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Ghost Stories of Munich


Story and photo by Brooke Carbo


Back of Neues Rathaus, “New City Hall,” taken on Radius Walking Tour of Munich After Dark.


T e eerie allure of a well-told ghost story


has been known to leave even the most hardened skeptic sleeping with the light on. People have been scaring one another with their culture’s frightening legends throughout history. And with a thousand shadowy years as inspiration, Munich is no exception. Adam Fowler, a tour guide specializing


in Munich’s haunted past, shares its grim and gruesome


folklore on his tour of


the city aſt er dark. T e haunting of the Frauenkirche, the Gothic cathedral at the heart of Munich’s skyline, is the setting of one of his favorite tales. “Fanny von Ickstatt was a young girl who


fell in love with a common soldier,” Fowler began. “Her father had the boy sent to the front lines of battle, ensuring he’d be killed. In her lover’s absence, 17-year-old Ickstatt sought solace in the work of Johann von Goethe, ‘Germany’s Shakespeare.’” “Heartbroken, she [turned] to the


‘Sorrows of Young Werther,’” he said. Goethe’s 1774 novel details the star-crossed love that drives a young man to end his life. Fanny was inspired. As Fowler tells it, on January 14th, 1785, she threw herself from the Frauenkirche





Every year on the day of her death, a girl’s laughter can be heard from the bell tower.


tower. “Some say it was from the north one, others the south,” he added. Her lifeless body was found on a rooſt op 300 feet below. A year later, Goethe returned to Munich.


“He wrote in his diary about standing in the tower where Fanny jumped and then simply talked about the weather being cloudy,” Fowler said. Fowler believes that Goethe was haunted


by Fanny’s violent act of desperation, saying, “T is is actually referring to his trip being overshadowed by this death.” Perhaps he’s right. Fowler tells tourists


that it is common for ghosts to repeat the events of their death, and if reports are to be believed, the ghost of young Fanny is doing just that. “Every year on the day of her death, a girl’s laughter can be heard from the bell tower,” he told his captivated tourists. Dark legends such as these have inspired


even the likes of Bram Stoker. Fowler said that the lost chapter of “Dracula,” published two years aſt er his death, was set in the haunted city.


Seasons ”


“T e story starts in Munich at the Four hotel on Maximilianstrasse,” he


said. Ignoring local warnings, the book’s protagonist, Jonathan Harker, leaves the hotel one night to explore the city alone and fi nds himself in a chilling position: with a strange, fearsome creature… on two legs. Fowler said werewolves are Germanic in


for


background. “T e very name ‘wer’ is old German ‘man,’” he said, adding that during


Germany’s witch trials, werewolf trials were held as well. “Stoker would use these tales [told] by farmers in and around the area as a jump point into the life of the vampire Dracula.” Today, some of the most terrifying


ghost stories stem from Stoker’s creation. Munich’s bright and busy streets may be bursting with tourists in the light of day, but if legends are to be believed, they once stood witness to dark deeds. And fortunately for campfi res and trick-or-treaters everywhere, the ghostly reminders come out to play when the sun goes down .


ALPINE LIVING 2011 | 43 ALPINE LIVING 2011


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