Day 1: The Devil Walked Here
31 Days of Halloween: On Atlas Obscura this month, every day is Halloween. Stop by the blog every day this month for true tales of the unquiet dead. Come for the severed heads, stay for the book bound in human skin. Every story is true, and each one is a real place you can visit. We dare you.
Today: Break a deal with the devil; live with the consequences… In this case, surprisingly reasonable consequences.
Raising cash for cathedral is tough even in the best of times, and a certain level of desperation by aspiring cathedral builders is to be expected. Even so, turning to Satan seems like an unlikely choice. As it turns out, in this case the Devil was apparently intrigued enough with the plans to build a soaring new building in the center of Munich in 1468 to put up the funds himself; with one caveat, of course: That the new cathedral be a triumph of black, eternally dark, built with no windows. Says the architect: No problem, sir. Is that the cash right there in that sack?
When the Devil returned to survey the completed work and spotted the gigantic, deal-breaking windows, he
destroyed the cathedral in a fiery inferno cursed the city with an annual sausage and beer themed tourist hell stamped his foot like an angry toddler, forever marking the floor of the Frauenkirche with his black size 12, and left in a snit.
The record does not show whether at that point the architect dissolved into a cloud of black smoke and rendered up his eternal soul to serve the Dark Lord, but we’d like to think so, for the sake of Satan’s reputation.
GO SEE FOR YOURSELF
DER TEUFELSTRITT (THE DEVIL’S FOOTPRINT) Frauenkirche, Munich, Germany
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