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Horror Writer’s Workshop day five: The most haunted house in Romania

Hasdeu Castle has a strange, sad history.

After his daughter Iulia (pronounced Julia) died of tuberculosis at the age of nineteen, Bogdan Hasdeu claimed to receive instructions from beyond the grave. For some reason, Iulia, a brilliant prodigy who had written several books and painted masterpieces during her young life, wanted nothing more than for her father to build a weird house that resembles a castle.

And so it was.

Weird stories have surrounded the castle for years. Two workmen who mocked the giant statue of Jesus in the centre of the home suddenly died, as did two boys who attempted to deface Iulia’s tomb. The boys had marks on their necks, as if they’d been strangled.


Don’t mock the Jesus. Seriously.


One of the house’s rooms has a large hole in the wall that Bogdan used to listen to messages from the spirit world. This room was covered with murals of angels until the communists came into power and destroyed everything.

Everyone who works in the house has a tale to tell. Sometimes Iulia’s piano plays itself. Or the security cameras pick up weird, bouncing lights. All visitors are warned not to laugh at the Jesus statue, but I’m not sure why anyone would. It may not be anyone’s idea of understated decor, but I couldn’t see anything humorous about it.

Sadly, I didn’t see a glimmer of the supernatural at Iulia’s castle, or get any strange vibes. However, I was about the only one. Several people in our writing group felt a strong positive energy, as if Iulia herself was urging them to write. This feeling was so powerful that these people finished their stories about her within a day or two, and considering how packed our schedule was, that’s pretty damn impressive.



Picnic with the dead


Maybe Iulia didn’t feel like speaking to me that day. I know I didn’t feel like writing, so I spent my time wandering around the castle instead. The cemetery where we ate lunch spoke to me more. It had an eerie feel, but was also hauntingly beautiful. I could have spent several hours there.

What’s the creepiest place you’ve ever been? What happened to you there?

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  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    Laughing at Jesus is always a bad idea.
    He built the castle for his daughter? Almost as weird as the Winchester Mystery House.

    • JH

      Yes, it is really strange. There’s plenty of drawings of his daughter on her deathbed too. Hard not to think the man had an unhealthy obsession with her, but perhaps they were just really close.

      I was careful not to laugh. 🙂

  2. Tina Scowen

    I grew up by Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg and as teenagers with no where to go we would often share beers at night in there. And scare the crap out of each other.
    It was so dark one night that 6of us went there and were sitting in the back past the military area. Couldn’t see anything. Then we just heard all this rustling in the trees. In about the span of a minute there were about 20 cats coming out of the trees. Scared the crap out of us all.
    Was a very long while before we went back. We were probably 15 at the time.

    • JH

      Wow, that would be scary, Tina! I’ve never seen so many cats at once, outside of animal shelters. Did one of your group have a tin of tuna, by any chance? 😉

  3. Birgit

    It seems many people who had wealth built strange homes…like the Winchester lady. This place sounds quite eerie and quite interesting. Not sure about the big Jesus statue but to each their own. Cemeteries in Europe are often quite pretty so I can see having a picnic there. My 2 eerie experiences in Europe was one in Paris. We visited this medieval museum with tapestries etc… but it was in an old abbey. They were digging in the back and finding tombs. My then husband and I went into one tomb with a knight buried there and I felt very cold and very uneasy. Can’t explain why but had to leave that tomb. The other experience was in Prague. We visited a small museum and in one room there were outfits worn by the priests back in the 1800’s. We could go down a staircase to look at the original foundation of St. Charles bridge. We were ready to go up when my ex said someone was coming down and he saw priest’s robes, black, which reminded him of what he saw in the glass case. I saw a shadow and we heard the person walk towards a part of that room where there were only windows. When we went back up, no one was in the room. It was a small museum and we looked around, no woman was wearing a long black skirt and there were no priests. We asked the person at the front entrance if they saw anything or if a priest came in and she stated that no one came in or left since us. That freaked us out a bit

    • JH

      Wow, that is really creepy, Birgit! Thanks for sharing.

      I see you have the travel bug as well. 🙂 I can definitely relate.

      The cemetery was beautiful and so interesting. I didn’t get the chance to see more than a small portion of it.

  4. Barbara In Caneyhead

    I like the castle shaped house! I can’t imagine putting a large statue or Jesus in it. I would think that cemetery had some extremely old graves in it and a widely varied host of stories to go with the decedents. Beautiful location!

    As an older teen, a group of friends and I got in a habit of visiting “creepy” places at night. Looking for thrills. We managed to scare ourselves most every time. An old mansion with an overabundance of wheelchairs ?! in downtown Beaumont, TX. An old hull of a burned out brick house in the woods that had a pool beside it, to name a couple.

    The creepiest thing I ever experienced is right here in our own home. We moved to the old home place here after Pete’s dad passed away. The house he was living in at the time was only three rooms and we had to live in them until we got it added onto. His old bedroom was our bedroom for almost two years. It had a strange effect on Pete. He began to act more and more like his Daddy did in his younger years. (He and his brother had a reputation around these parts that still lives on.) He even began to take an odd obsessive interest in finding ways he looked like his dad and extenuating them. Then we were finally able to move into our bedroom and Pete acted more like Pete. Would trim his bread again, etc. When he first became ill, about five years later, he started sleeping in that bedroom again, thinking he could rest better alone. It started all over again! Eventually, one night, when Hannah Bug and I went in to kiss him goodnight, he said “Don’t I look like Daddy in the coffin?” I felt so unsettled by his remark on top of his weird behavior and as I prayed for him I felt if we left him in there he would kill himself before morning. He had been so depressed of late, he was drunk and there was a shotgun on one side of the bed and a rifle on the other. So, Bug and I went back in there and coaxed, cajoled, and cried and finally convinced him to come out of there and us all to sleep together in our king size bed that night (with him in the middle). The next day, I quietly and emphatically explained to him my concerns with him staying in that room. Thankfully, he never returned to that bedroom and we use it as storage.

    I do not believe that spirits of the deceased visit this world. I believe anytime someone experiences spirit activity it is either angelic in origin or demonic. As to Pete’s “change” staying in the room, I believe it was the demons of his childhood in his own mind that effected the change. He loved his father emphatically. But in his childhood days his father would drink and become a brute.

    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    • JH

      Wow, Barbara, that is a super creepy story! Thanks for sharing it, and sorry it took me so long to reply. I was in Greece when you sent this.

      I’m glad you got your husband out of that room. Truly spooky.

  5. Jaime

    I live in Arkansas and took a trip to Eureka Springs several years ago to stay at the 1886 Crescent Hotel. It’s supposed to be very haunted and was on an older episode of Ghost Hunters. There were no creepy things in the room we stayed in, in fact, we slept good! We did take the ghost tour, which ends in the basement. Down there, there is a different sort of creepy feeling you get. Maybe just the anticipation of something happening or the knowledge of the history of the place (during its time as The Baker Cancer Hospital in the late 30’s, the basement was the morgue & Dr. Baker was somewhat of a charlatan who disposed of victims who didn’t make it through his “treatments” alive in some unscrupulous ways. I believe he was arrested for possibly killing the very people he was supposed to be curing, and his hospital was shut down.)

    • JH

      Ooh, very creepy, Jaime! I hadn’t heard of this hotel–I’ll have to look into it. We have a famous haunted hotel here too, and I spent a night in the supposedly haunted room once. I even had a Ouija board.

      Nothing happened.


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