Gather 'round the campfire and grab whatever you need for emotional support because today, we are sharing some of Luxembourg's spookiest ghost stories!
When it comes to folklore, almost nothing beats a good ol' fashioned ghost story. Whether you actually believe in the paranormal or not, I think we can all agree that they almost always make a place more interesting – and they are a load of fun to tell, especially in the right setting.
As with folklore in general, Luxembourg has an abundance of ghost stories to offer. While there are tales of specific spectres, many of which we already covered, the stories we are going to discover today are more "traditional" in terms of narrative structure – you may even want to remember some of these to impress your friends and family with your knowledge of local haunted places during your next late-night gathering.
So, without further ado, let's grab our torches and keep the salt at hand as we embark on a journey to some of the Grand Duchy's most haunted places.
I. The Lady of Falkenstein Castle
For our first story, we are returning to the gem of the north that is Vianden.
Many, many moons ago, a mighty edifice known as Falkenstein Castle stood near Vianden. This castle was the home of a knight and his daughter, Euphrosine.
As was custom in the olden days, numerous suitors made their way to Falkenstein Castle to ask for the daughter's hand in marriage. A certain Kuno of Bitburg came out on top and was chosen to be her bridegroom.
One fateful day, while hunting in the forest, Euphrosine lost her way as night began to descend. However, her misfortune turned to fortune when a chivalrous young man came forward and offered to guide her back to Falkenstein. This young man, with his charming nature and handsome looks, quickly won Euphrosine's affection.
Wanting to introduce him to her father, Euphrosine invited the youth to accompany her. But to her dismay, he declined, revealing that their families, Falkenstein and Stolzemburg, were locked in an unyielding feud. Despite this obstacle, Euphrosine couldn't resist meeting the dashing young fellow during her walks, and her feelings for him grew stronger with each encounter. She began dreading the idea of marrying Kuno of Bitburg.
Eventually, the young lovers decided to elope. And although Euphrosine hesitated at first, further personal experiences, including a daring rescue from a dangerous precipice, convinced her to agree.
In the dead of night, Euphrosine left the castle discreetly and joined the waiting man from the House of Stolzemburg on horseback. However, Kuno, who had grown suspicious of her changed behaviour, noticed their escape and gave chase alongside Euphrosine's father.
As the pursuers drew near, the man from the House of Stolzemburg handed Euphrosine a sword, urging her to defend their escape. In panic, she struck blindly, accidentally hitting her own father.
They made their way to the river, where a boat awaited their escape. Tragically, just as they boarded, Euphrosine saw her lover engulfed in bright flames. Terrified, she made a gesture of despair, and the ghostly figure responded menacingly before vanishing with a haunting cry of "Patricide!"
It remains unclear whether it was the devil himself or whether the young man had made a deal with Beelzebub to win over the heart of the maiden he loved. Regardless, Euphrosine, consumed by fear and remorse, could bear the burden no longer. In her distress, she threw herself into the waters of the Ur, meeting her untimely end.
Since that ill-fated day, the ghostly figure of a lady has been said to wander the ruins of Falkenstein Castle at midnight, accompanied by sorrowful sighs and eerie whispers, burdened by a heavy necklace.*
*Interestingly, some have questioned the accuracy of this legend. According to other accounts, there was no lady haunting Falkenstein Castle as a ghost. Instead, it is believed that the two fugitives tragically perished when their hastily boarded boat capsized in the swollen Ur.
II. The Sobbing Lady of Rheinsheim
As we leave the haunted ruins of Falkenstein Castle behind, the mist in front of us slowly reveals the familiar scenery of the capital.
During the times of the Austrian occupation, an Austrian corporal was once stationed on guard duty at a place called Fort Rheinsheim. This chap had a lover, a young girl from nearby Hollerich, and one day, she decided to pay him a surprise visit while he was on duty.
Time flew by for the young lovers, and before they knew it, the next guard shift was approaching. In a rush to avoid being caught, the corporal hastily locked his sweetheart in a nearby mine passage and left for duty. In the stress of his busy day, his thoughts became entangled and he ended up forgetting all about his lover.
Inside the mine passage, the girl's pleas and cries for help were faintly heard by the other guards. However, they gradually subsided, and the guards dismissed the distant noises as unimportant.
Eight long days passed, and fate brought the same corporal back to Rheinsheim for another guard duty. In a sudden jolt of memory, he realised what he had done and was filled with dread. Rushing to the hiding place, he made a horrifying discovery – his lover's lifeless body lay before him, starved and cold, a tragic consequence of his forgetfulness.
