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Witchcraft and Walpurgis Night

The witches' dancing ground in the Harz mountains is a plateau towering 454 metres above the Bodetal valley and facing the Rosstrappe peak. It is also an Old Saxon ritual site, where on the night of the 30 April to 1 May, rituals are held in honour of the forest and mountain goddesses.
At the time of the witch trials in the 14th and 15th centuries, there were many sites in Europe said to be witches' or devils' dancing grounds. Those accused of being witches were alleged to have attended secret gatherings at these places. One suspected occasion was the witches' sabbath on Walpurgis Night, when those who dabbled in the dark arts were believed to commune with the devil.
Walpurgis Hall, not far from the witches' dancing ground, reflects the old Germanic style and displays scenes from Walpurgis Night and the Harz legends. Inside the building is a sacrificial stone harking back to ancient fertility rituals. The head of Odin, father of the gods, looks down from the gable of the hall together with his raven companions, Hugin and Munin, and his wolves, Freki and Geri. This former ritual site rose to its current popularity in the 19th century.
Every year as 30 April turns to 1 May, Walpurgis Night is celebrated with all manner of festivities inspired by the supernatural. So the legend goes, witches on broomsticks and pitchforks fly in from all directions to convene with their lord and master, the Devil, with whom they celebrate in frenzied fashion until the mists of morning arrive. Walpurgis Night heralds the start of summer in northern Europe. This is why the ghosts and ghouls associated with darkness must vanish before the sun rises in order to relinquish dominion to the figures of light. Revellers from all over Germany flock to the Harz mountains to mark the occasion, though the region has plenty to offer throughout the year as well.



A2, A14, A395, B6, train station