Wednesday, March 26, 2014

“The Belarusian Bermuda Triangle”

“The Belarusian Bermuda Triangle”

The Mysterious Triangle
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Olshany or Golshany, is how it's called in Belarusian… This place is included into the list of the most mysterious places of the world. Olshany is a tiny village that coexists with a so-called Belarusian Bermuda Triangle. Unlike the real Bermuda Triangle where planes or ships with their passengers disappear nowhere mysteriously, the Belarusian Bermuda Triangle is harmless at all. As there only watches or clocks can become fast without any reason, camera films become overexposed or full digital cameras batteries become out of charge suddenly. But the most important thing is that according to statements of numerous witnesses there are some ghosts existing there. 

Almost each Belarusian place has got its own legend to tell. Our today’s Blogger Lens will be dedicated to the ghosts and spirits of  the locality called Olshany. 

In Belarus, near the road, from the town side of Oshmyany, there is a rock with an embossed figure on it “1280”. According to the ancient chronicle “The Chronicle of Byhovets”, exactly in that year, the year of 1280, the legendary Duke Olsha founded his patrimony on a beautiful hill which he called “The Lithuanian City of Olshany”. The duke’s descendants had the noble surname as they were Olshanskie. The Olshanskie were representatives of a rich and honorable family. The heirs of the glorious surname occupied high posts in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, while the fair half even became wives of kings. 

The Locality of Golshany 1280 - Belarus
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On the outskirts of Olshany, the famous Olshanskiy Castle is located which served as a prototype of the great historical novel “The Black Castle Olshanskiy” written by the Belarusian author Vladimir Korotkevich. Almost all the events described in the novel took place there in reality and that’s why they became a basis for writing the book.

Olshany is a small locality that is situated at the conjunction of the roads from the following Belarusian towns: Novogrudok, Oshmyany and Smorgon. It is around 125 km from the capital of Belarus, the city of Minsk, it is located in Grondno Region. This locality is a very different from some others, as it has got its own world with a special specific atmosphere. It is a world of legends and stories, a world for people with a rich imagination. This is the place where the spirits “Black Monk” and “White Lady” wander around, and where the walls of the great Olshanskiy Castle are crumbling away insensibly.

Lots of people who have visited Olshany and been witnesses of its mysterious inhabitants declare that there are real spirits there which haunt the ruins of the Olshanskiy Castle and an ancient Franciscan Monastery that is also situated in the same locality. Furthermore, native people of Olshany say that the local ghosts have become more active in these latter days. It can be connected with a resumption of the restoration work in Olshany which has disturbed the remains of some victims who were buried alive in the walls in medieval times.  But who were those people?

The Ghost “Black Monk”
Ghost Black Monk in Belarus
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In spite of the sad present condition, the Olshanskiy Castle remains a popular place of residence. However, honestly it is a popular place for living only for spirits. One of the most terrifying or better to say one of the most terrifying-romantic stories is connected with the ghost “Black Monk”.

In fact, the person called “Black Monk” was not a real monk. Long ago there was a young man living in the locality of Olshany, whose name was Gremislav Valuzhinich. That young man was not from a noble family and he did not have a great fortune. Gremislav Valuzhinich fell in love with the beauty of Olshany, the princess Anna-Gordislava Olshanskaya. Unfortunately, she reciprocated him and also fell in love with the simple young man.

The young man Gremislav Valuzhinich created his own plan to see his lover. He used to wear monk’s clothes and come to the castle in order to have “religious talks” to the princess. However, before long their deception was uncovered. The father of Anna-Gordislava  Olshanskaya got to know about his daughter’s secret meeting with a lowly man. Being very furious and respecting violent traditions of the Middle Ages, he ordered to seal the young man alive behind a wall of the Olshany Castle which had a thickness of one and a half meters. Since those times, through the corridors, and underpasses of the castle, a restless shadow of the “Black Monk” has been wandering terrifying passers-by. They say that the ghost “Black Monk” usually appears among the castle walls during moonlit nights and guard the ruins of the ancient Castle protecting them from so-called intruders. 

The Olshanskiy Castle at night - Belarus
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 As native people of Olshany say that at the end of the 20th century a teacher one of the educational institutions promised his students to let them go on their vacation earlier if each of them would bring 80 bricks for his personal purpose. The savviest students headed for the Olshanskiy Castle. As a result an arch of the castle fell in over the most zealous student and he died. 

The Spirit “White Lady” from the Franciscan Monastery located in Olshany
Ghost White Lady in Belarus
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One of the oldest legends in Olshany is considered to be the legend about the ghost “White Lady”, this is the way native people call this mysterious spirit. 