The corporal never returned to his post. After an extensive search, he was found lifeless, leaning against the mine passage's doorpost. And beside him, lay the lifeless body of his beloved.
In the wake of this tragedy, the ghost of the unfortunate girl began to haunt Rheinsheim at night, her eerie whimpering unsettling many a soldier's heart who heard it.
III. The Betrayed Lovers of Lenningen
Gathering our courage, we proceed on the path of tales long forgotten until we find ourselves in eastern Luxembourg, the magical heartland of the Grand Duchy's folklore.
In the quaint woods above Lenningen, a mysterious phenomenon is said to occur at the witching hour: Two veiled figures emerge in the night and silently accompany any nocturnal hiker to the forest's edge before vanishing into thin air.
A man from Lenningen shared a chilling tale with all-round folklore legend Dr Nicolas Gredt, claiming to have encountered these apparitions himself as they guided him from the bridge to the forest's end. Here is the haunting story behind this spectral spectacle:
In the neighbouring village of Canach, a young man from Lenningen had a passionate love affair. Frequently, he visited his beloved, sometimes returning home quite late at night. However, fate took a dark turn on the day when he betrayed his first love for another girl.
Devastated by her lover's shameful infidelity, the forsaken girl was driven to despair. One moonlit evening, consumed by anguish, she wandered frantically through fields and woods. Tragically, she chanced upon her former lover, arm in arm with his newfound companion, strolling along the forest path.
Unbeknownst to them, she trailed silently, overhearing the young man's disdainful words about her – cruel accusations of promiscuity and destitution. The weight of such heartless betrayal shattered her sincere and unwavering love. Filled with sorrow, she could bear no more and, in despair, threw herself into the raging forest stream.
The following morning, her lifeless body was discovered near an ancient willow trunk, where the water had carried her. Upon learning of his former lover's tragic suicide and realising that his own disloyalty had driven her to this act, the young man was overcome with horror. Succumbing to a fever, he passed away shortly thereafter.
Overwhelmed with inconsolable grief, the other girl, who had replaced the deceased lover, also fell victim to a lingering ailment. In a matter of weeks, she joined her beloved in the grave.
Now, as spirits doomed to wander, the betrayed lovers return, their ethereal forms haunting the same path through the forest. In the shadowy realm of the supernatural, they continue their nocturnal journey together, only to disappear once they reach the forest's edge, forever trapped in the enigmatic lore of Lenningen.
IV. The Cursed Count of Grevenmacher
Finally, you know it wouldn't be an instalment of Luxembourg's Literary Legends without a tale from the metropolis of myths and legends itself – Grevenmacher.
On the outskirts of Grevenmacher, near a local forest, an eerie apparition dressed in an old Franconian hunter's costume is said to appear on festive nights after midnight.
This ghostly figure paces the path, seemingly in deep contemplation. Soon after, a young woman approaches from the hills and throws herself into the spirit's open arms. Suddenly, the sound of resounding horns echoes from the same hills. Startled, the two flee into the forest, where a terrifying commotion ensues, accompanied by haunting groans and moans. The cacophony continues to roar through the woods until the break of dawn, when all becomes silent again.
Legend has it that long ago, the knight's castle of Stolzenberg stood in this very place. The Count's daughter had fallen in love with a handsome young hunter from the castle. Their affection for each other grew so intense that they arranged to meet in the forest at the stroke of midnight.
However, the young woman's disappearance was noticed almost instantly. The enraged Count wasted no time, mounting his horse and rushing into the forest with his entourage. There, he discovered the desperate lovers, who pleaded for mercy at his feet. But consumed by anger, he dealt them a fatal blow with his sword, and they fell lifeless in a final struggle.
Overwhelmed with remorse, the Count embarked on a pilgrimage to the promised land seeking redemption. Stolzenberg Castle has long since vanished, leaving no trace behind, but the anguish of the double murder continues to torment the Count's restless spirit, denying him peace even in his grave.
More Literary Legends
In the first instalment of this series, we encountered the creepy moor spirit that haunts the woods near Moutfort.
We then revisited a folklore classic by diving into some of Luxembourg's very own werewolf legends.
Our next trip converted us to teetotallers in a desperate attempt to flee the spirits that specifically haunt drunk people.
We also revelled at the powers of some of Luxembourg's most infamous witches and wizards.
In the next instalment, we glimpsed into some of the darkest corners of folklore as we uncovered the gruesome myth of the Thieves' Lights – and found out how Luxembourg somehow made it even worse.
Sticking with the dark and macabre, we then gathered all of our courage to face Luxembourg's terrifying Black Knight. Meet Grieselmännchen!