Pont du Stierchen
Whilst traveling around Europe, ticking countries off my list, I heard an incredible legend about a haunted bridge in Luxembourg.
Europe has a different approach to the paranormal than in the UK – you’ll find it very difficult to have access to their haunted castles unless you buy day tickets, and they don’t seem to do ghost hunts like we do, so for the country’s most haunted location to be a public bridge, I had to feature the location.
The legend states that a drunk man fell to his death from the bridge. Whilst finding his identity and exact era of his death has been impossible, the hauntings seemed to have started prior to the 17th Century.
Early stories indicate that the ‘geescht’ (translates from Luxembourgish into English as ‘spirit’) haunted the area around the old town, rather than just the bridge. One legend states that a parade was taking place through the streets of Luxembourg which involved the Grand Duchy in the 1600s when the spectral figure appeared in front of one of the horses, scaring it into a frenzy, sending people running. The event was witnessed by hundreds of bystanders including the Duchy himself. His mischief has also included preventing monks in the nearby Abbaye de Neumunster from holding mass, by holding the bells and preventing them from ringing to the villagers.
Other forms of the legend say that the spirit guards the bridge at night, and targets specifically people who have been drinking. People have reported shape shifting animals and even objects. He is said to jump onto people’s shoulders and beat them up, or throwing them into the water below. One eye witness reported seeing a large dog standing on the bridge, before shape shifting into a human form and running after the terrified local.
One witness reported seeing a floating barrel above the bridge. When he reached out to touch it, the barrel moved further away, causing the man to stumble and fall into the river. Another account, a man tried to cross the bridge and encountered to Geescht, and was lifted up to the top of the Bockfelsen, which is an old Roman fort that overlooks the Grund area of Luxembourg where the bridge is located. The next day, the man had to be rescued and brought to safety.
Another legend states that the Geescht would appear as a piglet, and when someone would eventually catch it, it would appear on the other side of the bridge. On another occasion, three women claimed to see the spirit in the form of a cat. As they threw a shoe at the creature, it vanished, meaning the shoe missed and landed in the river below. The following day, the shoe was found back on the bridge.
Others claim to be followed home by a spirit. Even today, many locals refuse to cross the bridge after dark. People have seen strange figures and the sensation of being pushed when trying to cross.
What do I think? It’s a great legend, and probably that’s all it is. There will always be a correlation between people being very drunk, and having accidents crossing a narrow stone bridge. The stories do sound a lot like old tales that get passed down over the centuries.
When I did visit the site, I did notice that not many people were walking across the bridge after dark!
Luxembourg is a beautiful country. It’s so small that you can probably drive across it in under an hour. It is also confusing when talking about Luxembourg whether I’m referring to the country or the capital city – both have the same name. The city feels more like a large town, but there is plenty to see. The amazing fort and it’s caves can be exploited during the daytime for a few euros. The views of Luxembourg are stunning – there is a path overlooking the Grund that has been described the the “most beautiful balcony view in Europe.”
Just outside of the city are two World War II cemeteries, one for American soldiers, and the other for German soldiers. Luxembourg was the first country in Europe to offer to build a cemetery to the German war dead, and with several major battles taking place in the area, there were a lot.
Getting travel guides for this country is hard, but the local tourist information shop does sell one. Very few public tours take place, but there is a self guided tour that you can collect in map for from the tourist information shop.