Haunted by whom, exactly? Johann Konrad Dippel, an eccentric alchemist, doctor, theologian, and all-around nut whose work might have been the inspiration for Dr. Frankenstein.
Dippel gained a local reputation for being a bit of a mad scientist. Born at the castle in 1673, became the subject of legend that recounted him robbing graves, performing gruesome experiments on the corpses, and attempting to transfer the soul from one dead body to another. He
You can learn more about Dippel while visiting the castle if you choose to book a guided tour beforehand, but in case you show up unannounced, here’s a brief overview: Dippel was the son of a clergyman ad was raised to go into preaching. He graduated with a degree in Theology from the University of Giessen, but became more interested in philosophy, palmistry (i.e., palm reading), and alchemy.
A controversial man through and through, he held many unpopular religious views, served seven years in prison for heresy, killed a man in a duel, and actually got himself banned from Sweden and Russia. It’s thought he died of poisoning.
After a day of myths and hauntings, visitors eat at the Castle Frankenstein restaurant and take in panoramic views of the Rhine Valley; it occasionally hosts spine-chilling events like murder-mystery dinners, Elvis impersonators, and live jazz. The restaurant specializes in Swiss cuisine on account of Shelley’s novel taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. Its motto: “The myth tastes good!”
The castle is open year-round each day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but if you’re a haunted house enthusiast, you’ll want to book your trip around Halloween. During October and November, Castle Frankenstein hosts a sizable Halloween party; more than 100 monsters interact with visitors. As one traveler put it, “the people dressed as monsters and ghouls will grab you and have some fun with you, and as happened to me, put you in a coffin — but its all good fun.” Halloween is when the grounds sees its largest crowds, but special buses run up to the castle from Darmstadt to accommodate guests.