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In previous years I wrote to you at this time about the International festival of Ghosts and Witches that takes place in Bojnice. This was the fifth year of the festival. It started on April 30th and lasted two weekends until may 10th. This year's festival was in the sign of a negative historical person of the Bojnice's castle Peter Poky a castellan of the castle for Jan a illegitimate son of the King Matej Korvin 1442-1490.

In the first courtyard we met Jan Korvin and his love Blanka Sforzova who accompanied us through the whole visit of the macabre castle.

We had an audience with King Matej Korvin and witnessed the king giving the castle and lands to his son Jan and his bride. In the next rooms we seen lots of people dressed in historical costumes performing dances and telling us about the history of the castle including the story of Peter Poky. Peter poky was the castellan of the Bojnice's castle and the warden of Bojnice's domain. He was very proud, greedy and bad person. He didn't want to help the poor and didn't want to see their poverty. The healing spring at the castle mount was there nobody remembers from when. Peter Poky didn't want the poor there so he collected money for bathing. Once a sick beggar came to ask a permission to bathe for free and Poky refused. The beggar told him a curse: "Money which you got from the poorest people will change into worthless stones and you will be bereft of your bad life by the hangman. He hurried to the castle to see his money turned to stones right in front of his eyes. You can see round flat stones all around the castle even these days. Later on he went as far as plotting Jan Korvin's death, was captured and sentenced to death. He was executed in Budin. The second part of our visit was much more scary then the first one. We had to go through the hell, full of death corpses claiming out of their coffins in dark and catching our legs. Can you imagine the terrified kids screams? In the huge deep cave under the castle we met the ghost of Peter Poky, still keeping the guard over his money, but he couldn't prevent the curse. At the end he was throwing chocolate money to everyone in the cave.

The festival ended with the "quartering" of the main hero of the 5th Bojnice's festival Peter Poky.

At the end of my report I would like to tell you my own feelings about the festival. My first impression was very positive as I liked it from the first minute. I was told the young people who were pretending to be the historical persons were mostly from artistic schools. This was noticeable by the high level of their performances. If I compare it with the previous festivals, I must tell you that this was positively the best. In the beautiful park below the castle were stands with display of folk art and of course as it is customary at all festivals many stands with real big time junk. One could even touch a real live 3 meters long snake or could take a picture with him, of course for a fee. Our friend Miroslav Haronik was all dressed up in historic costume also and he was minting authentic Bojnice's castle copper coins in the first courtyard.

Maria Rybarova
Holleho 5
972 01 Bojnice

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Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 6, No. 3, Fall 1998
Copyright Vladimir Linder 1998 
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.