CASTLE HOUSKA – BUILT OVER THE ENTRANCE TO HELL
Posted December 5, 2014on:
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If you like your ghostly legends packed with gothic high drama and dark, satanic mysteries then Castle Houska certainly delivers the goods. After all, not every European castle can boast that it was allegedly built over an entrance to Hell! Castle Houska is situated nearly 50 km to the north of Prague in the Czech Republic. It was constructed in the early part of the 13th century, supposedly as an administration centre for the local area. Situated on a limestone cliff, and surrounded by impenetrable forests and swamps, it certainly wasn’t the most accessible of places, and wasn’t located near any major trade routes.
A strange anomaly was a large hole in the cliff-top which descended quite some way. Superstitious locals had it that strange half-animal half-human creatures had been known to fly out of the hole, wrecking havoc in the area, and that it was an entrance to Hell. As such, no one would go near it at night. The locals had attempted to fill the hole with stones, but – to coin a phrase – it was a mere drop in the ocean. During construction-work a party of men who had been sentenced to death were brought to the area, and offered a reprieve if they would agree to be lowered into the hole to see what was down there. The first one was duly lowered down on a rope. A terrible screaming broke out from the depths, and he was pulled out. When he emerged it was found that he had aged 30 years almost instantly.
The Castle was never intended to be used as a home or official residence, and yet even so it’s design was eccentric to say the least. It was fortified on the INSIDE, as if to keep something in, rather than to keep an enemy out. There was no kitchen or water supply, no stairways to the upper floors, and the hole was covered over with thick stone plates. Rumours have persisted over the centuries that it was actually built to keep the demons in Hell.
In 1639 a Swedish Commander, Oronto, chose the Castle as his base during the 30 Years War. Oronto was also reputedly a black magician and an alchemist, and presumably had chosen the Castle as the perfect place to pursue his work. His soldiers were a rough lot, who were deeply disliked in the area, and one night, a local sneaked up to the castle and shot Oronto through an open window.
The rumours of Oronto’s shady studies into the Occult can only have reinforced the Castle’s dark history. At the beginning of the 18th century the castle was remodelled to try and make it look more like a civilised country house, including adding stairways to the upper floors from the courtyard. In 1836 a Czech poet, Karel Hynek Macha, visited the Castle during a walking tour of the area. He spent a night there, and later confided to a friend that he had been plagued by deeply disturbing dreams, including one of a nightmarish, mechanised future, which he said was Prague in 2006!
During World War 2 the German SS were stationed at Castle Houska, although no one knows why as the Castle was of no strategic significance whatsoever. Naturally rumours have since abounded that the Nazi’s were involved in secret Occult studies and experiments at the Castle, and certainly the Nazi’s were obsessed with the Occult. After the war excavations at the castle unearthed the skeletons of three German soldiers, who had been buried in the inner courtyard. All of them had been executed.
Ghostly legends about the castle are rife. A headless black horse is said to gallop through the surrounding area. People have spoken of seeing a line of phantom people, all chained together, and each one with an injury or disability, marching forlornly towards the building. Inside the Castle, ghostly voices have been heard in the chapel, and screams coming from the upper floors where the Nazi’s were said to have carried out terrible experiments. A phantom White Lady also haunts the building. She must be easier on the eye than the grotesque human/frog/bulldog hybrid which has been sighted in the chapel area.
The chapel incidentally is dedicated to Michael, the Archangel who will lead God’s forces against the demons of Hell.
These days apparently the Castle has become a meeting-place for people interested in the paranormal. Some even believe it was built in a specific way to enable the use of time-travel and teleportation. Whatever the truth of the matter, Castle Houska is a fascinating place.