The dark side of Düsseldorf

Last night we went on an unofficial tour, led by Josh Simpkins, of Düsseldorf’s Altstadt to explore Düsseldorf’s dark side. Josh has spent the best part of a year researching all the terrible crimes and supernatural happenings in the town and this tour is the result of that. Although the walk calls itself ‘haunted Düsseldorf,’ it actually involves a creepy mixture of ghost stories, unsolved historical murders, assorted grisly crimes and other anecdotes.

Spot the ghost of the white lady….

Josh had the great idea of constructing his own portable projector which he used to illustrate his stories as we went along… suddenly walls, doors, even trees became screens for images from the past… this added a strong visual dimension to the experience.

Of course Düsseldorf by night is beautiful anyway, especially as the old town is still lit by around 14,000 original gas lights. These lend an almost Dickensian atmosphere to the streets when you are listening to ghost stories, tales of serial killers and unsolved murders.

Move over Jack the Ripper… Düsseldorf had worse, much worse…

More information about Josh’s tours and a booking form are on his webpage.

Another scene of a grisly unsolved murder….

Bruges in The Devil’s Missal

One episode in The Devil’s Missal is set in the historic city of Bruges in Belgium. What really inspired me was the atmosphere among the backstreets and canals. Most of the houses are still lived in by local people. The buildings almost all date from the late middle ages and even those which are dilapidated exude a unique charm. But even in the sunshine, the silence is eerie. It is almost as though ghosts are watching you from those empty windows.

Of course true lovers of ghost stories should visit Bruges by night. Then Bruges is at it’s spookiest, with its old street lamps and narrow alleyways. Echoing footsteps falling on cobbles reflect off the walls in strange way, so you never can quite tell whether or not some invisible presence is following you.