A Peek into The Paranormal Activity at Haunted Castles in Romania
Romania has many beautiful sights and enigmatic places to explore. Some of the options available include places that can give you a fright – here are six of Romania’s long-standing and legendary castles which are rumored to be common sites of paranormal activity.
Banffy Castle: Nazi Hospital and Site of War Games
Banffy Castle is located in Bontida, where it was built between 1437 and 1543 by the Banffy family. In 1944, Nazis turned the castle into a military hospital. Many people died from this time until the end of the war. Later on, the castle was used as a storage place, and ultimately work began for a partial renovation. Today, only the chapel and a small part of the castle are renovated. The place is known for its paranormal activity. Local youngsters have always liked to gather inside the castle’s ruins to organize various games such as war games. Because of this, many of them got to witness firsthand some paranormal manifestations.
Banffy Castle, Bontida, Romania. ( Cristian Bortes/ CC BY 2.0 )
When they were ten years old, two local girls came across a secret underground tunnel. One end of the tunnel was at the castle, while the other was at the Greek-Roman Church, and the place was provided with some sort of transportation. Children played in the tunnel until locals decided to have it blocked. Children once encountered many bats flying in the tunnel, although there had never been any other bats in the area. The castle and its grounds are said to be haunted by the restless spirits of those who died there while it functioned as a hospital. Nazi ghostly silhouettes have also been seen wandering around the place.
Bran Castle: Well-Known Site for Paranormal Investigations
The construction of Bran Castle was completed in 1377 for military purposes. Over time, various towers were added, and in 1920 Queen Maria ordered its restoration. Probably one of the best known castles of Romania, Bran Castle is identified for its hauntings and has been visited countless times by paranormal investigators.
Bran castle, Romania. ( Mennowijnen/CC BY SA 3.0 )
Locals know that many restless spirits haunt the place and the castle has one location where a strong scent of violets can be sensed from time to time. Among the more famous spirits believed to be haunting the site are Vlad the Impaler and Queen Maria.
Hunyadi Castle: One of the Most Haunted Castles in the World
One of the main symbols of the city of Hunedoara, Hunyadi Castle (“Castelul Huniazilor”) is also known as Corvin Castle (“Castelul Corvinilor”). It was built by Ioan de Hunedoara in the 15th century as a feudal residence and for strategic purposes. There are many legends surrounding the construction, such as the one about the Turkish prisoners who built the interior fountain. The story says that they were promised freedom, but after 15 years of work, they remained slaves. For this reason, one of the prisoners added the following inscription to the fountain: “The one who wrote this inscription is Hasan who lives as a slave for the giaour in the fortress near the church”. Even today, Turkish tourists throw coins into the fountain in the memory of their enslaved countrymen.
Hunyadi Castle in Hunedoara, Romania. ( Craig Heimburger/CC BY SA 3.0 )
Another tale talks about King Sigismund of Luxembourg’s son with a commoner. He gave the woman a precious ring to give to her son upon his coming of age - when he was to go to the castle. In court his true identity could be recognized with the help of the ring, but, one day, a raven stole the ring. Ioan of Hunedoara killed it with an arrow, recovered the ring and the king heard his story in court. As a result, the raven was added on the Hunyadi family crest.
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Vlad the Impaler was also a prisoner at Corvin Castle. Held in the cell below the Hall of Knights (“Sala Cavalerilor”), he had to endure harsh conditions and eat rats in order to survive. Some even go as far as to claim that, during this time, he lost his mind and became Dracula, the terrible bloodthirsty ruler.
Stained glass window inside Hunyadi Castle. Hunedoara County, Romania. ( Roamata/ CC BY SA 3.0 )
Still, the most interesting aspect about Hunyadi Castle is represented by the hauntings. This castle is one of the most haunted castles in the world. Ghostly silhouettes appear in photographs and violent ghosts are thought to wander the halls and chambers at night. When some tourists tricked the guards to remain in the castle at night, they came out the next day bruised, beaten, and terrified - they had supposedly suffered the wrath of an angry ghost. The ghost had tortured them until the early morning.
