Sunday, April 05, 2009

Mysteries - 5) Koldinghus

 Icy Cold Cellar and The Man with the Iron Hand

Koldinghus by the Castle Lake

The long staircase leading deep down into the cellar of Koldinghus is not a problem in the tourist season. But some people have made attempts going down alone. It is said that most of them came up in faster than an Olympic 100 meters run. The atmosphere in the cellar is very special. The thick walls deaden all sounds. There is a half darkness and the air is stuffy and dusty. Some claimed that they suddenly was in an area where the air was cold as ice, others had the feeling that they were not alone. Someone stood behind them, breathing them in the neck. No one of those who made the bold attempt wanted to go down there again.


The legends from Koldinghus are similar to ghost-legends in other castles. In the 1500s a vasal at Koldinghus, Jørgen Rosenkrantz had a lovely young daughter, who had not less than three proud knights for suitors. It was in 1558. She turned down all three , and when her father discovered that she was in love with a young carver, who had been working at the castle, he went furious. He arrested the carver and forced his daughter to witness his execution in the court yard. Three days later he celebrated a ball at the castle where he ordered nine knights to dance with his daugher until she dropped dead. She succeed in dancing with all nine knights and still be alive - and at last Jørgen Rosenkrantz had to dance with his daughter until she died in his arms.

A very cruel story, but not quite true. Jørgen Rosenkrantz was a vasal at Koldinghus in 1558, but he was a childless bachelor. It is a reality though that a lady named Gjertrud Kaas died during a ball at Koldinghus in 1590. Gradually those thwo stories have been mixed ,but they have influenced the legend and increased the thrilling atmosphere in the massive castle.

The court yard

The church room

Christian 3's queen, Dorothea, cannot let go of the contact with the castle she was so fond of, so she's walking the rooms and corridors every night to see if everything is in order. People claim that they have either seen her or heard the noise from her bunch of keys. She's harming no one, but if they won't step aside, she stands still and send them a very fierce look. So they say!

Maybe it is Dorothea who is the so-called "Man with the Iron Hand". This invisible power has a habit of beating the hat off people who walk through the church room. There is much force in the blows so people thought it had to be a man. But maybe Dorothea gets angry when someone walks through the church? Maybe it's one of those powerful bishops, who's haunting the guests in the church room? Who knows. No one can prove anything at all.

Koldinghus is situated upon a hill in the middle of the town Kolding by one of the lakes of the town. Today Koldinghus is a museum. Open daily 10-17, except closed at Christmas and New Year.

See: Koldinghus Museum

Next and last: 6) Gurre, " The Wild Hunt."

"Det mystiske Danmark", en rejseguide til spøgelser, uhyrer og andre mærkværdigheder.
Lars Thomas, Aschehoug Dansk Forlag, 2005.

photo 2004: grethe bachmann, Koldinghus, Southeast Jutland

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