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GHOST STORIES OF OLD BRATISLAVA

Virtually all cities, towns or villages have their own local legends and stories passed on over generations that involve scary ghosts, lost souls or other unfathomable events. Bratislava, formerly known as Pressburg, is no exception. And since a couple of these ghost stories are connected to places still standing today, we decided to write about them. Here is a list of our top ghost stories from Spookyslava.

White lady from the White Street

According to the legend, in the bourgeois house at White street (Biela ulica) number 3 once lived a kind-hearted woman named Božena who helped the poor in the old Pressburg. When she died, all the beggars came to her funeral. After her death, a white lady made out of white vapour started to appear at nights in the courtyard of the house number 3.  She had a watering can and attended to the flower beds. Since her ghost pitied the unkept flowers, she returned from the grave to take care of them. One night, as a young baker’s apprentice has seen her, she was so frightened that the white vapour she was made out of started turning into white stone. In the days following the incident the city was full of rumours about the beautiful new statue that no artist took credit for. You can still see the statue as part of the fountain at Františkánske square.

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Ghost’s handprint in the wood

This legend is about the ghost of Mr. Johann Klement Zwespenbauer, a former portreeve of Pressburg’s Zuckermandel area. His ghost appeared 100 times in 1642 to 19 year old Regina Fischer from the Austrian city of Hallstatt.  She was living in her aunt’s house in Pressburg at the time. Since the guy was sort of a crook, taking bribes and even being involved in a robbing murder, he got stuck in purgatory and had to haunt others until someone helped him. He asked Regina to get the stolen money back from his widow and use it for a statue of the Holy Mary, holding her son Jesus taken down from the crucifix.  He then instructed her to place that statue at the Altar of St. Martin’s Cathedral. However, the portreeve’s widow did not believe Regina and refused to give her the money. This made the ghost angry and since Regina asked for proof to convince the widow, the ghost left his handprint in a wooden beam in the cathedral. Since then, the statue has been the central piece of the altar of St. Martin’s Cathedral. Even the ghost’s handprint is still there, not displayed at the moment as it does not suit the Christian spirit of this holy place.

Bratislava Ghost stories - Altar in St Martin Cathedral  Bratislava Ghost stories St. Martin's Cathedral

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A Haunted Mansion

People walking in the Main Square used to avoid one of its buildings, “Burg“, which was believed to be haunted. There were several cases when scary grey-haired old men with long beards appeared in its rooms on the fourth floor. The following story explains their presence. It all happened during the times when the Horde (a group of invading nomads from the Steppe) tried to conquer Pressburg. All the honorable men of Pressburg met in the Burg building to discuss the best strategy of keeping the horde away. Finally, they decided to bribe their enemy with money and expensive gifts to spare the city. When they brought the pay-off to the nomad’s camp site, the enemy captired, tortured and killed them. Since then, people have seen the candle‘s glow on the 4th floor and heard the old men’s cries and bodies moving. The Burg building slowly dilapidated and the city decided to finally tear it down in 1883. A famous wine-maker František Palugyay  built a new house at its place which you can still see standing there today.

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Stone boys with ducks

You have probably already noticed the beautiful fountain at Šafárikovo square depicting small shepherds with their ducks. A famous sculptor and Pressburg native Róbert Kühmayer created it. He got an inspiration from a story he heard in a local inn. It was about a water goblin who watched little shepherds from the bushes as they brought their ducks to pasture. The boys were fooling around and playing different games and the water goblin desperately wanted to join them. One day he disguised his green seaweed hair, frog toes and green skin and joined in their games. However, it was a warm and sunny day and the boys decided to take off their shirts. The goblin could not follow their example because this would expose him as the goblin he was.  The boys then started to tease him. This made the water goblin angry. In revenge, he turned the boys and their ducks into stone.

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The Green House

If you ever roam the streets close to the Main Square, notice a distinctive green building on Sedlárska street. It used to be a local inn, serving the best wines from the Pressburg vineyards. The legend says that even witches liked to come to the cellars to pick the best wine.  They would use this wine to celebrate occasions when hell opened its gates to welcome a new witch. You can still see the building, which has since turned into a pharmacy.

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