Status: Historical Castle
It is unclear exactly when this castle was built but it is thought to have been built on the site of a Roman fort. The first time this castle appears in historical record is in a 1191 deed.
The castle was seized by the Prince-Archbishops of Saltzburg and served as a residence for the Church beginning in the 14th century. In the final years of the 15th century the castle was renovated and increased in size.
Between 1675 and 1690 the castle served as the administrative for the Zaubererjackl Witch Trials. These trials resulted in the execution of 139 people – the majority of which were male. 39 of the victims were children and 53 were teenagers; all were poor and homeless. 109 of were executed in only one year – 1681.
The trials – including various horrific methods of torture – sentencing and executions all took place in this castle. As with other witch trials elsewhere The Church preferred slow, painful and public punishments before the mercy of death was given. Several people were burned and not all of them were dead when it happened. The children were treated the worst usually being branded on the chest and having their hands cut off before being executed.
After the witch trails the castle went back to normal until 1790 when The Church stopped footing the bill for its upkeep. The castle fell into disrepair with no one looking after it but it had one more part to play in dark history. Some time early in the 19th century a bunch of cattle and deer were found mutilated; the logical conclusion, of course, was that the people squatting in the castle were werewolves.
So, the occupants of the castle were rounded up and murdered – problem solved.
Moonsham Castle was left abandoned until 1886 when Austrian Polar Explorer Count Johann Wilczek bought the castle and began to restore it. The castle remains in his family and the public are admitted to some of the rooms in the castle that feature art work collected by the Count.
It is rumoured that there are times when the public can access the castle’s dungeon but we were unable to confirm that.
The current owner of the castle says the “Room of Toni” is where the man in charge of the witchcraft trials lived. People have reported a dark presence in the room and numerous voices have been recorded via EVP. As well people report a feeling of being breathed on here.
In the former torture room people report feeling hands running over them as well as a powerful sense of an unseen entity.
Other Activity: Shadow figures, phantom footsteps, unexplained bangs and clatters and doors opening and closing very suddenly on their own.