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The White Lady of the Hohenzollerns

Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. The third of three castles on the site, it is located atop Berg Hohenzollern, a 234 m (768 ft) bluff rising above the towns of Hechingen and Bisingen in the foothills of the Swabian Alps of central Baden-Württemberg,Germany.

A popular tourist destination, Hohenzollern castle has over 300,000 visitors per year, making it one of the most visited castles in Germany.

The first fortress on the mountain was constructed in the early 11th century. Over the years the House of Hohenzollern split several times, but the castle remained in the Swabian branch, the dynastic seniors of the Franconian-Brandenburgian cadet branch that later acquired its own imperial throne. This castle was completely destroyed in 1423 after a ten-month siege by the free imperial cities of Swabia. A larger and sturdier structure was constructed from 1454 to 1461, which served as a refuge for the Catholic Swabian Hohenzollerns, including during the Thirty Years' War. By the end of the 18th century it was thought to have lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into disrepair, leading to the demolition of several dilapidated buildings. Today, only the medieval chapel remains.

The final castle was built between 1846 and 1867 as a family memorial  by Hohenzollern King Frederick William IV of Prussia. Architect Friedrich August Stüler based his design on English Gothic Revival architecture and the Châteaux of the Loire Valley. No member of the Hohenzollern family was in permanent or regular residence when it was completed, and none the three Deutsche Kaiser of the late 19th and early 20th century German Empire ever occupied the castle; in 1945 it briefly became the home of the former Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, son of the last Hohenzollern monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

William, German Crown Prince
Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, in the castle cemetery
Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia, in the castle cemetery
Princess Kira of Prussia, in the castle cemetery
Prince Hubertus of Prussia
It is said that every town in Franconia ( a state in Bavaria)  a ghostly figure been terrifying people at nights

The White Lady was a woman named Kunigunde von Orlamonde ( The Countess Kunigunde), whose husband’s ancestors built the castle. After his death, she wished to marry a certain Albrecht von Hohenzollern, who said he would if there not “four eyes between us.” his reference was to his parents, but Kunigunde thought he meant her two children. She determined to kill them, but so it would appear that they died naturally she used a needle - a “golden needle” in one of the many variant accounts - to pierce their skulls. 

Once the young prince learned about her doing, he turned away from her. After that Kunigunde went to Rome to seek forgiveness for her sins and promised to establish a monastery in the name of God. When she returned back home, the monastery of Himmelkron was built and she became its abbot.

The ghost, known as the White Lady or sometimes the White Lady of Berlin, appeared to family members several times over the centuries. She generally came to warn them about some impending disaster. So, although she was a helpful ghost, no one ever wanted to see her.

The White Lady always appeared as tall and thin, very erect, regal, and mournful. She wore flowing white robes and carried a large bunch of keys, which were said to open every door in the family's castles.

The first recorded encounter with the White Lady was in 1619, when three young pages saw her in a castle hall. One of them tried to stop her, asking where she thought she was going. She smacked him over the head with a big key, and he fell down dead. The other two pages wisely let her pass, and the next day Elector John Sigismund died.

In 1628 the usually silent White Lady was reported to have spoken for the first and only time. Her words were, "Veni, judica vivos et mortuos" (Come, judge the living and the dead). A young prince of the house died shortly afterwards. In 1678 the White Lady appeared, and the Margrave Erdmann Philip soon suffered a fatal fall from his horse.

The White Lady never appeared to Frederick the Great of Prussia, the enlightened despot who would not have believed in her, anyway. But there is a story that after his death, Frederick found it necessary to come back and warn his nephew about her. In 1792 Frederick William the Second was camped with his army outside of Paris, poised to conquer the city. The night before the battle he went down to the wine cellar to pick out a bottle, and the ghost of his uncle materialized before him. "Call off your troops," Frederick the Great said, "or you'll be seeing the White Lady." Frederick William left France with dispatch. He always had great respect for his uncle's advice.

After the Age of Enlightenment the White Lady made more appearances, presaging the death of Frederick William the Third in 1840 and Frederick William the Fourth in 1861.

The White Lady was reported by the Bohemian historian Balbinus to be an actual woman named Perchta von Rozmberk, or Rosenberg. Her father was Ulrich the Second, who ruled part of Bohemia. In 1449 he married his twenty-year-old daughter to John of Lichtenstein for political and financial advantages. Unfortunately, Ulrich neglected to pay her dowry, and John took it out on Perchta. Perchta almost immediately began to complain to her father about John's bad behavior, and ask to be rescued.

Only two months after her wedding Perchta wrote home:

"That which I wrote you in my first letter, that I am doing well, is unfortunately not so; would that I were doing well. On the contrary, I am doing badly. And the complaint I bring before Your Grace is that I am in such a disorderly residence that there is no way I can get used to it."

Perchta had to beg her husband's mother for food, the whole family fought constantly, and worst of all her new husband refused to have anything to do with her. She added that she was "extremely lonely and desperate."

Perchta continued to write to her father for help, which never came. Things got worse; her husband alternately beat and rejected her. He snubbed her in front of the whole court. Instead of intervening, Ulrich accused her of causing the problems by not being loving enough. Poor Perchta wrote back:

"O dear lord! if you do not remember me, you will act unjustly to me, and I will die shamefully...."


"When you gave me in marriage, it would have been better had you buried me in the ground."

Eventually the dowry was paid and Ulrich passed away. Perchta's brothers were finally able to bring her back to the family home. John, the horrible husband, is said to have been a relative of the Hohenzollerns, and after her death Perchta haunted them as the White Lady to get revenge on her in-laws.

The last reported sighting of the White Lady was in 1914, just before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which precipitated World War I. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to discourage the participants from pursuing the war. After Germany's defeat, Kaiser Wilhelm the Second the last ruling Hohenzollern, abdicated the throne. He went into exile in the Netherlands and died there in 1941.

Since the Hohenzollerns no longer rule Prussia (although there are living members of the family) it's hoped that the White Lady has gone on to find some peace in the afterlife.
Here is 3 part documentary I found on youtube