Ghost stories in Central Switzerland


Description

Ghost stories are part of the living oral heritage of Central Switzerland. Their setting is always a real place in everyday surroundings. Hauntings are witnessed by real people, either living or deceased (in contrast to the protagonists of most legends, whose historical authenticity is doubted). At the heart of the stories is the description of a supernatural phenomenon that manifests itself in the form of sounds, movements or visual apparitions which cannot be explained in rational terms. The phenomena are said to be caused by the 'unfortunate souls' of deceased, frequently unidentifiable people. Since it is taboo to speak about ghosts and hauntings in public, stories are usually told amongst friends and family only.

Image gallery

  • Ghosts feature in many stories: scene from the documentary “Arme Seelen” (lost souls), featuring Josef Stadler (l.) from Bürglen (UR) and Remigi Bissig Isenthal (UR), 2011 © Edwin Beeler, Luzern
  • Portrait of Melchior Joller (1818-1865), oil on canvas, 1840 © Nidwaldner Museum, Stans
  • The Joller house in Stans (NW) three days before it was demolished, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch
  • Lantern hanging outside the Joller house, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch
  • Living room in the Joller house, including sofa, original windows and curtains, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch
  • Staircase in the Joller house, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch
  • Ghosts feature in many stories: scene from the documentary “Arme Seelen” (lost souls), featuring Josef Stadler (l.) from Bürglen (UR) and Remigi Bissig Isenthal (UR), 2011 © Edwin Beeler, Luzern
  • Portrait of Melchior Joller (1818-1865), oil on canvas, 1840 © Nidwaldner Museum, Stans
  • The Joller house in Stans (NW) three days before it was demolished, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch
  • Lantern hanging outside the Joller house, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch
  • Living room in the Joller house, including sofa, original windows and curtains, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch
  • Staircase in the Joller house, February 2010 © Felix Schönberg, fotofactum.ch

References and documentation

Publications
  • Edwin Beeler: Arme Seelen (DVD). Ed. Calypso Film AG. Luzern, 2011

  • Gesellschaft für das Schweizerische Landesmuseum (Ed.): Himmel, Hölle, Fegefeuer. Das Jenseits im Mittelalter. Ausstellungskatalog. Zürich, 1994

  • Rainer Hugener: Geister, Wunder, Alltag. Renward Cysats Bericht zu den Gespenstererscheinungen im Kloster Seedorf (1608). In: Der Geschichtsfreund 161. Stans, 2008, p. 97-187

  • Kurt Lussi: Im Reich der Geister und tanzenden Hexen. Jenseitsvorstellungen, Dämonen und Zauberglaube. Baden, 2002

  • Kurt Lussi: Das Phänomen brennender Totengeister am Beispiel eines Luzerner Spukfalls aus dem Jahre 1599. In: Ethnographisch-Archäologische Zeitschrift 50. Berlin, 2009, p. 39-51

  • Hanspeter Niederberger, Christof Hirtler: Geister, Bann und Herrgottswinkel. Kriens, 2000

  • Lukas Vogel: Schreckliche Gesellschaft. Das Spukhaus zu Stans und das Leben von Melchior Joller. Baden, 2011

Documentation