If you are looking for a most sinister place in which to set your story, why not choose that of Moosham Castle. It is considered one of the most haunted castles as well as the administrative center of the Zauberarjackl witch trials and the site for werewolf hunts in the 1800’s.
Although no traces of the earlier structure remain, Moosham Castle is believed to have been built on the foundations of a Roman castrum fortress.
If we travel back from 1675 and 1690, the administrative center was responsible for all: trial, sentencing, and execution during the Salzburg witch trial. 139 people were killed during this time. A horrific number of 39 children between the ages of 10 and 14 were accused and executed for witchcraft. This is where 53 teenagers also met a bloody end to their life.
As we look for stories to tell, they ly everywhere. All we need to do is look. An unusually large number of those killed were male (113). The records named every single victim. They youngest, a boy named Hannerl. He had just turned 10. The eldest was Margarethe Reinberg, 80 years old.
The methods of execution were brutal, even for this time period. The sadistic authorities preferred a process of slow torture. Only when an individual was close to death would they be offered the small mercy of a hanging or decapitation. Children were made an example of. They would chop their hands off and mark their chests with a burning iron, then kept alive and paraded in front of the locals as a warning.
As we look into our stories of the past, it is inevitable that we should hear the Voices of the Past, echoing their stories back to us.
During the late 18th century Moosham Castle would experience another troubling period after the witch trials had ended. Reports of deer and cattle were being found dead on the castle grounds. Bloodthirsty locals would immediately jump to the conclusion that in their minds seemed “logical” , that werewolves were at the castle. The residents of Moosham would be rounded up and murdered for their nocturnal predilections leaving Moosham abandoned for several decades afterwad.
Moosham Castle has made a name for itself especially for believers of the supernatural looking for the castle’s many ghosts. It is rumored that the many screams of witch trial victims can be heard at night, as well as werewolves who apparently still prowl the grounds .
There are other tales and legends to be told of Moosham Castle. One such being that of a bailiff named Anton. He ruled Moosham Castle in the mid 1900’s. Nicknamed Schorgen-Toni, known for his cruelty. He had taken pleasure in torturing his prisoners in the most horrible ways and had even mistreated his own parents. His behavior was well known throught the region, but he was never punished for his crimes. The locals had started to believe that he had sold his soul to the devil.
As the story continues, one night a storm swept over the land. He had made his final round in the dungeon, enjoying seeing the wounds and pain he had inflicted during that day. Once he was satisfied he went to his apartments. He heard this storm and an uncomfortable thought popped into his mind. Needing to shake the feeling from him, he takes a drink and settles into his chair. In the meantime, a carriage drawn by four shiny, black horses came closer to the castle’s gate. The gates open for this unknown guest as if done by magic. The carriage stops in the castle’s courtyard and a figure dressed in black gets out. The bailiff, Toni, nearly dozed off, suddenly hears a knock at the door. Toni opens the door and the figure in black is there. The stranger speaks to him. Toni begins to plead, knowing this day would come eventually, but he was not ready to face his fate. The dark figure is ruthless. It dragged Toni along in his carriage and took him down to Hell, for eternity.
Throughout the years Moosham Castle has been open to the public and many reports of paranormal incidents have been claimed. Some people feel as if they are being watched, touched even, especially in the torture chamber. Others feel as if they are being breathed on. A strange white mist and shadow figures have been seen in the corridors. During EVP sessions, dismbodied voices have been heard and a dark presence is often felt in Toni’s room where doors tend to open and close on their own. Other claims have been of people hearing footsteps, but once they turn around, nothing is there.
While these stories are creepy, they are still one’s that should be told. As we look for that one detail that could make or break our story, the tale in which we choose to write, it may be here, in the depths of these places and voices speaking out.