Ever wanted to visit the Frankenstein Castle? Well everyone can if they visit Germany. Nestled on a hilltop in the Odenwald overlooking the city of Darmstadt in Germany perches Frankenstein Castle. This is thought to be the castle that inspired Mary Shelley as she wrote her famous work "Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus."

Without a doubt, the Frankenstein Castle is one of the locations all Halloween lovers have to visit. Today the castle is just a short drive out of the major city of Frankfurt and anyone can climb to the castle. Surprisingly for such a castle, it is not overflowing with tourists, nor is there really any tourist infrastructure around the castle.

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Mary Shelley And Her Famous Novel

Near the Rhine in Germany towers the Frankenstein castle. In 1814 Mary Shelley visited the town of Gernsheim and almost certainly saw this castle just 10 miles away. She and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelly eloped to France and Switzerland but had overspent and were returning to England by riverboat through Germany. Sounds like a romantic novel or the being of a horror movie.

  • Visited: Shelly Visited Gernsheim In 1814
  • Published: In 1818
  • The Monster: Frankenstein is The Mad Scientist - Not The Monster

She spend her birthday in Gernsheim and likely visited the castle and heard the local legends from the townsfolk.

Her novel was written four years later in 1818 and has since been adapted into incalculable movies and works of fiction. In the Hotel Transvillania movies, Disney has even crossed over Frankenstein with Count Dracula.

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The Gernsheim and Frankenstein Stories

In the town of Gernsheim once lived the alchemist and physician, Johann Konrad Dippel. He had been born in the castle in 1673 and claimed to have invented a magic potion ("Dippel's Oil") and he theorized about transferring souls between deceased bodies with a funnel. His potion was made of a distillation of blood, leather, horns, and ivory - he claimed it could cure everything from epilepsy to the common cold. He dabbled in elixirs and experiments seeking the secret to immortality. Read more about Johann Dippel with the BBC.

  • Dippel: Could Have Been The Mad Alchemist That Inspired Shelly
  • Born: 1673 In The Frankenstein Castle

Year after publishing a claim he would live on to the age of 135 he died of a stroke in 1734. Speculation abounds he was poisoned for his unpopular deeds.

While compelling there is no direct evidence that Dippel or even the castle influenced Shelly and her book. But we like to believe they both did.

The Frankenstein Castle Itself

  • Name: Frankenstein is From "Franks" (a Germanic Tribe), and "Stein" Meaning Stone. Literally "Stone of the Franks" - Not So Scary
  • Built: Before 1250

The castle of Frankenstein was built before 1250 by Lord Conrad II Reiz of Breuberg. Its first recorded appearance is in a document in 1252. In the 15th century, it was enlarged and modernized. By the 18th century, it was falling into ruins. If one visits today the two very distinctive towers are actually historically inaccurate and the result of restoration work in the mid-19th century.

Related: Frankenstein Cliff Has Nothing To Do With The Monster, But This White Mountains Trail Is Worth Hiking

The Halloween Tradition

On Halloween night in 1952 three American Forces Network reporters were sent to the castle by John Keel to explore it as a site for a live radio broadcast. When there the reporters were informed about a local legend that Frankenstein's monster returns to the castle at night.

  • 1952: Live Halloween Practical Joke Was Held Here

They didn't realize but they were walking right into a Halloween prank. John Keel had rigged a statue in the middle of the castle's crypt to move and topple. The reporter on live radio was terrified and made for a great live Halloween broadcast that reported even had the military police dispatched.

Starting in 1978, American airmen started an annual Halloween festival at the castle that grew to become of one the biggest Halloween festival in Europe. The Halloween tradition has stuck. In 2016 a special event was held to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Shelley finishing the manuscript of her famous book and the castle was chosen as the theme.

  • Halloween Tradition: One Of The Largest In Europe Started In 1978

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The tradition has stuck ever since. The festival has grown over the years to be one of Europe’s largest Halloween celebrations, especially notable as Germany doesn't traditionally have Halloween.

Today one can book tickets to the Halloween events and other special German events on the Halloween Frankenstein Castle website. This website is in German!

  • Dates: There Are Events From 22nd October to 6th November 2021
  • Price: Halloween Tickets are Between 30 and 33 Euros for The Regular Ticket ($35 to 40)
  • Halloween Special: Sunday 31 October
  • Note: The Website Is In German

Have the time of one's life. Enjoy Halloween in an ancient Frankenstein castle in Germany with the events all in German! Enjoy a spooky Halloween tradition from another country in the world. If that isn't spooky...

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