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5 most haunted places in Budapest

Writers

  • Zsófia Nagy

24/08/2022 11.49am

Even though you might not believe in ghosts, a few scary stories might induce a few chills the next time you step into the Opera House or through a doorway near Oktogon. Here are five locations steeped in urban myth where it might be best not to tread after dark.

Photo: Major Kata - We Love Budapest

The Cat of the Opera

1/5

Operas and theatres are popular settings for ghost stories around the world. This should come as no surprise, as those winding corridors and dressing rooms behind the glittering stage hide a litany of jealousies and grudges. Joining the other institutions in Paris and Vienna, the Budapest Opera House also had its own ghost, a cat named Vera. The little creature hid between the chairs of the empty auditorium and the elegant booths, fixing the spectators with shining eyes from behind the curtains. Rumour has it that the cat passed away in the building while looking for a beautiful, long-deceased singer who was once her owner. Let’s hope that the recent renovation of this beautiful landmark has helped them find each other once more.

Photo: Rejtely.hu

Google ghost of Óbuda

2/5

You wouldn’t even imagine how many strange things can be found on Google Street Views, from arrests to wild animals walking freely. Among them, a house in a quiet, residential neighbourhood in District III holds a strange fascination. Through a window on Rozgonyi Piroska utca, once you zoom in, you can see a male figure dressed in turn-of-the-century clothes, with a snow-white face. It is easy to imagine that the ghost peeking out from behind the curtain is much more the owner preparing for the costume ball, but it’s possible that a joke was behind this strange phenomenon.

Photo: Juhász Norbert - We Love Budapest

Spirit of Teréz körút

3/5

This creepy story unfolds at Teréz körút 5, at a time when there were many spiritualists operating in the city. In the winter of 1925, the celebrated beauty Amália Leirer, the girlfriend of a rich Dutch merchant, was found dead in her richly furnished apartment. The investigation raised several questions and even the victim’s immediate relatives fell under suspicion, but it remains a mystery who the murderer could have been. A spiritualist was also involved in the investigation, who said she had made contact with the spirit, and that it was certain that the culprit was a former waiter. The other parts of the story published in newspapers at the time spoke of an ‘expert’ discussing the situation with the ghost. The publicity related to the Leirer murder only added to the already fashionable interest in spiritualism back then. Many would go to séances, and Óbuda became a spiritualist centre, with a sign in every other doorway.

Photo: Mudra László - We Love Budapest

Victims of Svábhegy

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The ghosts of Svábhegy evoke a dramatic but tragic past. In the 19th century, prettier and prettier residential buildings cropped up the area, built by such luminaries as writer Mór Jókai. Svábhegy was also a popular excursion area, with elegant hotels, Bauhaus-style villas and holiday homes surrounded by greenery. This peaceful atmosphere was ended in a single night during World War II by Adolf Eichmann and the Gestapo. Residents were brutally evicted, and torture places and interrogation rooms were set up in elegant villas. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the area is considered one of the centres of paranormal activity in the capital, so much so that local Hungarian-language tour guides Sétaműhely offer a special walk dedicated to this very subject there.

Photo: Juhász Norbert - We Love Budapest

Witches of Gellért Hill

5/5

The barren rock ledge rising above the Danube, where Bishop Gellért was murdered in a pagan rebellion, with its healing springs and secret outcrops, is fertile ground for witchcraft. Demons and sorcerers in league with the devil are believed to have been operating here since the Middle Ages, including witches’ covens. In rural areas, the term ‘Walking to Gellért Hill’ denotes the heights to which a person has been in league with the devil. Of course, the truth is slightly more nuanced, but meetings and sightings form part of local lore.

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