What a fun way to spend Halloween in Frankenstein Castle. Associated with monsters and mad scientists, the woodland hilltop 13th c. castle ruins are in Odenwald, Germany, around 30 km south of Frankfurt. One of Germany’s biggest Halloween parties, every year days leading up to October 31st and a few days after that date, the castle hosts fun scary events. Located on the castle grounds is a restaurant that offers delicious traditional German food, beer, and wine. Keep in mind for this event only, they prepare a specialty themed dish called Horror Dinners. The grounds are family oriented and dog friendly for hikes and picnics. This year, Burg Frankenstein will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel with relevant festive agendas in conjunction with domestic and international literary clubs.
This medieval castle was made famous by the Frankenstein story. It was this location that inspired novelist Mary Shelley’s to write her 1818 gothic novel titled ‘Frankenstein’. The publication of her popular book spanned off into movies, plays, and TV series. Shelley’s gothic novel told a story of a dangerous eccentric scientist named Frankenstein who created a ghastly 8ft monster creature and brings it to life by a bold of lighting.
In the past, it has been debated in literary and historian circles if the classic novel was fact or fiction and what was assumed to be believed and/or shrouded in folklore and myths. Primary resources have now surfaced and provide facts to corroborate with Shelley’s novel. Today, historians believe that during the novelist visit to the area she heard about this castle and the residing scientist. She used them as inspiration for the novel titled ‘Frankenstein’.
According to the writer’s journals, Mary Shelley took a Rhine River Cruise seeing many castles along the river. Also, documented is her visit to the town of Gernsheim, Germany, only a few miles from the castle. One would think that during her travels Shelley would have heard the town’s gossip about the local history and specifically about the 17th c. scientist with a ghoulish past.
The 19th c. literary scene was a Romanticism genre. Art reflected society in part due to the era’s fascination with Gothic and Romantic literature. The feel of nostalgia and fantasy to escape reality, because reality was progression as seen in The Industrial Revolution; whereas, the art and literary circles wanted things to remain the same.
Around two hundred years before the Shelley’s published novel, Johann Konrad Dippel was born on 1673 in Burg Frankenstein and lived in the Frankenstein Castle as a scientist who performed macabre experiments on animals and humans. Primary resources, according to his journals, tell us that his interests to transfer the soul from one corpse to another using a funnel, hose and lubricant is…ummmm… abnormally terrifying.
The original site of the castle dates from 10th c. with updated construction throughout the centuries. Frankenstein means ‘Stones of the Franks’, the name of the family who laid claim to the land and for four hundred years the castle remained in the family. The castle was used as a prison, a hospital, in the 17th c. it was the barracks for retired soldiers, and in WWII parts of the castle were used as an American Army Base.
Perched four hundred meters, in Autumn the dense woods are filled with beautiful vivid colors. The Burg Frankenstein offers panoramic views of the local towns and Rhine River. The castle is in Germany’s Rhineland wine region to offer wonderful activities to explore.
The Delong 100 Grape Varietal Challenge encourages all wine enjoyers to expand their wine drinking horizon by seeking out unusual grape varieties. These past few years, I have tasted over 180 grape varieties. After all, there are over thousands of grape varieties world wide. With so many wine grapes, styles of wine, and wineries to explore, wine is an educational adventure. So grab your virtual passport and come along with me on a Grape EdVenture™ around the world.
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