Around 400 years ago Pavel Stefan Sapega invested money in building a church with an attached monastery to it. Pavel Sapega was a very interesting man he was a brilliant politician and the helper of the chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The builders of the future church and monastery had been promised to get a great reward if they would have finished building by the deadline that was the 6th of August, 1618. All the builders were working hard and trying to do their best to get the promised reward. However, luck was not with them. As one of the built walls collapsed without any reason. All the builders were professionals in their field, and further they made 3 more attempts to solve the situation with the collapsed wall. Unfortunately, trice they failed it. The builders did not know what to do. As if some black magic forces were trying to spoil the godly building.

On the advice of some witch the builders discussed everything and decided to make a sacrifice. They decided that it would be the wife of one of them who would come first to bring lunch for her husband. Among the builders there was a young recently married man who was praying whole night and asking God to make his beloved wife come later. Because his young wife loved him very much and she was always the 1st one to bring his lunch to his work. That young girl always was so fast as if she was flying on the wings of love. But it was not surprising that the young man’s wife came first again on that fatal day and for that she paid with her life. The young woman was buried alive in the monastery wall. Since that day the lost soul of the victim, the spirit “White Lady” has started wandering around the corridors of the Franciscan Monastery.

the Franciscan Monastery in Golshany in Belarus
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 After such an awful terrifying incident the building of the collapsed wall went smoothly. And on the 6th of August in 1618 the construction of the church after John the Baptist and the Franciscan Monastery was finished successfully. Since that time the building with the attached monastery has never collapsed again. 

However, around 10 years ago, when they started the restoration of the Cathedral, the same wall cracked again. The builders started to clear the basement and found a woman’s skeleton immured in the wall. The found remains were kept in a carton box for some months.  There was a nice chance to read the burial service for the soul of the killed woman and bury the remains according to the proper church rituals.

Unfortunately, due to some builder’s mistake the remains were buried without carrying out the special religious rituals. And soon the two builders being absolutely healthy and full of energy died thick and fast for 4 months and they did not manage to show anybody the burial place of the remains. 

 the Franciscan Monastery inside - Belarus
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They say that the spirit “White Lady” dislikes especially men because precisely men predetermined her fate. After meeting the spirit during a night each man takes risks to turn grey next morning. According to the evidences of some witnesses, they found themselves in a specific zone that lacked of the laws of gravitation.  

The “White Lady” also dislikes journalists somehow. Once the group of some Belarusian TV channel came to Olshany in order to film a video for the New Year program. According to the script the actors playing the roles of the spirits “Black Monk” and “White Lady” would have to cross over a makeshift bridge standing between the walls of the ruins. They tried to film the planned scene 12 times, but every time they failed. And after their 13th attempt that had been also failed when the actress wearing a snow-white dress was returning back to the initial position she fell down from the makeshift bridge without any reason and hurt her head badly. The witnesses of that incident said that it had looked like a sharp kick to the chest. The actress felt the same.

They say that recently the ghost “Black Monk” has been also seen appearing in the Catholic Franciscan Monastery that is already 395 years old. It means that the spirit can change his location and stay in a cozier place instead of the comfortless ruined castle. By the way, the half of the Cathedral is used for its intended purpose while the other half belongs to the National Art Museum of Olshany, where during nights they can heat the sound of strange steps in the locked gallery rooms and corridors. Especially the famous ghosts of Olshany have liked a small room located in the only tower that is called the “Tower of Spirits”.

From time to time the spirit called the “Black Monk” appears in the building of the Franciscan Monastery during a clear night and he looks like a thin black silhouette against the window or the niche.   And then some strange things start happening: the ceiling changes its shape, the walls try to interlock. Any person being in the Tower of Spirits at this moment forgets about everything, becomes as if paralyzed and is watching what is happening.

The workers of the branch of the National Art Museum of Olshany and also visitors who are brave enough to stay in the monastery a whole night face various mysterious things: causeless instant knocks on the windowpanes or strange moans are heard, or as if someone throws small stones at them, or as if a thin transparent lady’s hand reaches a wall switch. Some lucky people even have seen the spirit “White Lady” with their own eyes. According to their descriptions, she is like a white lady’s silhouette wearing a white mouldering dress, a long graceful neck and big sad eyes. However, nobody has ever managed to take photos of the famous ghosts of Olshany.  

Many times different scientists have come to Olshany to prove the truthfulness of all the stories. Their special equipment has gone off-scale every time. And all the scientists concur that there are anomalous phenomena. 

Once the scientists of the Belarusian UFO Committee carried out investigations with the help of various equipment including the borrowed equipment from their colleagues from Russia. And they obtained  interesting results, even a bit curious ones. During their investigation in the castle a special investigation device disappeared from the locked room. The scientists did not manage to find it. The ghost of the Olshanskiy Castle stole the equipment. Later they also recorded some strange voice with a dictophone, however all the recordings were deleted without any reason.  

One day Russian scientists also carried out some investigation in the Castle. They fixed some phenomena too. For example, one of the experiments was carried out with help of special clocks that had been set absolutely in the same way. One of the scientists descended to the basement of the Olshanskiy Castle carrying one of the two clocks for some time. And when he returned back from the underground the both clocks showed a different time. 

