The Gateway to Hell

I searched for a desolate remote place, with a lonely impregnable forbidding chapel ravaged by time. When I found Bezdez Castle near Prague, I knew I had the perfect location.  Steep never ending broad granite steps, hacked into what looks like a single slab of granite rock. The old crumbling portico’s submerged in fog casting a ghostly hue on the surrounding forest. I selected Bezdez and its chapel atop the hill as the entrance to “The Gateway to Hell”.”

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Enormous granite steps have been hewn into the hill, leading through crumbling stone porticos to the convent chapel at its peak. Isolated and inaccessible, its steep incline covered with a dense forest. Every so often, beside the sharply inclining steps, is a small platform, carved with a small candlelit grotto. There are fourteen platforms in all, for each of the fourteen Stations of the Cross“. – The Devil’s Prayer.

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Hrad Bezdez complemented my visit the previous day to a place so steeped with occult that it was captured specifically by Hitler during World War II. Here Hitler housed eerie scientists and occultists in a vain attempt to win the war. I speak of Houska Castle also located near Prague.

Nobody knows who built Houska Castle nor why it was built in the first place. It was built with no access to water and no kitchen. According to local legend, at Houska, there once was a bottomless hole in the ground from which emerged a creature that was half-man and half-beast—a centaur. It was said that black-winged creatures would fly around the centaur as it roamed the surrounding forest. A chapel was built of solid rock over the top of this hole, not as a place of worship, but to seal the bottomless pit, which was thought to be the ‘Gateway to Hell’.

The description of the chapel of the Convento de Santa Therese was inspired by the chapel at Houska Castle.  “The ancient room was empty, dimly lit by two sconces and a small candle chandelier.  There was a mural of Saint Christopher holding Jesus. The chapel altar, illuminated by the gentle light falling through a window behind it, had no cross”.

 

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The chapel had no statues, and painted on the walls of the ancient chapel were murals, now old and faded, depicting a vile monster, witches, and black bat-winged creatures with contorted human faces and a mural of the archangel Gabriel pinning the fallen angel Lucifer. 

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But yet it was not my visit to one of the most haunted chapel’s on earth which left me scarred. Attached to the chapel is Hrad Houska and it once was a residence. Our guide, the property manager extracted a comically large key to open it.

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We walked through the castle decorated with deer heads as was the fashion of the time. We entered a room with wooden floors filled with abandoned children’s toys, which perhaps dated back to the early 1900’s.

Our guide opened the large windows of the children’s room and showed us the view of the dense forest which surrounded Houska. Suddenly a wind whipped up. It was a strange wind as you can see from the trees, some bent east and some leaned towards the west almost giving way to something approaching.

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And then the old rocking horse behind us started to rock creaking in sync on the wooden floor. I decided it was time to leave.

Travel Tips

I was on a reece for The Devil’s Prayer and so I visited with a locations manager by car at the time. Hrad Houska or Houska Castle and Bezdez Castle can both be reached from Prague in less than an hour. Check before you get there as these locations are often shut early during the week. The owners of Houska soon got tired of constant break in’s from ghost lovers and ghost busters. Today it is often leased out to occult conferences and paranormal conventions. Check that it is open before you go.

You can see the amazing locations of The Devil’s Prayer at http://www.devilsprayer.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

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