Mysteries of the Czech Republic by Sara McCasslin
This weeks entry is a fascianting article by guest writer and friend of the store Sara McCasslin.
Houska Castle. Unlike most castles of old, it wasn't built near a trade route or near crucial positions that need to be protected. It seems to be in the middle of nowhere as if someone randomly dropped a castle in the forest north of Prague. It has a dark history that involves rumors of demons and Nazi paranormal experiments.
A Fortress to Protect Those Outside
This striking edifice was built in the 13th century, supposedly to serve as an administrative center for overseeing the nearby royal estates. However, historical tales tell of a much different purpose for this castle. It is said that Houska Castle is built over a massive and deep crater, and unlike most castles, it was built to keep something inside rather than keep enemies out.
Monsters from the Spirit Realm?
During the 13th century, tales were told of demon-like, winged creatures that would emerge hungrily from the crater at night and prey on the local livestock (and sometimes the locals themselves). Those who witnessed these frightening creatures were convinced that the hole could be no less than a gateway to hell itself, and these murderous beings -- thought to be half-man, half-demon -- were the devil’s servants. As the livestock losses continued to grow, action became necessary.
Enclosing the Creatures
That action took the form of a castle to surround the crater, keeping the evil monsters inside. It took a brave group of medieval construction workers to begin the building process. Before the crater was to be covered up, curiosity overcame those involved. A deal was made with a prisoner condemned to death that he would be pardoned if he was willing to be let down into the crater and report what he saw. Desperate to avoid execution, the prisoner agreed.
A Glimpse into Unspeakable Evil
The fateful day came. He was placed in a large bucket that was tied to the end of a sturdy rope. Slowly the condemned man was lowered into the crater. Lower, lower, lower he went -- until the sunlight could no longer reach him. That’s when he began to scream a bloodcurdling scream that raised the hacks of every man on the site. As the cries became more and more maniacal, he was lifted to the surface as fast as the men could manage.
Evil Begets Insanity
As he was pulled out of the crater, the bystanders were shocked not only by the insane look in his eyes and the wrinkles that had formed on his face, but by the fact that his hair had turned completely white. He perished a short time later in an insane asylum, having never regained his sanity. The construction crew quickly finished up the process of sealing the hole, and now it is said that the creatures can only access the lowest floors of the castle. A chapel was then built over the pit as further protection against the evil beneath it.
Modern Day Manifestations
Modern day visitors hear the sounds of scratching on the lower walls and screams echoing from the center of Houska Castle. People have seen a beheaded horse running across the grounds, groups of people chained together manifest and then disappear moments later, and a horrific hybrid monstrosity that seems to be equal parts dog, bullfrog, and human.
Is It Real?
Of course, there will always be skeptics that question the truth of such outlandish stories. However, Adolf Hitler himself believed in them enough to make Houska Castle a center for genetic testing and occult experimentation. The skeletons of German soldiers, killed execution style, were later found on buried in the inner courtyard.