BECAUSE GETTING A LITTLE SCARED CAN BE QUITE ENTERTAINING AT TIMES, AND NOT JUST AT HALLOWEEN, WE’VE GATHERED THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TALES, LEGENDS, AND SPOOKY STORIES ABOUT SALZBURG’S FAMOUS SIGHTS. A FEW GOOSEBUMPS ARE VERY MUCH ENCOURAGED!
SHUDDERS AND GOOSEBUMPS: TALES AND LEGENDS ABOUT SALZBURG'S EXCURSION DESTINATIONS
Nearly every child in these parts is familiar with the story of the famous Salzburg “bull washers”. But Hohensalzburg Fortress can be a spooky place, too: The White Lady is a ghostly figure said to be seen at night, drifting in flowing robes along the walls and passageways of Salzburg’s iconic landmark. Legend has it that she appears whenever difficult times loom over the city: such as in 1322, on the eve of the Battle of Mühldorf.
FLASHLIGHT TOUR OF HOHENSALZBURG FORTRESS
These and many more eerie tales and legends can also be heard during the family-friendly flashlight tours held around Halloween on the 30th and 31st of October 2023 at Hohensalzburg Fortress. In keeping with the Halloween theme, the history of the holiday, as well as customs from the past and present, will be explained. Participants who come in costume will receive a special little surprise!
More information about the event
In the Chamber of Curiosities at the DomQuartier, true to its name, lie an array of wondrous artifacts. Many of them have a rather gruesome history: Take, for example, the two "Tödlein," small statues representing death intended to remind people of their mortality in times of plague, poverty, and war, when life could end abruptly. To ward off these misfortunes, numerous aids were used, which can likewise be viewed in the Chamber of Curiosities: For instance, the "Pestsegen," medallions intended to protect against the plague, made from ibex horn and filled with holy relics. Protection was also promised by the so-called "bezoars." These lumps formed in the stomachs of cattle (gastric stones) were ground into a powder over drinks to guard against any potential poison contained therein.
CRAFTING IN THE CREEPY ART LAB
In keeping with the Halloween spirit, a spooky art lab takes place on the 30th of October 2023 at the DomQuartier, where children are free to allow their imaginations to run wild. There will be great ideas for decorating, experimenting, and getting scared, for younger and older kids aged 4 and up. More information about the event
Hohenwerfen Castle also provides ample occasion for a shudder or two. Due to its strong fortifications, the castle served as a prison throughout its history. Even two archbishops of Salzburg were held there against their will for a time, though under less harsh conditions than the other “common” prisoners. Thick walls encase the dungeon. Within this nearly 9-meter-deep pit, a farmer from Lungau was once imprisoned, eventually becoming known in the castle’s history as the “Silent Prisoner”. He spent 22 years of his life in Hohenwerfen for heresy, during which time he did not utter a single word. When he was finally pardoned in his old age, he chose to stay voluntarily and worked until his death on October 5, 1782, as a jailer there.
MYTHOS JACKL - WITCHES AND WARLOCKS IN SALZBURG
The current special exhibition "Mythos Jackl - Witches and Warlocks in Salzburg" also causes a few goosebumps. On four floors, visitors are able to delve into the world of witches and wizards, from the fairy-tale figures in books and films to the historically documented trials of the “Boy Sorcerers” in Salzburg, and even present-day cults around the world. More information about the exhibition
Mauterndorf Castle, in the Salzburger Lungau region, looks back on a less terrifying history. After all, it wasn’t so much a defensive fortification in its historical role, but rather a toll station where traveling traders merely had to pay their duties. However, Mauterndorf wouldn’t be a proper castle without its share of eerie legends, now would it? Perhaps the most terrifying is that of a priest who was walled in as punishment. A small hole was allegedly left at head height to allow him food and drink. But eventually, even this opening was sealed, and the poor man perished. Whether his spirit is still heard knocking at night? Who knows, who knows...
Less creepy but equally fascinating is the legend of the dwarves who supposedly once lived and worked in the salt mines on the Dürrnberg. It wasn’t uncommon for the miners to enter the mountain in the morning and find their work already completed by these friendly beings. But then, the Archbishop ordered the ringing of morning bells, intended to admonish the frequently tardy miners to be more punctual. The dwarves found the church bells so disturbing that, reluctantly and with heavy hearts, they were compelled to leave the Dürrnberg and were never seen again, much to the miners' regret, who now had to do all the work themselves. This seemingly unremarkable tale might, at second glance, be interpreted as the miners' criticism of the persecution of Protestants in Salzburg in the 18th century. After all, in 1731/32, on the Archbishop's orders, 780 miners from the Dürrnberg, along with their families, were compelled to leave their homeland.
The Untersberg has always been shrouded in tales and legends, from the storied Emperor Charlemagne awaiting his eventual return inside the mountain, to fantastical stories that suggest holes in time and entire alternate worlds deep within. True or not, who can say? What is certain, however, is that a visit to the Salzburg Open-Air Museum at the foot of the Untersberg guarantees visitors a personal journey through time. Here, you can marvel at buildings spanning six centuries, with the oldest dating back to 1442. Yet, even as time seems to fly by during a visit, there is really zero need to fear accidentally stepping into a time warp!
The legend of the creation of the Pasterze Glacier can definitely leave you feeling uneasy: the area around the glacier was once fertile land, so they say. But during a church service on one particular September 8th, a farmer committed a sacrilege by denying an old woman food. As it had to be, a storm arose, enveloping everything in snow and ice, killing everyone who had gathered at the annual event. This saga is actually reflected in the names of many peaks: the sinful Burgstaller farmer and his two sons, petrified, stand immortalized as the Grosser, Mittlerer, and Kleiner Burgstall amidst the ice of the upper Pasterze. Father Johannes, the priest, was found dead at the summit of the Johannisberg. The Pfandlbauer, fleeing towards Salzburg, was caught in the storm on the Pfandlscharte. The musicians weren’t far behind; their tragedy struck on the peak now known as the Spielmann. The old woman, who had unleashed the curse, perished as well. From the top of the Racherin, she had watched the horrifying events unfold.