Frankenstein Castle is said to be spooky. It used to be an ordinary German castle for centuries, although the place has always been steeped in legends and myths.
Located at the western slopes of the Odenwald mountain range about 15km south of Darmstadt, the castle ruin offers stunning views over the Rhine valley. Indeed, it is worth a visit all around the year.
The castle was first mentioned in 1252, however, the wording of the deed gave the imagination that the castle was inhabited for quite some time.
With the wedding of Konrad II. Reiz von Breuberg and Elisabeth von Weiterstadt the noble dynasty of the Frankensteins came into existence. Since the 14th century two family lines of Frankensteins lived in the castle until it was sold to the landgraves of Hessen-Darmstadt in 1662.
Over the centuries the castle fell into disrepair, it was even used as a quarry, and there was not much left.
Grand duke Ludwig II. of Hesse and by Rhine finally decided to rebuild Burg Frankenstein castle in the 19th century, however, he did not follow exactly the old models. So the castle you see today might look slightly different than the original castle.
Johann Conrad Dippel was born at Frankenstein castle in 1673. He was a theologian, alchemist and physician who led a controversial and adventurous life which triggered lots of rumours. Fact is that he experimented with dead animals.
In his dissertation "Maladies and Remedies of the Life of the Flesh", Dippel claims to have discovered both the Elixir of Life and the means to exorcize demons through potions he concocted from boiled animal bones and flesh. This is the same essay in which Dippel claimed to believe that souls could be transferred from one corpse to another by using a funnel. (Source: Wikipedia)
The controversial theory that Dippel was a model for Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein has never been proven, although Shelley travelled in the Rhine area and might have heard about Dippel's activities.
In the 1970s US soldiers founded an annual Halloween festival at Burg Frankenstein, which is now the biggest of its kind in Germany. Since then, the castle is haunted by monsters and zombies at Halloween.
The courtyard is the main stage with fantastic shows. Go to the moat, and you will be threatened by monsters, werewolves, witches and zombies. For the very brave, the tower of terror introduces you to the dark side of the Middle Ages.
There is also a "monster-free" zone where you can party safely, enjoy weird cocktails and beef up your nerves with food.
For the faint-hearted and kids, the monsters become slightly tamer on Sundays. So this is the best time for families to join the Halloween fun.
Even if you visit in summer, you'll see the relics of the wild parties scattered all over the ground.
Are you ready to share the fun? I will see you at Frankenstein Castle. Boo!
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