Prague is full of ghosts and legends. There are said to be over 100 ghosts and otherworldly creatures that call Prague home. These spirits are intertwined in the city’s history and culture and part of what makes Prague so enchanting.
Although there are spirits all over Prague, some areas seem to be more appealing to them than others. So if you’re hoping to run into something otherworldly while visiting, I’ve put together a guide for the most haunted places in Prague.
Staré Město (Old Town)
If you’re looking for ghosts in Prague, Staré Město is one of the first places you should check out. There are several hotspots for spirits in Prague’s old town. It is also home to some of the city’s most famous ghosts. Here are the best areas in Staré Město to go ghost hunting, but these are just to get you started – there are dozens more all over the Old Town!
Old Town Square
Even if you try, it is difficult to avoid Prague’s Old Town Square. Here you will find the popular astronomical clock, Church of Our Lady before Týn, and St Nicholas’ Church. However, it turns out that amidst all the popular tourist destinations lurk the spirits of many former residents. So be careful where you step, or who you bump into because not all of them are friendly ghosts!
Quite a few spirits and ghosts haunt the Old Town Square, but here are a few of the most popular:
A noblewoman who killed her servant but regretted it and repented. She became a nun and now spends her afterlife ringing the bells at the Church of Our Lady before Týn.
If you walk down Celetná Street at night, you might find yourself watching a priest and a prostitute argue. The priest killed her with his cross and then immediately died of a heart attack. They are now doomed to haunt Celetná Street together every night.
St Nicholas’ Church is haunted by the “Strangling Jewess,” said to be the mistress of a monk named Anselm. The church Abbott found out about the affair and had Anselm moved out of the city.
The woman went insane with grief and eventually strangled the Abbott to death. She still wanders the streets searching for clergymen to strangle. But if none are around, she will happily attack whoever is available.
The 12 Headless Ghosts of Charles Bridge
Each year on 21 June it is rumoured you can see 12 headless ghosts walking in a procession from the Charles Bridge back to the Old Town square. These are the ghosts of some of the 27 men executed in the Old Town Square. There are only 12 as only those considered the most influential had their heads placed in iron baskets and hung from the Old Town Bridge Tower.
And of course, there’s the former cult member. Apparently one of the buildings in the Old Town Square once housed a cult and now a woman who used to be a member haunts and insults new residents by telling them they don’t belong there. She occasionally comes outside and is rude to passersby, as well.
St James Church
Just behind the Old Town square is St James Church, another rather haunted area in Prague’s Old Town. Clearly holy ground isn’t even safe in Prague!
Here you might find a Latvian soldier who haunts the church at night. Even if you don’t recognize Latvian, you’ll know him by his demonic face and red hood.
A butcher who was killed because he refused to fight in the Prague Uprising in 1611 is said to return every year on St Bartholomew Day (August 24) with a fiery axe.
If you enter St James Church, you might see a mummified arm hanging from the ceiling. This belongs to a thief who tried to rob the church. A statue of Mary came to life and grabbed him. The thief’s arm was chopped off because she wouldn’t let go. Now it hangs as a warning to anyone else harbouring similar intentions.
Josefov (the Old Jewish Quarter)
Over a dozen spirits call Josefov home. A popular tale is the dancing Jewess – said to be a prostitute who was whipped to death on Good Friday – who now returns on Good Friday each year to dance men to their deaths.
Another spirit is the wandering organist who travels between the Old Jewish Cemetery and St Vitus Cathedral – where he played when he was alive. As a Jewish convert who converted back to Christianity at death, he is tied to both places. He travels back and forth playing the organ, accompanied by a skeleton ferryman. You might also see him with a black cat, said to be his former wife.
However, the most famous spirit that resides in Josefov is the Prague Golem. The Golem was a creature moulded out of clay by Judah Loew ben Bezalel, or Rabbi Loew. He was created to protect the Jews of Prague from Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor. It is believed the Golem still lives in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue in Josefov.
Want to hear more about Prague’s Jewish Quarter? Book a tour here: Prague: Jewish Quarter Walking Tour
St Agnes Convent
The area in and around Saint Agnes’ Convent is no stranger to hauntings either. A noblewoman was once forced to enter the convent, and as a nun had to practice celibacy. However, she had a secret lover, and when her father caught them meeting, he murdered her. Her ghost now haunts the convent, but thankfully she is known to do good deeds.
Just north of the convent, the ghost of a Native American can be seen at sunrise on Na Frantisku, near the river. It is said that he was travelling with a Wild West Show and died whilst in Prague, and he appears every morning, longing to go home.
On your way to the Charles Bridge beware of the bookbinder Antoniš who mumbles curses in an unknown language, a greedy flaming skeleton and a crazed barber with a razor in his hand.
Supposedly the latter will be freed if you accept a shave, but that’s your call. If it helps you decide, he isn’t exactly Sweeney Todd – he lost his money, his family and his mind in the failed pursuit of alchemy.
