Castle Hasdeu

Castle Hasdeu House in Romania built according to instructions given by a Ghost. Castle Hasdeu is located in the Prahova Valley near the mountain resort of Sinaia, about 90 miles north of Bucharest.

Built in the late 19th century, the castle was intended to be a portal between the realms of the living and the dead. It was the scene of intense spirit activity in its prime. What went on there raises questions about the ability of the living to penetrate other dimensions: why links are established, what makes them flourish, and why they resist transference to other people when the original communicators leave or die.

History and Haunting Activity

The ghost of Castle Hasdeu is Julia Hasdeu, the bright child genius of Bogdan Petreicu Hasdeu, one of Romania’s intellectual lights who was an accomplished author of biographies, Scientific works, fictional works, and poetry. Bogdan Hasdeu was 31 when daughter Julia was born in 1869; she was his only child. By her teens, Julia was fl uent in six languages and was composing music for piano and violin. At 16, she entered the Sorbonne university in Paris. Beautiful and bright, she lived like a shooting star, flaming across the canvas of life and coming to a sudden end just when her brilliance was at its height. In Paris she contracted tuberculosis and died just one month short of her 19th birthday in 1888. Her death devastated her father.

Six months later, Hasdeu, still in the depths of grief, was in his study one day when suddenly he experienced an Automatic Writing, his hand moving as if by its own volition. What he produced was a short message that seemed to come from Julia, in which she told him she was happy and loved him.

Other messages soon followed. Excited, Hasdeu immersed himself in a study of Spiritualism, Mediumship, and the Spiritism works of ALLEN KARDEC. He became convinced that his dead daughter was reaching out from the spirit world to communicate with him.

Communications from the entity known as Julia became increasingly sophisticated and complex. She described the spirit world. She dictated music. Recordings of her compositions are available today—the music has literally a “haunting” quality to it. More important, Julia dictated the plans for the building of Castle Hasdeu as a place where two worlds could meet. Everything in it—the shapes and colors of the rooms, the symbols painted and carved on doors and walls, even the furnishings—were directed from beyond.

Hasdeu conducted Séances at the castle, and for a number of years it brimmed with the living and the dead. Phenomena included Materializations, Automatic Writing, messages, and the manifestations of spirits.

Hasdeu’s wife died in 1902, and he followed in 1907. At the time of his death, he left incomplete a massive project to write a dictionary of spiritualist terms. Hasdeu had distinguished himself earlier in life as the author of a dictionary of the Romanian language.

With Hasdeu’s passing, the spirit activity at the castle waned. Perhaps it had been powered by the emotional link between Julia and her father; with both of them on the Other Side, there was little incentive to keep the portal active. Activity was further adversely affected under communism, which discouraged Psychical Research and made spiritualism illegal.

The castle is now maintained as a museum. Spiritualism remains illegal, which makes research there diffi – cult. Outside researchers have not been able to access the records of Séances and automatic writing. The lone significant activity is an annual “festival of the two Julias” held there every July 2.

One of the most striking features of the castle is its alchemical nature. Walking through it is like walking through an alchemical text full of symbols that activate consciousness about the relationship between earth and the spirit plane. It seems an unlikely product of a teenaged girl, genius or no.

The heavy main door into the castle is intended to be opened solely by thought; so far, no one has been able to accomplish that. Above the door is a symbol used by the Freemasons—the all-seeing Eye of God in a pyramid. Rays shoot out from it.

The castle has three sections: a tall central tower fl anked by two shorter towers, symbolizing the Holy Trinity. The central tower has a metal spiral staircase that ascends to a domed roof, connecting hearth and heaven. In the center of the roof is a labyrinth painted on the ceiling and walls. From the center of the labyrinth, creative forces of the heavens stream down to the earthly plane. A scaffolding bearing a large statue of Jesus with arms outstretched and revealing his Sacred Heart is positioned under the vortex of the dome. Visitors can climb up to the statue; they are told that often photos taken of the statue do not come out or that people posing next to the statue do not appear on the film. Other lore holds that people who have their photos taken with the statue are doomed to die soon.

The labyrinth symbolizes the journey of the soul to the Source. Jesus here acts as mediator between heaven and Earth and also as gatekeeper, a role interpreted from his statement in the Bible that only through him can one reach the Father.

The domed vortex is supposed to be an entry point for streams of heavenly energy that heal and revitalize.

There is a progression to the castle. One starts in the chambers on the right, which are like a museum of a historic home. Exhibit cases hold photos and artifacts from the lives and activities of the Hasdeus and period furniture. A library contains the many books of Hasdeu, including the esoteric works he collected.

At the back of the castle is the center of the spirit activity. The Séances were conducted in the “Blue Room”; blue is widely held to be the best color for communicating with the spirit world. The Blue Room features a round porthole in the wall, the apparent means of entry and exit for disembodied visitors. Curious triangle-shaped stools are in the room—another touch for the spirits, who supposedly used them for seating. On the wall is a striking painting of Hasdeu being overlighted by the spirit of the dead Julia.

On the other side of the Blue Room is another museum room, this one devoted to samples of the fruits of Hasdeu’s spiritual labors: his automatic writing, musical scripts dictated by Julia, his unfinished dictionary, and more.

Explanations of Haunting Activity

Nearly a century after the death of Hasdeu, visitors can still feel an “atmosphere” there, and photographic anomalies have been reported. The story of Julia is appealing, but skeptics argue that Hasdeu produced everything himself. Overcome with grief and desperate for contact with his daughter, he created her ghost, which enabled him to produce material from within himself. Through his intense immersion in occultism, Hasdeu certainly had the knowledge required for the information that purportedly came from Julia. However, Hasdeu had his own prestige and fame, which could have been jeopardized by his spirit activities.

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written byRosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007
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