Ghosts in Riga Castle

Happy Halloween!

To celebrate the holiday, I’ll quote, in part, an article on the Latvian President’s official website. While not particularly scary, the legends of a ghost in Riga Castle, originally built in 1330 and the current residence of the President of Latvia, is entertaining to ponder nonetheless.

Riga Castle, heavily damaged from the Latvian Civil War, 1919

Riga Castle, heavily damaged from the Latvian Civil War, 1919

From Latvijas Valsts presidents:

A ghost can be found in nearly every castle in Latvia, and if the ghostly world has been rude enough not to provide one, one has to be made up, because no castle legend is complete without a ghost to create a particularly ancient and mystical aura. It is said that ghosts in castles are not the same as those which are found in cemeteries. Castle ghosts can be peaceful or terrible. Ghost stories are recorded in historical documents. Ghosts appear as shadows. Their footsteps and laughs have been heard, and their existence is felt at every step.
[W]hat about the Rīga Castle, where the President has his offices?
Well, there is a ghost at the castle, and there are two legends about it. The first has to do with the Tower of the Holy Spirit, above which the flag of the President and the flag of the Republic of Latvia fly today. During the era of the Livonian Order [in the medieval era], the Tower of the Holy Spirit and the Tower of Knights (which is now gone) were linked, and a hospital for lepers was installed there. The castle’s security guards and anyone who has spent the night in this part of the castle will tell you that steps and crackles can be heard most every night on the old wooden staircase of the Tower of the Holy Spirit. On other cases, a ghost has wandered around the rooms of the castle and rattled things. True, the ghosts can mostly be heard in the older part of the castle, but not always. Employees at the castle say that a ghost whom they call the Blue Lady has been evident in the newer parts of the building. Around 6:00 AM, when people are not yet at work, someone in the other room is moving chairs and making doors squeak. Of course, when the room is entered, the Blue Lady is not there, but her activities can be heard until the first time that someone says “Good morning.”
The second legend has to do with Dorothea’s Room. Dorothea was the third wife of Duke Peter Byron of Courland. At one time Dorothea’s portrait was the only painting in the room, but today there are also portraits of other noblemen who have played a significant role in Latvia’s history. Dorothea, who was a beautiful and noble woman, perhaps does not like the fact that she has thus been overshadowed, and it is said that each morning all of the paintings in the room except for hers are crooked.
There are many subterranean passages and cellars below the castle and the Tower of the Holy Spirit, and these have not been thoroughly researched. Most of these underground passages belong to museums, which use them to store archaeological finds, including human bones and skulls.
In February 1941, the Pioneer Palace was installed in the northern wing of the castle. One night, the building was completely dark and empty. At 2:00 AM, the light was switched on behind a locked door. The guard went to the room and turned it back off, but when he got back to his post, the light was back on again.
A member of the President’s security service says that a few years ago, on a calm summer night, a window in the castle was completely open, even though that was not possible – all of the windows had been checked carefully, and there was no one nearby.
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