The white lady of Haapsalu castle is one of the most well known ghost stories in Estonia. It tells the story of young love, torn apart by religion and an evil bishop.
The white legend is a wide spread thing in Europe. Every region have their own local version on it. Some are haunting the waterfalls, some haunts whole families. Estonia is no exception.
Sitting in the midst at the cusp of the eastern Europe Baltic heritage as well as so far north, the culture of Estonia is somewhat of a mix. Many consider themselves more Nordic than Baltic, being so influenced by both Sweden and Finland, they have a rich and varied lore still alive and well today.
The Haunted Castle
On the western shore, the sleepy seaside town of Haapsalu is best known for its warm seawater, curative mud and peaceful atmosphere. Salt mud spas frequented by the Russian Romanov family still operate. Everything is made for a relaxing weekend. Just don’t go to the castle, it’s haunted.
In the 13th century in the coastal city of Haapsalu, a castle and a cathedral was built from 1279. It was to be the new seat of the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek, were Gods law was the lands law. It was not a particular popular way of ruling as the last seat they had ruled from in Perona, Lithuanians burned down to the ground.
The life there, especial in the episcopal castle, was a strict one. Every canon working and living there were meant to live a chaste and virtuous life according to the monastery rules. And that is old lingo for: No girls! And this was a way of life for the next 300 years.
Meeting women in the castle was therefore strictly forbidden and punishable by death. But that is useless, love will always find a way.
The gothic haunting of the small town of Whitby is said to be by the old abbey as well as Bram Stoker used it for a setting of Dracula.
The Maiden and the Canon
As legend tells, one of the canon fell in love with a girl and brought her with him to the castle. She went undercover, working as a choirboy for a while. They were then able to meet as long as they were able to pass her off as a boy to the rest of the men living there. And it worked, that is, until the bishop came back to the castle.
The bishop had been away for some time and when he returned, a young choirboy caught his eye. Something was off, and even though they had been able to fool the rest, or at least, everyone had left them in peace, the biship ordered an investigation, finding out the singer’s gender.
When the girl was found out, the bishop summoned his council to decide on their punishment. The boy was sentenced to prison were he was going to starve to death. But the girl got the worst. She was to be put immured inside of the walls of the castle. They gave her a single piece of bread and mug of water before they closed up the wall with her inside.
For several days her cries for help, her banging on the walls rung throughout the castle. No one came to her aid. Eventually, she died. But her soul, according to legend, remained.
Now she at least can move through the walls. In the castle there was built a chapel as well as a castle, and this girl is always seen at the inner wall of it, or standing by the Baptistery’s window.
The sightseeing are always around full moons in Augusts, when it is said is when the Bishop returned to the castle. Coincidentally, this is also when a music festival is held in her honor, called: The White Lady Days.
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