The iconic Charles Bridge is one of the most haunted places in Prague. For starters, several of the aforementioned ghosts walk across the bridge between Malá Strana and Staré Město. However, the bridge houses its own ghosts and spirits. Legend has it that the bridge was even built with the aid of the devil himself.
Most famously – though not really a ghost story – St John of Nepomuk was thrown from the bridge for refusing to tell the king his wife’s confession. After he drowned five stars appeared above the spot he drowned. His statue now looks over the bridge.
There is one – possibly two – water sprites who hangs out near the Charles Bridge. One of them is a Pagan spirit by the name of Perun. Perun’s sword is stuck in Charles Bridge, so he never strays far.
Annoyed at his lot in life, Perun likes to drown swimmers. The other water sprite MIGHT also be Perun or an entirely different sprite. This one is said to steal the souls of men who cross the bridge, especially those who insult sprites.
Malá Strana (Lesser Town)
The second most haunted area in Prague is Malá Strana, or Lesser Town, across the Charles Bridge from Old Town. Anyone visiting Prague is sure to wind up here at some point to see Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral – both of which are incredibly haunted, so keep your eyes peeled for ghosts!
Here are a few spirits to watch out for on this side of the river:
On Karmelitská Street, a former Madame haunts rich men. She bled to death after her tongue was nailed to a board by a customer and now she yells incomprehensibly at anyone who shows signs of wealth.
Further north on Tomášská Street, you might find the ghost of an old man with a nail in his head. He was killed by his wife and her lover, his apprentice.
If find yourself on Nerudova at night, be careful because a devil-child runs through the street breaking windows, a headless Swedish soldier is forever searching for his riches, and the Moors statues at number 5 are said to come alive at night!
Hradčany (the Castle District)
The Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral are the most popular places to visit in Malá Strana – and the most haunted!
Here, the ghost of an Italian trumpeter hangs out on the New Castle Steps and tries to scare tourists with his trumpet.
Another ghost near the castle steps is that of a noblewoman who fell in love with a commoner. Her father was furious when he found out and had the young man conscripted. The woman froze to death waiting for her love one evening. She is still waiting for him to come home.
A former palace cook named Jindrich got so angry one day that he killed and served his dog for dinner. Jindrich’s spirit still haunts the grounds and he is said to be regularly attacked by dogs.
Emauzy Monastery & Faust House
It might seem like an odd combo, but the Emauzy Monastery and the Faust House (Faustův Dům) are right next to each other, so it’s fitting to put them together. In fact, while Emauzy is home to more ghosts, perhaps it’s because of the Faust house and its connections to the Devil.
Yes, it is rumoured that the Faust, the one of German legend lived in this house. Locally it is even believed that here is where Mephistopheles came to claim Faust’s soul following his bargain for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Supposedly there remains a black hole that cannot be covered by wallpaper or paint.
In addition to Faust, the house has seen a fair share of odd inhabitants, many of whom were interested in the occult and alchemy. Today, however, it is in Charles University First Faculty of Medicine.
In nearby Emauzy Monastery, there are a few ghosts to look out for. If you are greeted outside by three ghostly looking black dogs, they are the souls of three former monks.
The monastery is built on a former pagan cemetery, and when it was excavated, the monks gave the bones to a dog to chew. When the Abbott saw them doing this, he told them off for disrespecting their ancestors and they then turned into three large dogs.
The dog’s snarl and bark, but are said to be harmless. If you want to free their souls, they can be released if a non-Christian scratches them behind the ears.
Several other ghosts haunt Emauzy, including a priest who protects the city from invasion by preventing the bells from ringing.
There are plenty of haunted places in the Vyšehrad area. On the walls of the estate, people have been terrorized by the ghost of a French major from the siege of 1741. While on Vratislavova Street, the Silver King – thought to be Ottokar II of Bohemia, who died in battle – rides on a silver horse toward Vyšehrad.
On the more bizarre end of the haunted spectrum, further south, a flaming headless dog has been seen riding in a coach pulled by headless horses and an equally headless coachman. Due to the flames, they have been presumed to come from Hell itself.
Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital
The Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital and cemetery (also called The Bohnicky Cemetery of Fools) were in operation from 1909 to 1951, and are now believed to be one of the most haunted places in Prague.
Like many insane asylums, Bohnice has its share of tales about patient mistreatments, potential murders, suicides and sketchy goings-on. You can take a nighttime ghost tour to hear more about the ghosts whose souls are stuck here.
Book here: Prague: Ghosts and Legends Walking Tour
Beware if you take your phone, supposedly coverage is pretty poor in the cemetery.
There are also rumours that Gavrilo Princip, the man who shot Franz Ferdinand and started WWI, is buried here. But that is highly unlikely.
Written by Dagney McKinney from Cultura Obscura
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