The Olshanskiy Castle
The ruined  Olshanskiy Castle - Belarus
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“ …Castle. What a sinister castle, what a monstrous castle!
And it is neither on a hill nor aloof in order a person could prepare, but it is face to face, as if an unexpected blow of the sword.  
It is clear that the park was planted later when the castle stopped to be a castle and became a palace, maybe it was not so comfortable but suitable for those times. However the impression on it was truly stunning. It was such an impression as if a person approached bushes and suddenly saw a roaring lion’s mouth there.
And it was really so because I saw in front of me a dark and very low gateway.
And it was a gate opening, a gate tunnel, a gate entrance to a cave of a scary giant from some wicked fairy tale.”

This is the way the Belarusian author Vladimir Korotkevich chanted the castle in his famous novel “The Black Castle Olshansky”. 

The ruins of the Olshanskiy Castle in Belarus
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From the history of the Castle…

The ruined tower of the Olshanskiy Castle - Belarus
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 The 1st half of the 17th century became very significant for the locality of Olshany, as a luxurious palace was established there that time. It became a real pride of the principality. The initiator of its building became Pavel Stefan Sapega. Unfortunately, Pavel Sapega became the first and the last owner of the Olshanskiy Castle. He did not leave any heir after him. 

Nowadays the style of the Olshanskiy Castle is very difficult to distinguish because there are only the picturesque ruins left from it. Some scientists consider that this is an example of the Baroque architecture. Other scientists state that the castle ruins have got features of the Dutch Renaissance. It had the shape of a quadrangle. And on the corners of that quadrangle there were hexahedral towers. Its builders used the Dutch system of ground ramparts and broad ditches. 

The ruined walls of the Olshanskiy Castle - Belarus
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 The Olshanskiy Castle amazed with its luxury: its fretwork, rich tapestries, refined furniture, exquisite tableware, the best guns of those times. The windows that viewed the castle yard had stained-glass windows. The floor was designed with a mosaic. There were deep basements under the castle. The castle was so magnificent that it got the name “Stone Flower”. Gorgeous balls and receptions were organized there by Pavel Sapega, however he lived within his means. That’s why after his death Olshany and its possessions were divided among his creditors. 

The ruined stained-glass windows of the Olshanskiy Castle - Belarus
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Pavel Sapega was a very successful man of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in his professional sphere, but he was unhappy in his personal life.  He was married three times, and his three wives died. Pavel Sapega got the name “Blue Beard”. Besides it, he did not have any heirs. Many historians presume that this is the main cause of the desolation of the castle. If the castle had become a family nest of the next generation of the Sapegas then the castle would not have been brought to such a state. 

The “Stone Flower” started to wither at the beginning of the Northern War. Unfortunately, because of various wars and the absence of one master came unusable.  

Later, in 1880 the owner of the castle was someone Gorbanev. He ordered to disassemble a part of the castle in order to build a tavern from its bricks. However up to 1939 people lived in the castle. 

Nowadays the locality of Olshany is called an open-air museum. There are the remains of the castle walls and towers, its arched ceilings left there. 

Olshanskiy Castle in Belarus
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The Olshanskiy Castle or better to say its ruins are one of the mysterious places in Belarus.  Ghosts, unexplained phenomena, accidents and horror stories… If you like things like that you are welcome to Belarus, the locality called Olshany. Because there are mysterious things at every step there.

This our Blogger Lens is based on the material from the book “The Encyclopedia of mysterious places of the world” by V. Chernoborov, also various interviews with scientists of the Belarusian UFO Committee.

Video credit: MrNikonchik

The Olshanskiy Castle in the pictures of the famous Belarusian artists
The Olshanskiy Castle drawn by Drozdovich
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 This picture of the Olshanskiy Castle was drawn by the Belarusian artist Yazep Drozdovich ( 1920-1930-s).

The Olshanskiy Castle drawn by Orda
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 This picture is drawn by the Belarusian artist Napoleon Orda (1876).

The historical detective novel “The Black Castle Olshanskiy” by Vladimir Korotkevich

The manuscript from the Black Castle Olshanskiy
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The Belarusian writer Vladimir Korotkevich dedicated his famous novel to the events happened three hundred years ago in Olshany which are closely connected with events of the World War II and today’s day.

The story is rooted in the high antiquity of the 18th century. In those troublous times the duke Olshanskiy steals the treasury and jewelry of rebels and disappears mysteriously leaving a manuscript where it is mentioned about the location of the treasures. The paleographer and writer Anton Kosmich finds the parchment with a ciphered description of the treasures hidden in the basement of the Olshanskiy Castle. Except Anton Kosmich, the last offspring of the family of the Olshanskie also searches for the same hidden treasures who cooperated with fascists during the war times. The secret of the enigmatic manuscript will be revealed but due to what expense…

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