Poenari Castle: Built with Human Blood
Poenari Castle (“Cetatea Poenari”) originated as a form of punishment. It was built by Vlad the Impaler’s boyar families for having killed Mircea, the son of the ruler, and human blood was used for making the stones of the fortress stick together. In addition, in order to ensure the endurance of the construction, a human sacrifice of men, women, and children was performed there.
Entrance to Poenari Castle. ( Bejan Neculai /CC BY SA 3.0 )
The spirits of these people are now the restless ghosts haunting the place and, according to historical records, there could be around 1,500 souls wandering the halls and the domain of the castle. At night, people as well as animals in the area are harassed by the ghosts, strange noises can be heard, and other sorts of odd paranormal activity is said to take place.
The Ghostly Castle of Iulia Hasdeu
After his daughter’s death, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu held séances to contact his daughter’s departed soul. Apparently the girl, Iulia Hasdeu, responded and gave him instructions regarding the construction of the castle.
Located in Campina, the castle was built in a way that would allow the girl’s spirit to return and talk to her father. Iulia Hasdeu died in 1888 when she was 19 years old, and her father, who could not accept her death, attempted to contact her soul. He succeeded for the first time in Bucharest, at the crypt in Bellu Cemetery. Three years later, the construction of the castle was completed.
Portrait of Iulia Hasdeu. ( Public Domain )
The castle is based on symbols and principles, such as the all-seeing eye or the numbers three and seven, and it has a special room named the obscure chamber. This room has a round hole through which the girl’s soul is said to enter and leave the castle. Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu also attempted to photograph his daughter’s soul during various spiritual photo sessions.
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One night, locals saw Iulia Hasdeu as a full-body apparition. She went out on the terrace holding daisies (even though they were not in season). The next day, the daisies were found on the floor. At night, the girl’s soul sometimes plays the piano and her father’s applause can also be heard. On even rarer occasions, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu is said to appear at the window, howling like a wolf. Apart from Hunyadi Castle and Banffy Castle, the Castle of Iulia Hasdeu is the third most popular of Romania’s castles for paranormal activity.
Iulia Hasdeu Castle, Campina, Romania. ( Constantin Barbu / CC BY 2.0 )
Cantacuzino Castle and Its Orb Sightings
Not only is Cantacuzino Castle said to be haunted, but so is its entire territory. Some tourists who have taken pictures inside the castle have found luminous spheres, called “orbs” by paranormal researchers. An authentic orb must have a perfectly round shape, it must emit its own light, and have a flight trajectory, all of this has to be accompanied with an assurance that there are no sources of light in front of the camera (which might create false orbs). There are numerous theories about these orbs.
While some look at orbs as the spirits of people who have lived in the area or the spirits of the ascended masters trying to send a message, others consider that these manifestations appear in times of silence and concentration, and say that their colors having certain meanings. Usually, orbs appear in places known for paranormal activity, and the most well-known theory regarding their appearance views them as a method of manifestation for spirits or entities trying to make themselves known. Apart from orbs, black shapes also appear at times in photographs when there is light.
Returning to the history of Cantacuzino Castle, many of the members of the family by which the castle is named have suffered violent deaths, some even ending up decapitated. Apart from the orbs which appear in the photographs taken inside the castle and on its domain, some tourists have also caught strange lights in photos. These are a type of flying lights which cannot be seen by the naked eye and which have no visible source, but which do appear in photographs.
Cantacuzino Castle. ( Erkcor/CC BY 3.0 )
Such lights have also been photographed on a small terrain located near Gheorghe Doja Street, at the end of the road opposite from Cantacuzino Castle. The area has a small hill going up to the forest covered mountain and, of course, it was part of the castle’s land. Apart from the orbs and flying lights which only appear in photographs, tourists have also heard strange sounds of high intensity, which they say do not resemble any familiar sound.
Featured Image: (Clockwise from top left): Sculpture at Bran Castle. ( yeowatzup/CC BY 2.0 ) Hunyadi Castle. ( Carcea Daniel/CC BY SA 3.0 ) Iulia Hasdeu Castle. ( Public Domain ) Banffy Castle. ( Utilizator:Ggl/ CC BY 2.5 )
By Valda Roric
Valda Roric – “Supernatural in the Land of Count Dracula”
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History, and paranormal