Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Spirit of Vaumarcus

When I worked one summer at the Château of Vaumarcus, the house of my ancestors, I was told by the Chatelain Claude Thalmann of the local spirit who inhabited the castle. He was a bit tongue and cheek about it and I laughed along with him.

Château de Vaumarcus by Night

I thought it was a joke, but in doing some research, I have found many references to this spirit that range from the diabolical to the simply mischievous. Whether true or not, it appears many people over time have given the legend some credence. When I stayed in the castle for a summer I will attest to some interesting occurrences. I have included an historical anecdote below:

The following story comes from Les sorcières neuchâteloises by Fritz Chabloz. It reveals the "protective" side of the spirit.

"We find still in one of the towers in the Château of Vaumarcus a saddle and bridle that act as proof of a local legend. The Baron of Vaumarcus was also a bailiff for the Canton of Bern. During a time of particular strife he was ordered to war by Bern and was about to leave the castle for battle. The local spirit who wanted to keep the family safe, took the Baron's horse and placed him in one of the towers of the castle. The Baron took this as an ominous sign and did not leave. Not long afterwards he learned that the battle had been a rout and was told that if he had commanded troops on that day he would surely have died."

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