Posts Tagged ‘German’

In Bordeaux, France is a scenic place in Haux that dates back to the 15th Century, it was used for vineyards to produce Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc. In 2003 the Chateaux was brought by the Holmes family and it is now being run as a hotel.

La Gorce has a reputation for being haunted, escalated no doubt thanks to Ghost Hunters International, due to it being cursed when the German’s seized it during World War II. They made it into a Nazi post.

Voices screaming things such as ‘fight’ have been heard by guests, other reports have come in about apparitions of soldiers, little girls and shadows in the hallways.

Whilst investigating Ghost Hunters International found problems with otherwise usually good equipment, EVP’s from the TV team and others also caught voices with things such as ‘This is mine’ and ‘get out’, some also believe that they have heard the name Pierre.

Another report says that a force pinned a woman to her bed one night, this has apparently been an experience for more than one guest. Have you been there and experienced anything?

Chateau-lagorce3

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Carl Tanzer, Feb 8th 1877 to July 3rd 1952, was a German-born radiologic technologist in Key-West, Florida, USA who developed a particularly morbid obsession for Elena Milagro de Hoyos, a tuberculosis patient. During his childhood and later in Genoa, Italy, he claimed he had been visited by a dead ancestor who revealed the face of his true love, her face was one of an exotic dark-haired woman.

22nd April 1930, de Hoyos came to the hospital for an examination, she was brought in by her mother. He recognised her as the woman from the visitations of his ancestor. De Hoyos was diagnosed with TB, a fatal disease at the time and eventually despite Tanzler’s best efforts she succumbed to the disease.

Tanzer paid for her funeral, with the permission of the family he then commissioned the construction of an above ground mausoleum. It was constructed in the Key West Cemetery and he visited there pretty much most nights. To be honest this already seems to rate high on the WTF list, but it gets more bizarre.

April, 1933 Tanzer crept into the mausoleum and stole her body, taking her home and here he said her spirit would visit. He claimed she often asked him to take her from the grave, and so it seems he did. What he did to preserve her sounds like a work of horror fiction. Her bones were attached together by wire and coat hangers, her face was fitted with glass eyes and as the corpses skin decomposed he would replace it with silk cloth, soaked in wax and plaster of Paris.

Her hair was replaced by using Hoyo’s wig hair, who gave him the hair? Well her mother had collected her hair for a wig and gave it to him after her death. I am still wondering why but at this point the story continues…

Tanzer filled her chest and abdominal cavity with rags to keep her in her original form, then dressed her, put on stockings and jewellery and kept her body in his bed. He then used a lot of fragrances, detergent and preserving agents to mask the msells. Yes I am still going, I did say it was morbid.

October 1940 (Seven years later) her sister visited Tanzley, she had heard odd rumours, Florida authorities were notified when she saw the truth for herself. He was found to be mentallyl competent, he was charged with destruction of the grave and theft of the body. Bizarrely he never had to defend himself because the case was dropped, the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. Even more upsetting for her family the body was put on display at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home and around 6,800 ish people came to see it.

Eventually she was reburied at the cemetery but to prevent tampering it was an unmarked grave. Strangely it seems the public mood was that sympathy for a hopeless romantic should be given to Tanzler. I can’t help but think that’s not quite the reaction I’d have had… later there was a claim that he had inserted a tube into her vagina too but this evidence has been met with scepticism, mostly because other than the rumour there appears to be no evidence…

Separated from the woman’s body he then used a death mask to create a life-sized effigy of Hoyos, the effigy lived with him until he died 3rd July. 1952. He was found on the floor three weeks after his death and died under the name Carl Tanzer.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum in Key West, Florida has an exibit that recreats the caring he did to her body. And Svbway to Sally have a video themed around it.

Carl Tanzler (1940)

A nightmare is a creature that rides on the chest of the victim while they sleep. The legend seems to be as old as the 13th century if not older. It is likely to have been born thanks to the sleep paralysis which people can experience.  Sleep Paralysis has been attributed to accounts for many things, such as incubus or succubus attacks or even ghostly attacks.

The mare was also blamed for horses who were found sweating in their stalls the next morning, seemingly the mare would hitch a ride on the horses back and that’s why they were found that way.  Some folklorists also suggest that they may well have been witches that took the shapes of various animals such as frogs, cats, horses, dogs and others. It is also said a dead “mora” will return as a ghost.

They are known as Moroi in Russia and they are either attributed to being a vampire or ghost. The Moroi is a ghost that leaves it’s grave and seeks out the energy of the living, however some are associated with the strigoi who are immortal vampires. It is believed that the Moroi might be the offspring of two strigoi parents. It may also however signify the death of an unbaptised child depending on the belief.

Germany has charms against such things and here is the one I found listed on Wikipedia.

  I lay me here to sleep;
   No night-mare shall plague me,
   Until they swim all the waters
   That flow upon the earth,
   And count all the stars
   That appear in the sky!
   Thus help me God Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!
   Original German:
   Hier leg' ich mich schlafen,
   Keine Nachtmahr soll mich plagen,
   Bis sie schwemmen alle Wasser,
   Die auf Erden fließen,
   Und tellet alle Sterne,
   Die am Firmament erscheinen!
   Dazu helfe mir Gott Vater, Sohn und heiliger Geist. Amen!

One of my favourite legends is the Germanic one, Faust. A scholar who is successful but dissatisfied with life, he makes a deal with the devil. Faust exchanges his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The “deal with the devil” has also become known as the Faustian deal where a person surrenders their moral integrity to achieve
power.

