Halloween is coming! So, I thought it would be fantastic to tell some of the local ghost stories and legends from Germany.
Berg Eltz, or Eltz Castle, is a beautiful castle that sits perched on top of a small hill in a gorgeous valley. The castle itself is built out of the rock and surrounded by the Elzbach River, making the castle somewhat of an island. The castle sits between Koblenz and Trier in the Rhine Valley of Germany and was originally built on a popular trade route. This is one of the few castles in the area that was never destroyed, despite the numerous battles that went on around it. This was due to the many alliances the family had built around the area and across Europe. It was built in the 12th century and is still owned by the Eltz family, 33 generations later.
While most of the general information about the castle is on the internet, there was one story about the castle that really intrigued me. It was shrouded in mystery, and information was hard to obtain… and that was the haunting of Eltz Castle.
Here is the story of the maid, Agnes Eltz, the knight, Braunsberg, and the haunting of Berg Eltz
Agnes Eltz was the daughter of Count Eltz that lived in Eltz Castle centuries ago. Agnes was surrounded by brothers and preferred to act and play as her brothers did. She would much rather dress up as a knight instead of spending time dressing up in beautiful clothes and sipping tea. She was strong-minded and feared nothing; this was eventually her downfall. She was promised in marriage, at a very young age, to the Knight of Braunsberg, by her father. This was very normal in this day and age, mostly to strengthen the family and strengthen political relationships.
Agnes eventually met the boy she was promised to and instantly had a strong dislike for him. She felt he was boring, quiet, and aloof. She normally chose to ignore him when he was around. In later years, he was invited to a large festival at the castle, in preparation for their upcoming marriage. During the festivities, Agnes ignored Braunsberg until he could not longer contain his anger. He went to her, grabbing her on the dance floor, squeezing her tight, and kissing her. To his surprise, and the surprise of the party-goers, she responded with a quick and hefty smack across his face. His anger boiled over in a rage. He took off his gloves, threw them at the feet of the Eltz family, and stormed out of the castle.
The family waited and prepared for an attack due to the disrespect that Agnes had shown the knight and his family. They waited weeks, yet no one came to attack. After a few months went by, the family relaxed and thought all was safe. Due to feeling that the danger was over, the men in the family went out for a three-day hunting trip, leaving the women and children behind. It was this very night that the alarm sounded, and the castle was under siege.
Knights under the command of Braunsberg attacked the castle killing the guardsmen as they came of over the wall of the castle. Agnes was not going to sit still while her family’s home was being attacked, so she donned her brother’s armor and went out to fight. She came across Knight Braunsberg himself, entering her home, and she attacked him with all her might. Not knowing it was Agnes under the armor, he attacked back. Striking her in the chest, she collapsed and died immediately.
After the battle, Braunsberg lifted the visor of the armor, and to his horror he found Agnes, dead. He fled from the castle and was never seen again… at least not alive.
Many people believe that Agnes is still in the castle protecting it from attack. It is said that she often wanders the halls, opening and closing doors, and moving objects throughout the castle. In the Countess’s room in the castle, you can see the armor she wore during the battle, still hanging on the wall. There are also visions of a knight seen outside the castle, often late at night, riding his horse back and forth in front of the gates of the castle. Some believe these are the knights of the castle still protecting it; however, the Eltz family believes that this knight is Braunsberg, waiting for Agnes, as he never forgave himself for her death.
The staff told me that often, in the morning, they come in to open up the castle and the large, wooden, locked doors throughout the castle are all open and unlocked – as if someone was wandering the castle at night. They also say that, many times, after they leave at night, they come back in the morning to find items moved, even the very heavy cannons that are on display throughout the castle. At night, you can hear whispers and giggling as if a child is playing in the halls. Deep in the night, if you wait long enough, you might catch a glimpse of Knight Braunsberg, sitting on his horse, waiting for Agnes to forgive him and become his wife.
Along with the castle being a beautifully preserved and decorated castle, it has an eerie and dark past that makes it even more fun to explore and visit. Stop by if you dare; maybe you will see Agnes running through the halls in her brother’s armor.
The castle is open seven days a week from March – October, then it closes for the winter. Tours are done throughout the day, every 15-20 minutes, and are also done in English. If you speak other languages, they have free pamphlets that give you all the information that you need in your native language. If you have a group, call ahead. Adult tickets are 9€, children are 6.50€, and family tickets (2 adults, 2 kids) are 26.00€.
The inside of the castle is beautifully preserved and decorated, complete with the hunting room and the full, original kitchen. Photos are not allowed inside the castle; however, you can see inside the castle here – Berg Eltz, including the oldest, hand-painted bed in Germany. Your ticket also includes entrance to the armory which houses many of the original pieces of art, jewelry, and weapons from the 33rd generation of the Eltz family. The castle and grounds are maintained and funded solely through the proceeds of tourism, so your money is going toward a great cause. Parking is at the top of the hill and you can walk down the hill from the parking lot to the castle or you can take the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus is 2€ per person, each way. The website for the castle is here – Berg Eltz. There is also a little restaurant and beer garden at the castle where you can have a snack overlooking the river and the beautiful valley.
Enjoy haunted Berg Eltz!
Have you ever been to a haunted castle? I would love to hear your stories! Feel free to post them below!
This story is part of #SundayTraveler by Chasing the Donkey, a Croatian Travel Guide.