com/article/ghost-tour-to-prague-and-frankenstein-ca…)
Tour of Terror PRAGUE GHOSTour 2015 Tour Report by Jocelyn Miller
“Don’t be ghouled into thinking this is just another trip to Prague, my fellow travelers of the dark. Think more of thick, deep, forests of a mystical European countryside in the middle ages. Think of stone castles chillingly set atop forested hills. Think of cold, unforgiving prisons, and instruments of torture in the bowels of those stone castles. Think of werewolves, witches, gypsies and superstitions that haunt the winding roads of a German/Czech countryside, and you will have a picture of this fabulous kaleidoscope of a haunted and mysterious journey into middle & eastern Europe. You are in for a treat, my friends of the dark night.
You begin your journey with a visit to a unique and expansive quaint cemetery in the heart of Frankfurt, where Mausoleums house the dead and welcome the living. Peruse the Gypsy Mausoleum which stands alone, ornate and individual, a jewel in the mass of the conventional. Notice the nuances of the endless headstones and statues along the maze of forested paths. Finish this peaceful— albeit, dread-filled— visit to this serene graveyard with a hypnotizing gaze down Crypt Hall, and its seemingly infinite view. Before leaving Frankfurt and its morbid Mausoleums, see the City Centre and pass over the Old Bridge where men were simply hanged for wrong doing, but women tied and placed together with a stray cat in a bag before being thrown over the bridge to drown. As if the drowning were not sufficient punishment, imagine the cat scratching away at both the bag and the helpless woman in an effort to escape its watery grave. But, alas, there was no escape for these unfortunate souls.
As you journey by coach through the picturesque countryside of Germany, you wait in anticipation for Frankenstein Castle, and gasp in awe as it comes into sight through the thick cover of forest; a rugged towering glimpse of a time gone by and a story that has survived the ages. Burg Frankenstein is a hilltop Castle in the Odenwalk overlooking the German city of Darmstadt. As you pass within its foreboding walls you are chilled and thrilled to the bone, for it does not disappoint! It is alleged that this Castle may have served as inspiration for Mary Shelley when she penned her 1818 Gothic novel “Frankenstein.” And for very good reason. Imagine the 18th century resident, alchemist Konrad Dipple, who worked furiously in his laboratory in this very castle attempting in vain to create a formula that would prolong his life well into the 100’s. Imagine the villagers whose suspicions painted the picture of a mad scientist, collecting body parts to create his magic potion. Explore every inch of the castle grounds, and depart knowing you have experienced Burg Frankenstein.
When you have recovered from this ominous stop along the way, continue on to Heidelberg by way of the vast German countryside. There, the visit to its magnificent castle is preceded by a unique climb up the Funicular, a cross between a trolley, passenger escalator and haunted theme park adventure ride.
The majestic castle, ornate and magnificent, watches over the charming village below. It sits on a hillside overlooking the Neckar River in the valley below. The area holds Celtic ruins, Roman ruins and even the ruins of a theater built by the Nazis. Locals have reportedly heard voices that wail throughout the valley. Others have seen hooded apparitions walking between the castle and the sacred ruins. Could spirits from a by-gone era plague the castle all these centuries?
Away from the Castle and in the village and town centre of Heidelberg, don’t be fooled by the bustle of shoppers, enticing bakery windows and sidewalk cafés. Here, too, existed a time of darkness and superstition, well-illustrated by a visit to the Witches Tower. The Hexenturm, is a tower which translates to “Witches Tower.” Built in 1392, it was used as a prison for women and witches. Cringe as you view this ominous but amazingly well-preserved structure, for it was at this location that countless women were cruelly tortured and executed for nothing more than perhaps the possession of a medicinal herb mistaken for a witch’s spell.
Your Inn for the night is a place of comfort and rest, well-needed for the journey to Rothenburg, or Rottenberg, if you prefer. But it isn’t just a hotel, it’s a converted brewery in the heart of Heidelberg just minutes from the Castle, the Witches Tower and every imaginable shop and restaurant. Sleep well, as more horrors lie ahead.
Now take a journey into the past. Rottenburg is a most beautiful, historic walled city. Every view of the cobbled streets and charming architecture brings to light the reason for its very popularity, but there is more to this city than charm and beauty. Housed in Rottenburg is one of the most gruesome torture museums on the world, disguised as a ‘Criminal’ Museum.
Visit floors with endless tools of torture, weapons to ward off witches and implements of evil. See the museum’s witch and the “Iron Maiden.” Also, within this preserved walled city, not unlike Sighișoara in Transylvania where Vlad the Impaler was born, you will discover that when night falls, the seemingly enchanted village filled with Christmas other old-time shoppes becomes an enclosed fortress. It is at night that you meet ‘The Executioner.’
The Executioner greets you well by lantern light and is pleased to have the company, for the executioner is a lonely man, spurned by the city in which he keeps order. Through alleyways and darkened streets he leads your group of nervous travelers. His voice carries into the night the trials of his occupation for which he is doomed from birth. In the same chilling voice he details the gruesome talents performed on the unfortunates who are also doomed not to life, but to death by his trained and waiting hands. By now, you understand the “rotten” in the town’s name. But fear not, for you are a simple visitor to the dark side of Rottenburg and your pleasant lodging awaits with its beautiful restaurant and comfortable rooms.
The darkness and evil raises its ugly head at the next stop, infamous Nuremburg, also known as Nuernberg, where Hitler’s Nazi party grounds still stand in mute horror. Albert Speers’ chilling architecture, cold and grey, greets the visitor at the site of the ‘Museum of Documentation.’ Inside the museum a tragic chapter in history unfolds, telling of one man’s inconceivable ability to overpower a nation into performing demonic deeds. A walk around the placid lake of this massive compound sits a mighty structure where once Adolf Hitler stood overlooking his army as they marched in perfect unison past his viewing stand and down the parade route, a testament to his power over mankind. Stand in Hitler’s footsteps— if you dare— but leave behind the spirit of a madman. This may be the truest horror on a Tour of Terror.
Bid farewell to Germany and Bavaria and travel by coach to the Czech Republic. Even if you were well aware that your journey would include Frankenstein Castle, graveyards, dungeons, torture museums and a Witches Tower, what comes next is a shocking surprise.”
NEXT: Part Two of Jocelyn Miller’s Tour of Terror PRAGUE GHOSTour 2015 Tour Report. Read Part 2 here: http://atombash.com/article/ghost-tour-to-prague-and-frankenstein-ca…)