Dante and Virgil journey through hell began when Dante felt “falling into a deep place.” This give us notion that the gateway to hell is a hole.
One Gateway to Hell is located in Prague, Czech Republic. Accounts from 1541 held narrated that a large crack formed at the top of a limestone hill. The crack grew into an infinitely bottomless pit. Legends began circulating as residents in the area related seeing half-animal and half-human creatures. The people believed that those beasts were responsible of killing their livestock and even unfortunate individual who chanced to wander the area.
In 1253, Otto Karll of Bohemia ordered a construction of a castle above the hole. The structure was named the Houska Castle. The castle was proposed to be used as a control center for Ottokar’s vast land holdings. However, doubts were raised since the area worst location for such purpose. The expanse had no natural barriers for protection and near no trade routes. The stretch was barren and growing food or animals was not possible.
The Houska castle’s arrangement itself posed mystery. From the outside, one can see many windows but behind the panes were walls. There were no stairs to connect the five storeys but ropes that which were detached instantly.
The castle walls were also covered with scenes depicting Archangel Michael fighting evil. The most notable was the left-handed female centaur aiming a bow toward a human. In the center of the castle was a chapel built over a huge, bottomless well which was covered with thick stone plates.
The Houska castle was built with no water, no kitchen and with no occupants at its time of completion. Legends held that castle was not built as a residence or as a protective sanctuary, but was instead built because the hole was thought to be a gateway to hell. Thus, by building the Gothic building, they were able to keep the demons entombed in the lower level thickest walls closest to the hole of the castle.
Another story surfaced that while the castle was under constructions, convicted prisoners were offered freedom if they complied to be lowered by rope into the hole, and report back on what they saw. A prisoner agreed to be dropped but he started screeching after some distance. He beg to be pulled back. When he was back to the surface, he looked as if he had aged 30 years in just few seconds.
Some said that the castle became headquarter for Swedish rogue commander Oronto. He was known to be an Alchemist and Black Magician. He was killed while working to discover an elixir for eternal life.
Over time, local residents reported witnessing apparitions of unknown creatures and monsters. Some reported seeing monk inside the chapel. Reports also held that people have seen long line of souls chained together walking through the gates of the castle.
During World War II, the German SS used the castle as safe house. When the enemy troops were advancing, they destroyed all their records before leaving the castle. Many supposed that they used the ground as secret experimental place for superior human race and other inhuman experiments.
Today, witnesses claimed that strange noises or shadows are seen all throughout the building and grounds. Dead birds are also found within the castle’s courtyard.