Voergaard Castle: a Danish castle supposedly haunted by a woman too independent to not be a witch….
In short, it is said that the lady of this Renaissance castle had the architect thrown into the moat and left to drown, so that he could never build another one like it…
Voergaard Castle, locally know as Voergaard Slot, is popular both for its art collection and for its ghost stories, and it is located in Drottninglund, in northeastern Denmark.
It houses works by artista like Goya, Rubens, and Raphael, as well as furniture belongining to both Louis XIV and Louis XVI and, with its oldest part dating back to 1480, the castle with its wide moat and meter-thick walls has had many years to accrue both art and legend.
Besides an infamous dungeon without light, ventilation, or room for a man to sit or stand, without light or air holes, many of the stories surrounding Voergaard Castle have to do with a merciless noblewoman named Ingeborg Skeel. In addition to killing Philip Brandin, the poor architect, she is charged with continual cruelty, greed, and thoroughly haunting the castle itself. So thoroughly that a priest was called in after her death to perform an exorcism to lay her spirit to rest in a nearby marsh.
Either way, in the north-eastern tower room, there is a stain on the floor, which is purported to originate from someone killed on that spot. Surely innocent blood, as the stain cannot be removed. The stain was all but forgotten for many years, but when the room was renovated in 1997, it seems that the stain reappeared as many years’ varnish was sanded off. No matter how much the floor is sanded, as the stain always reappears after a few days.
History, however, presents a more intrigued picture.
Castle’s recorded history goes back to 1481. At the outbreak of the Count’s Feud it was owned by Stygge Krumpen, Bishop of Børglum and then, after the Reformation, confiscated by the Crown in 1536.
In 1578, King Frederick II ceded the property to Karen Krabbe in exchange for Nygaard, an estate located between Vejle and Kolding. So, there was really a woman named Ingeborg Skeel (1545 – 17 October 1604), Krabbe’s daughter, who acquired the estate in the same year, when it also received status as a local judicial unit. The highly-enterprising woman managed the estate herself, which was unusual for her time, and aroused the suspicion of the locals. In addition to accusations of various evil deeds, it was rumored that she was a witch, in a pact with the devil, and a number of other unsavory charges.
Ingeborg can’t have been all bad, though: she was certainly a talented businesswoman, and gave back to the community in a number of ways, donating money to the local poor house and erecting both a hospital and school for the people living in nearby Sæby. So, if the reports of a ghostly lady making her way around the castle at night are true, she may not be out to steal souls or to scare poor visitors, but she may just want to be sure her finances are still in order!
And, if all this wasn’t enough, In a display case at the castle lies the skin of a wild boar brought down in the castle grounds during the 18th century. As the wild boar was brought down on the border between Voergaard and Hundslund, a minor feud arose, resulting in a sharing of the spoils. Voergaard got the skin and, according to legend, the wild boar skin must never be removed from Voergaard Castle or the entire building will come crashing down to the ground…