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Uncover the secrets of witchcraft and persecution at Penzlin Castle Museum

Penzlin Castle dates from the 15th century and now stands as a nationally renowned reminder of the persecution of witches in northern Germany in the early modern era. The cultural history museum in the castle has been focused on magic and witch-hunting since 1994.
The stately red-brick building of Penzlin Castle is situated on the fringes of the Mecklenburg Lakes, between the Tollensee and Müritz lakes. With a museum dedicated to magic and witchcraft, a visit to the castle promises to be a particularly spellbinding experience. In contrast to most of Germany's northern and Protestant states, Mecklenburg played a central role in the persecution of witches in Europe. Here, people were tortured until they confessed.
Behind ancient castle walls, in dark dungeons deep below the courtyard, "witches" had to suffer until they admitted their "guilt". Instruments of torture emerge ominously from the darkness: the rack, thumb screws, torture chairs with iron thorns, with a crucifix next to them. From 1560, women were chained up in alcoves and locked away behind great wooden doors in these caverns of horror in order to exorcise the power of the devil. Punishments ranged from exile to being burnt at the stake or beheaded.
The exhibition at Penzlin Castle provides a fascinating insight into the times of witch-hunts and persecution and its underground dungeons are of great historical importance. Here, women suspected of witchcraft were incarcerated in small alcoves under inhuman conditions. The museum also has a torture chamber on display, complete with instruments of torture and stocks, as well as documents from witchcraft and heresy trials. An exhibition on the top floor shows how artists have explored the subject of the mass hysteria that led to the persecution. The museum covers a whole host of subjects: the early modern era, the legal process, witch trials, names and fates of witches, the culture of magic and the laws relating to it, profane magic, the supernatural in local mythology, as well as Ernst Barlach and witchcraft. It also provides extensive documentation on over 2,000 witch trials. The herb garden, the medieval open-hearth kitchen and the banqueting hall are also well worth a visit. Closed on Mondays. From November to April closed on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Specialist guided tours available on request.



A19, A20, A24, B192, B198, train station: Neustrelitz, Waren or Neubrandenburg