Munich’s Dark Side, After Dark

March 21, 2011

A few nights ago I ventured out on my own, successfully – and slightly smugly – navigating the public transportation of Munich solo after being unable to convince anyone to join me on a Ghost Tour of the city after dark. And I’m so glad I did; it was entirely worth walking home alone in the dark with a head full of ghost stories.

The Most Haunted Square in Munich

"The Most Haunted Square in Munich"

Tour guide, Adam Fowler started things off appropriately by introducing himself as the only guide who “had been to the other side and came back”- as a baby, he was pronounced legally dead after being unable to breathe on his own for 43 minutes. Add in an imaginary childhood friend with the same name as the older brother who’d died before he was born and Fowler’s credentials for scaring the living daylights out of unsuspecting tourists were official. My fate was sealed.

Leading us down ominous paths I’d explored care-freely in the light of day, the mesmeric and magnetic Fowler brought to life the unhappy lot drawn by Munich’s executioners of old, the spirit of Germany’s Juliet reliving her anguish in the bell tower of the Frauenkirche, and the heart-stopping tragedy behind Ludwig the Severe and “the most haunted square in Munich.”

Having twice taken the Ghost Tour of New Orleans, I thought I’d known what to expect, but as deep and dark as the Big Easy’s history runs, I learned it just can’t compare with the medieval horrors bestowed on 1000-year-old cities. It was in 1255, nearly 500 years before the founding of New Orleans, that Duke Ludwig of Bavaria earned his unofficial title “Ludwig the Severe” and his castle the long-held distinction as “the most haunted square in Munich” with a shocking act of misguided jealous rage and indiscriminate violence that would only leave him broken-hearted.

And according to Fowler, to this day the courtyard of the grounds will, from time to time, fill with blinding fog and the voice of a broken man begging for forgiveness that will never come can be heard by passersby.

Fowler’s appalling and captivating tales continued on long past the 2 hours allotted for the tour, but I certainly hadn’t noticed. When his last account had been shared under the shadow of the golden Mariensäule in Marienplatz, Fowler’s description of Munich as “more than just beer halls and Oktoberfest” went without saying.

On the Munich Ghost Tour

On the Munich Ghost Tour

Because on my lonely walk back to the hotel, bumps in the night weren’t blamed on tipsy tavern guests – Thanks to my trip down the dark alley of Munich’s memory lane, Ludwig and the ghosts of Germany’s sordid past lurked around every corner. And I wouldn’t have traded it for a night at the Hofbräuhaus for anything in the world.

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2 Responses to Munich’s Dark Side, After Dark

  1. Pamela D. Harris
    March 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I love your descriptions. If I weren’t a total wimp, I’d wish that I had gone along.

  2. Paul Carbo
    March 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    The story is great, the picture even better, that looks like something out of a Hollywood horror movie.