Gateways to the underworld are locations where people either currently believe or once upon a time ago have believed that when one who enters these portals, gateways, or riverways; one can be transported to, what some would call the underworld or Hell itself. After reading about various locations that were or still believed to be these entrances to the fiery pits of internal damnation, the Houska castle piqued my interest due to the nature of the castle itself. Unlike most of the other locations that are referred to as gateways to Hell, Houska castle is believed to actually serve as a fortified prison to confine evil entities from escaping from a bottomless pit that lays beneath the foundation of the Houska castle.
Houska Castle history
Ottokar II of Bohemia, ruling from 1253 -1278, a.k.a the Iron and Golden King, ordered the castle to be constructed on a steep rocky cliff over a large hole in the ground. Located 29 miles (47 kilometres) north of what is currently called Prague, Czechia. Houska castle was built nowhere near bodies of water, with no Kitchen, built too far from trade routes, and had no outside fortifications protecting the structure of the castle. The castle was built for administration purposes of managing royal estates. A chapel was constructed within the castle built directly over this mysterious bottomless pit. In 1897, Houska castle was purchased by Princess Hohenlohe. During the times of the first republic, the property was purchased by Josef Šimonek, President of Škoda in 1924. The castle fell into ownership and was occupied by Nazis during WWII from 1938 to 1945. All records of the doings of what took place in the Houska Castle under the Nazi residency were destroyed after the war ended.
The Folklore of Houska Castle
The chapel that was constructed over the large hole in the ground is believed to be covering a “gateway to hell”. The hole is so deep that no one has been able to see the bottom. A legend states that during the construction of the castle, inmates who were to be executed were offered a pardon if they gave consent to be lowered down into the hole by rope and then be pulled up and report back. The first volunteer was lowered down the hole. After a few seconds of descending into the pit, screams started reverberating up the shafts of the unknown. The soon to be pardoned volunteer was immediately pulled up to the land of the light.. It was reported that the man, now freely pardoned, had aged 60 years and had a full head of white hair and fresh new wrinkles.
Supposedly it was reported at sometime before the construction of the chapel, animal-human hybrid creatures, some with wings, crawled out of the dark depths of the pit. Flying human-bat-like creatures have been seen soaring in the skies at night around the vicinity of where the castle stands today. Nocturnal Bleeding humanoid looking creatures running in packs in the woods surrounding the cliff of the pit of hell have also been witnessed as well.
If you are ever having that common human moment and have to tell someone to go to hell, but for whatever reason you can’t just say that; tell them to take a trip to Houska Castle and don’t tell them about bringing their own rope.
Studio, B., & Johnston, R. (2020, May 25). Houska Castle guards a pit to Hell. Retrieved July 13, 2020, from http://magicbohemia.com/2018/05/21/houska-castle-guards-a-pit-to-hell/
Ugc. (2018, January 29). A Medieval Czech Castle Built on a Gateway to Hell. Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/houska-castle
Houska Castle. (2020, June 10). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houska_Castle