FREIHUNG, Germany -- Whether it's the boogeyman, Freddy Krueger or monsters under the bed, we all have something that makes the hair on the back of our neck stand up. Maybe it's that moment when you see something out of the corner of your eye, turn and it's gone; or you get the feeling that someone's following you. If you're walking through Freihung, a town about 10 miles east of the Grafenwoehr Post, perhaps someone is.
She's known as Die Weisse Frau or "The White Lady," a ghostly image who haunts the streets. Legend has it that in medieval times a castle adorned the location now housing the Gasthaus Alte Post. When the female owner of the castle died an unnatural death, her soul refused to vanish. She was mostly spotted in the underground mining tunnels, which were still used by the Alte Post until the 1970s, when Soldiers destroyed them in hopes of destroying Die Weisse Frau.
No such luck.
She remains today, wandering the streets in her alabaster attire and frightening drivers by accompanying them on their journey, appearing mysteriously in the back seat only to be seen in the rearview mirror.
The White Lady of Freihung is not alone in her haunted undertakings in the local area. She is joined by two phantoms of ancient times that settled near the Mariahilfberg Hill in Amberg.
Located behind the church, surrounded by the vast forest is a trough-shaped meadow known as the Hollerwiese, or hallow meadow. According to legend, a castle once located here was occupied by two individually wealthy sisters. When they agreed to share their common wealth, one sister created a feud by stealing from her blind sibling. The sightless sister, burning with anger, cursed the castle, causing it to sink into the depths of the earth -- with both sisters still inside.
During holy celebrations, many have reported two ghostly ladies in white sitting in the meadow waving at people walking by.
While these supernatural beings have generated harmless haunting, the devil himself is said to have walked the road between Vilseck and Hahnbach, leaving a wake of terror in his path.
Angered by the religious spirit in this region, the devil carried a large stone with the intent of throwing it at the church in Vilseck, hoping to destroy the pious hope of its patrons. Upon meeting a stranger along the way who recognized his ruse, however, the devil was stopped in his tracks.
The stranger, an old woman carrying a rucksack of torn shoes on her way to the shoemaker, told the devil she had worn all of these shoes out on the trip from Vilseck alone -- deceptively declaring it was still a long ways away. The devil was tired from his already long journey and decided it was too far to continue. When he realized the woman had deceived him, he slammed down the rock where it remains today at the Kreuzberg Hill, blemished with the impression of satanic claws.
The devil shares kinship with the equally devious witches, commonly known as Druden in the Oberpfalz region. These poor souls are doomed to a life of dread due to an error during the rite of baptism, where the cleansing of their souls was rejected. The Druden are mostly skinny old women with broken hair and eyebrows that cross over their noses. They travel through keyholes or open windows to scare little children, often shape-shifting to catch their prey off guard.
Strange things happen every day and stories of things that go bump in the night never fail to evoke goose bumps. This Halloween, there is nothing like sharing a good ghost story -- even better when it's in your own backyard.
Editor's Note: Franz Zeilmann contributed reporting.