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By: Maria Rybarova

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Everybody who likes ghosts, witches and also fun, came to Bojnice where IV. International festival of ghosts and witches took place the last week of April.

This year I personally took part in this festival as a Chinese slave. I hope that my participation helps me to write this story more interesting.

The festival started on April 25 and continued until May 4. It was opened with two hour long parade of ghosts across Bojnice. The streets were full of people and children. This year’s festival was in the sign of Ancient Orient. The main figure was an Italian traveler from medieval times: Marco Polo. At the very beginning he had to rescue the beautiful Chinese slave Kogatin-Lotus flower from slavery. Afterward both of them showed the castle full of ghosts and witches to the visitors. In the first room Marco Polo had read through the message from Chinese Sultan Kublaj to Matus Cak Trenciansky. In the next room the ghosts of the Palfy family's family told the history of their family. The count Jan Palfy was the last aristocratic owner of the Bojnice's castle. In the dining room the visitors could taste delicious tea and also they had to rescue the princes from prison of two ugly witches. A brave visitor had to find a "snake’s eye" in the vase full of strange things.

Really big attraction was the youngest girl-fakir in Europe. She is only five years old. She lied down on needle bed in front of the visitors.

On the second floor of the castle we met the horrible ghosts of the Chinese town Fengdu. I can tell you that the visitors were screaming in fear all the time. I am sure that everyone is familiar with the princess Sherezad, who was telling stories to the sultan Sulejman. She told him 1001 stories, because she wanted to save her life. Belly dancers were also in the room. Third floor was full of ghosts and dead soldiers, who were buried with their sultan, because they had to serve him also after his death. On the top floor Marco Polo said the sad story about the Black lady, who jumped from the castle’s tower to prove her innocence. She didn’t die, but she went to heaven. Lots of ghosts and ugly creatures were also in the castle’s tower. The yelling of children and even adults could persuade us about it.

The next stop was Palfy's tomb. There, in a big marble sarcophagus count Ján Palfy is buried. He died in 1908. Some time ago some mysterious liquid was flowing out from the sarcophagus. They called it: "the tears of Jan Palfy." The people thought that he tried to show his sadness, because his last will was broken. In his last will he wrote that all his possessions that are in the castle must stay there. However his grasping descendants sold everything in foreign countries. Finally in 1938 they sold the castle too. In 1950 there was a fire at the castle and the castle’s towers were destroyed. After a big reconstruction the castle was reopened as a museum. The mysterious black liquid has stop flowing of the sarcophagus. It is said that it did stop when the famous and very well known Bojnice's Altar was returned to castle after many years from Prague.

The last stop was a natural cave under the castle. A magic compass was placed here showing the visitors their destiny. At the end of the Marco Polo and Kogain thanked the visitors for their visit.

The castle was open also at night and audiovisual program called Lux in Tenebris, showing the history of the castle was shown. There were thousands of visitors at the festival. Even the rainy weather didn't have affect on the attendance.

If you like fairy tails, ghosts and witches and you like to be scared please come next year to Bojnice to the V. International festival of ghosts and witches. The ghosts will be very pleased to see you in Bojnice.

Maria Rybarova
Holleho 5
972 01 Bojnice

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Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 5, No. 2, Summer 1997
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1997 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.