There are many different takes on the legend in books, opera, film and poetry at the very least. The puppet plays and theatre enactments were popular in Germany in the
16th Century where Faust and Mephistopheles were figures of vulgar fun. Christopher Marlowe made the play a classic in England with his “The Tragical History of Doctor
Faustus”. Goethe reworked this story some 200 years later and Faust is an intellectual who desires more than just the pleasures of meat and drink.

The overall story remains the same, Faust is very intellectual and yet bored with this. He calls on the devil, he wants more power, knowledge of magic and a way to indulge all
the pleasures and knowledge on earth. He makes a bargain, Mephistopheles will serve Faust with his magical powers. At the end of the term they will claim Faust’s soul which
will be eternally damned. The term usually appears as 24 years.

Faust makes great use of Mephistopheles during this term, during this he seduces a beautiful innocent girl called Gretchen. Her life is destroyed but her innocence brings her to the graceful Heaven. In Goethe’s reconstruction God saves him thanks to a combination of Faust’s constant striving and Gretchen’s prayers. However in the earlier tales he receives the full wrath of the Devil and is carried off to Hell.

1725 is the one that Goethe read when he was younger, the origin of the name of Faust is possibly thanks to Dr Johann Georg Faust who was a magician and alchemist. He obtained a degree from Heidelberg University in 1509. It is however possible that it comes from Gutenberg’s partner Fust, however I suspect there is no definitive way to
say yes to either.

As I am also a bit of a manga/anime fan I also feel compelled to mention that the name (and story of similar types) frequently seems to turn up in some of my favourites. In Yami
No Matsuei (Descendents of Darkeness) a version of the Tartini story where a young man makes a pact with a devil to play the “Devil’s Trill”, in their version however the young man is unwittingly part of the devil’s pact when a lense from the previous owner is transplanted and the demons contract transfers.

In Blue Exorcist Mephisto Pheles is the headmaster of a school that deals with Exorcism’s and is a rather eccentric demon, to put it mildly.

Aside from that we have the “magical Mr Mephistopheles” from Cats. And lastly, since I am actually happy to do my own art and stories, I leave you with my little projects on the
matter so far.

Warning – fairly lengthy post for me!

London was and remains a large scale part of English history, past and future. During the pre-Victorian and through the Victorian period finding a place to bury the dead was no easy task. London’s capital for instance had doubled in a short space, with it came the dead and more need to inter them.

Finding a cemetery that could be used for the purpose could be just as difficult as picking a first home. Cemetery space was at a prime, people needed the space and bodies were left in terrible states around the capital city. Regularly graves were desecrated and re-used, disinterred bones were left scattered across grounds. It wasn’t just cemeteries either but the results of this terrible lack of organisation meant that there was a great deal of risk for disease with the material from decomposing bodies entering drinking wells and springs.

1848-1849 saw a cholera outbreak that killed nearly 15,000 Londoners and made it very obvious that there was a drastic need to sort the situation out. A brilliant description of some of the problems was documented by G A Walker in his Gatherings from Graveyards, I have been very lucky to obtain a copy and if I get chance will scan some pages in at later date.

In 1849 Sir Richard Broun came up with an answer, he proposed buying a large area of land to build a massive cemetery. The 2,000 acre plot would be his Necropolis and at a distance of 25 miles from London posed little to no risk of seeing the same issue arise. He proposed that the railway line from Waterloo to Southampton could offer a way to transport coffins and mourners alike…

The idea of a railway link to rural cemeteries had been thought about before he presented his ideas but not everyone seemed convinced, the clamour and bustle of a train would detract from the dignified Christian funeral. Also would it not be somewhat offensive to have a body in a coffin on a train where the family and friends were already suffering, and then treat like some form of conveyor  belt affair?

The idea of rail travel was still a new thing anyway, but Waterloo line was completed 1848 and the first Necropolis Station came along six years after that. In June 1852 an Act of Parliament was passed which created The London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company, it was later shortened to The London Necropolis Company. London & South Western Railway were the partner’s and they estimated £40,000 a year from it. It was decided however that the trains used would have to be a separate service, it was not a good idea to put a funeral party near mainstream passenger services and potentially drive away both.

There was another concern about how the varying religions and classes would be addressed using the service and so there were two stations. One served the conformist area on the sunny south side and the other served the non-conformists on the chilly north side. The class tickets also came into play, the dead were also split into the classes too.

Brookwood Cemetery grounds were consecrated 7th November 1854, six days later the world’s first funeral train was ready to go. The York Street terminus was restricting its passenger services, and if the company was going to expand it needed Waterloo and to demolish York Street terminus. A long period of negotiations went on and the London Necropolis was persuaded to give up it’s York Street post for a replacement 999-year lease, low rent and compensation along with a new supply train with return tickets for the mourners to use on the SWR more expensive trains at their own low cost.

The Act of Parliament meant the tickets prices for the Funerary side were fixed until 1939, Golfer’s going to nearby West Hill Golf Club would take advantage by dressing up as mourners. The remains of a rough footpath are still seen at the cemetery, it’s suggested the cheapskate golfers caused it. So far the history of the Funeral Rail service looked promising however in October 1900 the Necropolis Railway dropped Sunday services from it’s timetable and the trains went into decline until they ran once or twice a week. Finally the new motor hearse posed a new threat but this did not cause the end of its days, the German Luftwaffe did.

Bombs, April 16th 1941 was one of the worst nights of the London Blitz. The Necropolis train was berthed and did not escape, the area was levelled and only the platforms remained. It would have been too expensive it replace it and although the Necropolis Service ended in 1941 there is some evidence coffins were conveyed to Brookwood by rail into the 1950’s.