Title image of Houska Castle By Mirek256 - Own work, "Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0" CC BY-SA 3.0
"The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent and easy is the way.”
– John Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid , Book 6, Line 126
LOCATION: Castle or "Hrad" Houska, in the Czech Republic
Map showing location of Hauska Castle relative to other medieval Bohemian castles that were under Nazi control during WWII. Map created by A.R.C. member Cody Rice.
The descriptor "Hell Hole" can currently describe anything from your first apartment to the workplace you dread, but where do we get that term? Ages ago, could there have been a hole that people believed led straight to the depths of hell itself? There are several sites in our world that could lay claim to that title, where the "veil" to the underworld seems a little "thin," but a historically solid contender would no doubt be Houska Castle, about 40 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic. Tales of demonic beasts issuing forth from the chasm and visiting violence upon villagers and ghastly specters scaring those who roam the castle grounds have been known since the Middle Ages to the present, but what of the edifice itself? No matter what you believe about the folklore, what can't be denied is that the castle was not built for the usual reasons – instead of a fortification to keep people out, it was built to keep things in.
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- Photo gallery of Houska castle from the Czech website, Mapy.cz
- Pete Collman and Travis Dow's Bohemican Podcast, covering Castle Houska
- Ghost Hunters International, Season 2, Episode 3: "Gate to Hell"
- Charlie Jewett's site and podcast, Renovating Retirement – JewettWealth.com
- Houska Castle on Wikipedia
- Sorbian prince Slavibor
- The Central Bohemian town of Mělník
- The Bohemian noble families of Berka z Dubé
- Ottokar II of Bohemia, Czech king and warrior, known as the Iron and Golden King
- The Golden Legend
- Treachery of the Long Knives
- List of Bohemian monarchs
- Houska Castle on Week in Weird
- Saint Ludmila of Bohemia
- The official Czech website for Houska Castle, it's in Czech so use Google to translate the page
- Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia and Czech Royal Saint
- Boleslaus "The Cruel" complicit in the murder of his older brother Wenceslaus I
- The legend of Saint George and the Dragon
- Archangel Michael
- Karel Hynek Mácha, Czech Romantic Poet and Houska visionary
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Episode 83: Houska Castle – Gateway to Hell (Part 1). Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Audio Editing by Sarah Vorhees; Ryan McCullough Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle and the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a.k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or "A.R.C." for short. Copyright 2017 Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.