Austria is where you’ll find the breathtaking baroque castle known as “The Forest Castle.” It has a rich history, dating back to the late 12th century when it served as a defensive fortress. Over time, local nobility took ownership and transformed it into an elegant mansion during the early 1600s, following the prevailing architectural trend of the Baroque style.
In the 1940s, the castle was used as both a hotel and a restaurant, remaining in operation until the late 1960s. However, it eventually fell into disrepair and appeared to be abandoned. Fortunately, in the mid-2010s, a new owner stepped in with the aim of restoring the castle and preventing further deterioration.
During the summer of 2016, I had the opportunity to visit the Baroque Castle In The Forest. There were clear signs of renovation underway, such as the patched-up hole in the roof and stacks of tiles near the entrance for further roofing work. However, it seemed that the work had been halted for reasons unknown, as is often the case in such situations.
The castle has a haunting tale associated with it, which originates from a book that combines fiction with the author’s real experiences during the 1940s. The book was written by the authors themselves, and the following story is based on the portion of the book I managed to find. It’s hard to discern how much of it is dramatized and how much is based on actual events, as my access to the book was limited.
According to the book, the author’s parents sought refuge in the Baroque Castle In The Forest while fleeing from the Soviets in the aftermath of World War Two. To their dismay, they discovered the castle abandoned and ransacked. During their exploration, they stumbled upon the bodies of the castle’s former owners, each with a single gunshot wound to the head, lying in front of a nearby hunting lodge. Their emaciated family dogs stood watch over the bodies of their deceased masters.
The author recounts that the castle’s owners had retreated to the hunting lodge deep in the woods, fearing both looters and the advancing Soviet forces. As they heard commotion and witnessed flames nearby, they believed that their end was imminent. It appears that they chose to take their own lives when they saw no hope of survival. The extent to which this account is based on real events versus embellishment for the sake of storytelling remains unclear. Regardless, this chilling tale adds another layer of intrigue to the enigmatic Baroque Castle In The Forest.