KASTELHOLM CASTLE | ÅLAND, FINLAND


I must admit, we missed around half of the things I wanted to see in Åland when we visited there last month but to be fair to ourselves, we had only two full days out there so obviously the island needs a second check-up! Though, we didn't miss the Kastelholm Castle, which was right under my top attractions in Åland as a second, after the Taffel chips factory of course.


We as Finns have been a part of Sweden and Russia (the Soviet Union back then) during our days before Finland became this independent thing where other people think polar bears live. The Kastelholm Castle is one of the five Medieval time castles that have survived through a lot and is still standing at the very point where the Monarchy of Sweden decided to build it. I'd say it's pretty impressive, as it is and not it's history or who it built back in the days isn't the one that interests me the most - it's the Witch Trials that took place in Åland back in 1666 and the fact that this castle has a very significant part in that. Next part is from the sign that can be found from the castle:

"Witch trials on the Åland Islands began with a minor incident in the Autumn of 1665. Some rye had been stolen at the time of the joint harvest in Ingby village in Jomala. A beggar, Karin Persdotter of Emkarby, was said to possess second sight and was called for. Karin pointed out the conflicts, and Karin herself was accused of witchcraft and imprisoned. This was the start of the witch trials.
Flattered by the attention, Karin confessed that she had visited the devil three times. He had taught her to cure diseases, destroy fishing waters and take advantage of other people's cattle. He had also bitten her, which had left brown scars, the so-called devil's marks on her body. Because of her second sight and devil's marks, Karin Persdotter was considered as a witch. On 5th of April in 1666, she was sentenced to death.
The verdict was sent to Turku Court of Appeal for confirmation, and Karin was put in confinement in Kastelholm Castle. The priests persuaded her to make a "complete and honest confession" in order to receive God's forgiveness.
Karin took advantage of the situation and sought revenge on people who had treated her badly; she reported sixteen other women for witchcraft. All of them denied being guilty, but six several of them were sentenced to death.
Karin Persdotter was executed on 8th of August in 1666."

I've always been really interested in witchcraft and why certain witch hunts began, though this is the one I find the most pointless one! Karin Persdotter was just an attention-seeking vindictive person and thanks to her, six other women were sentenced to death too. Or like my husband said, is she just the world's smartest serial killer? Who knows.


There were also listed some things witches were believed to do back then, and of course, I'm going to share with you three of the most interesting ones, in my opinion.

Brocken
"In the 1600's it was believed that witches flew on their brooms to Brocken where they met the devil and other witches in secret meetings."

Orgies with the Devil
"Brocken was the place where the Nordic witches met each other and experimented with their witchcraft skills. They met the devil at the banquet and in orgies. As a result of these get-togethers, demon children were born. They appeared in a shape of a frog, toad or snake and were thrown into the kettle and cooked into a secret ointment."

Child robbery
"Women who transformed themselves into animals at nighttime robbed away small children and took them to devil's banquet at Brocken where children were cooked and served at the banquet. Leftovers were used for a magic ointment."

But what did I learn from this visit?
Finnish (and Swedish) witches were believed to be child robbers, they were believed to be cannibalised and apparently, they had orgies with the devil in their secret little hill called Brocken. Oh and that Karin was a pretty selfish bit... Yeah, I guess that's pretty much it!

The castle itself was a bit of a disappointment. I lived under the impression that it would have been bigger but nah, it wasn't. Either way, we had such a lovely visit and D was so super excited about the place and that's what matters to me most!

What do you think about Karin Persdotter's choices?





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8 comments

  1. this sounds typical for witch trials - we have many similar stories in the UK. The most famous one only about 15 miles from our home is the Pendle Witches trial in 1612. It makes grim reading. Thank you for more information about the history of Finland. I love a good castle visit too. Love Bec

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  2. Oh wow, this has a lot of history huh! That is what I like more about Europe than US. Our history doesn't go back so far so there are not cool places like this to visit. Can I ask a random question how would you pronounce the name of Aland. Can you phonetically write how it sounds?

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    1. I can try! All I found was [ɔːlænd] , if that makes any sense :DD

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  3. I find witch hunts very interesting as well! I think I would like this place!

    www.chausadventure.com

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  4. Sucks that the castle was underwhelming but yay for it being a great trip nonetheless!
    Katja xxx
    www.katnapped.com

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  5. wow I never really knew so much about witches! The castle looked cool but the witch info made me cringe hehe

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  6. Ha! I laughed at your husband's comment that she may be the smartest serial killer. Sounds like a fascinating piece of history.

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  7. Im not a great fan of witches and all that but the stories behind this one are quiet funny. the castle looks really beautiful even though it has survived so long

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