Be prepared for magic, sorcery and torture as you cross the Darłowo walls

Wojciech Kulig

The castle in Darlovo is guarded by a mummified cat. He keeps a book with magic formulas and a dark torture chamber. We invite you to an exciting journey.

We start our journey around the Pomeranian Dukes in Darlowo through the door. Director Karol Matusiak shows us around.

The body of the guardian cat

– We are in the oldest part of the castle – the story begins. – On the second floor, in a room with a gothic vault, there is a mummified cat found more than a century ago between the walls of the basement under the rubble. – According to the information, he was tied to the wall alive between the defensive walls. He had to magically protect the castle from enemy capture and other disasters.

Such a custom was practiced not only in the fortress of Darjeeling, but also in the Scandinavian fortresses. An example of this is the Danish Nyborg, where such cats were also found inside the walls. Historical records show that their hind legs were tied with ropes and tied to the wall. They died in torment.

– He was considered a vow. The demand that the castle can not withstand natural disasters. It’s also a form of magic because you believe in something that doesn’t affect reality, but it’s as if supernatural forces are causing something, says Carol Matusiak.

According to his information, the Darlowo cat was painted on the wall in the Middle Ages, during the construction of the castle. It was discovered in the 1930s, during the first renovation of the building, under the direction of the museum’s founder Karl Rosenov.

Did the cat’s magic save the rest from danger?

– Despite natural disasters such as fires and floods, the castle is still standing – our guide smiles. – This is a unique building, as most of Griffin’s headquarters were destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War and World War II. The castle in Darlowo has retained its original structure, and almost 70 percent of its architectural elements date back to the Middle Ages.

A magic book

Karl Rosenov said in a press release that his collection includes the Darlowo Magic Book, which contains a hundred magic recipes. In the newspaper, he gave four rules and asked Darlowo residents to collect magic formulas and pass them on to him. He wanted to show the world the local superstitions. He also mentioned Zakrzev’s second magic book, a city near Darlovo. He carefully wrote the spells in Darlovska’s book. There are texts and words that are incomprehensible and meaningless to us.

Carol Matusiak quotes one of the rules of the Darlowo Magic Book. This includes making a stick to chase a mole or beat a person. We read: “On Tuesday, the new moon, before sunrise in the morning, find the hazelnuts that have grown throughout the year. Place it facing the rising sun and cut the top three branches into three sections while saying the following words: hola, noa, mass. Now go to the mole nest, cover it with a robe and hit it hard, and it will never come out of the mole nest again. ” Another interesting recipe explains how to make a mirror that will see your future. It involves turning the mirror upside down and saying a sentence in Latin. If you say that and the mirror hangs normally, it will answer every question. This is the rule: “Mirror, tell me about it. Who is the most beautiful in the world? ”

As for the book Zakrzev, found in 1888, our guide says that it is a copy of the work, nothing is known about the time of its creation. We are reading, among others, about a plant – wall radical, also called interlacing.

– This plant was straw, it had leaves that were pleasant to the touch like suede. He had to be protected from lightning because the flowers resembled the beard of the god of lightning. Carol Matusiak says she was hung inside chimneys to protect herself from witches and at the entrances to houses to prevent milk theft.

Cursed Sidonia

The story of Sydonia von Borck dates back to the Middle Ages and the reign of the Griffith family in Darlovo. He cursed Griffin’s family.

– She was a noble woman who fell in love with one of Griffith’s princes, Ernest Ludwik. He promised to be her wife. However, because he was a prince and he was only a nobleman, the marriage did not take place. According to legend, Sidonia cursed the Griffins. It is true that within a decade or so, all the young and healthy members of the family died under unknown circumstances. A person was found in the cell in blood. It is unknown at this time what caused his death. One of the princes sentenced Sidonia to death. He was executed in 1620 – our guide reminds us of a legend.

38 spell tests

Speaking of curses, it is worth noting the basement of the castle on the south wing, because they hide many secrets, including darkness. Not only were they accustomed to living, but they were also a place of torture and condemnation for those accused of atrocities.

“Women accused of practicing black magic have been arrested here,” said Karol Matusiak. According to historical records, 38 spells were tested in all former Sławno poviat. Mostly women were punished.

The torture used in the basements of the castle was brutal.

– The woman undressed before they happened. It was checked for traces of the devil. It was believed that a woman became a witch when she was bitten by the devil. Thus, traces of bites were sought. There was also a thick, spike-free needle method, not a dog. He was beaten on the body and checked to see if a woman was in tears. If he didn’t, it meant he was a witch, says the museum’s director.

The water test was especially ruthless. A woman suspected of witchcraft was thrown there. If he did not come out, he was innocent, and if he came out, he was guilty.

The most famous witch of Darzowo was Anna Woldan, a Rusko convicted in 1663.

– He was accused of practicing black magic. A Russian resident complained that he killed a calf and cast a spell on the cabbage. Another charge was to cast a spell on the fiancé of the village administrator Dobieslaw. He had to go crazy, says Carol Matusiak.

The witch was first interrogated in the courtroom of the castle. He was the administrator and judge of the trial.

“Annie was asked questions to find out if she was really a witch. Of course, they were such that even a modern, very intelligent person could not answer them – adds our interlocutor.

Anna Volda was 80 years old. He was tortured four times. But in the end he was acquitted. The family asked the manager to pardon her for her age and her blind husband. He then lived in a warehouse in Dobieslaw. There was no place to go. A few weeks later, he disappeared.

The last trial of a witch in Darlowo took place in 1726. It was a woman who had lost her mind and wanted to burn down the city.

Today, visitors to the museum at the castle of the Dukes of Pomerania in Darlovo can see the executioner’s tools used in the 17th and 18th centuries. These are handcuffs, armpits or axes. They are in the basement with a cell for witches and torturers. In the basement of the southern wing there is an exhibition of copies of torture instruments used in the 16th-18th centuries. This is a total of about 60 replicas, from the Madej bed to the witch’s pile or Pomeranian masks. There is also a cell with a diorama depicting the witch Anna Volda. This is a small room where the prisoner can neither stand nor lie down. There are also detailed descriptions of how cruel stories are associated with the pearl of Western Pomerania.

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