HISTORY, CULTURE AND MYTH – BURG FRANKENSTEIN HAS SO MUCH TO OFFER.
It is not without reason that Burg Frankenstein is the place when German’s oldest Halloween party has been staged for more than 40 years.
The well-known castle stands on a 370 m high foothill of the Langenberg and is situated to the south-east of the Eberstadt district of Darmstadt in the community of Mühltal. It is the most northern of a series of castles and castle ruins along the western border of the Odenwald and looks down over the Rhine valley. Surrounded by myths and old scary stories, Halloween nightmares come true here every year.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN AND HIS SELF-CREATED MONSTER – ALMOST EVERYONE CAN IMMEDIATELY BRING AN IMAGE TO MIND.
If you haven’t read the book, then you have probably seen at least one of the classic films of this genre. There are many historical indications that the worldwide well-known book “Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley actually has its origin at Burg Frankenstein.
How did Mary Shelley and Johann Konrad Dippel von Frankenstein come together? An incredibly exciting story:
When the famous German founders of philology, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, collected tales in the Beerbach valley at the foot of Burg Frankenstein, they heard a strange and scary story. It was about the alchemist, theologian and physician Johann Konrad Dippel von Frankenstein.
The legend has it that the alchemist had wanted to create a new human being from parts of corpses, the blood of virgins and “secret skills”. This created monster opened its treacherous yellow eyes on a dull and foggy November afternoon, struck Dippel down with just a single blow and fled into the woods.
The story says that the lonely ogre still sits there today and tries to capture children or (preferably) virgins to play with and who then disappear and are never seen again.
In 1813, Jacob Grimm wrote down this spooky story in a letter to the English translator of the tale, Mary Jane Clairmont: Mary Shelley’s mother-in-law! When she travelled on the River Rhine in 1814, she also visited Burg Frankenstein. Two years later on the shores of Lake Geneva, Mary Shelley wrote on of the most fascinating and thrilling novels in English literature: “Frankenstein, the new Prometheus” and created the basis for innumerable horror stories and diverse films, which today still fill people with excitement and fear.
THE THEOLOGIAN, PHYSICIAN AND ALCHEMIST JOHANN KONRAD DIPPEL VON BURG FRANKENSTEIN.
Konrad Dippel however, never really wanted to leave the castle again. He was born there in 1673 and returned every time he got himself into difficulties elsewhere – which was not exactly a seldom occurrence.
To the superstitious inhabitants he was a sorcerer, who had made a pact with the devil, who conducted inhuman experiments at the castle, thus becoming the origin of Mary Shelley’s novel. As an “internationally renowned ghost buster” maintains, the ghost of the alchemist still haunts the churchyard of Nieder-Beerbach today and prevents the dead from resting in peace.
At Burg Frankenstein he commits his monstrous deeds between the chapel and the gunpowder tower – not only on Halloween. He often sits on the chapel roof on “rough nights” between Christmas and January 1st. Rattling with his thin bones, he searches for the buried entrance to his laboratory, lamenting loudly as he goes.
BURG FRANKENSTEIN HAS BEEN AROUND FOR MANY YEARS.
After serving as the home, attraction and inspiration for no end of horror stories for thousands of years, the castle today is a destination for many cycling and hiking trips. The panorama restaurant with the castle kitchen is now known far beyond the boundaries of Frankfurt and has established itself as a popular meeting point. Dinner events of all kinds and diverse activities take place at the castle at regular intervals and thrill visitors of all ages.
For more information about Burg Frankenstein, the myth, the panorama restaurant and the events, please refer to the website www.frankenstein-restaurant.de.
And who knows? After all of these scary stories, maybe there isn’t a human being behind the spooky mask after all …