Bucharest is pretty, especially in the Old Town, but little did I know there were also dark and haunted areas as well. I took one of those free walking tours of the city, and since it is almost Halloween, they gave it a twist and took us to some of the darker areas with some evil histories. The history of Bucharest and Romania is so rich and steeped in layers of mystery and intrigue, and our tour guide gave us a pretty interesting short lesson. So instead of a photo essay or something of Bucharest, this post is dedicated to the more haunted and evil spirited areas, just in time for Halloween!
1. The St. Antony’s Church complex.
This is the oldest church in Bucharest that has retained it’s original form. The photo above makes it look bright and lovely, but indeed, it has a bloody past.
Just behind the church is the remains of the foundation of the original church, that burnt down in The Great Bucharest Fire of 1847. It was kept around and memorialized to commemorate that day- on Easter weekend- where the church occupants were trapped inside and burnt alive. The fire was so big in Bucharest-7 days- that the church occupants were all buried in a common grave next the the ruined church. To this day, rumor has it that it’s still haunted ground.
2. Vlad the Impaler
The new(er) church (St. Anthonys) has a reminder of medieval and dark history. Commemorated here is the statue of Vlad the Impaler AKA Tepes AKA Dracula. The west knows Dracula as a blood-sucking vampire chilling in a Castle in Transylvania. The reality is not far from that depiction actually. Basically he was the warring, enemy-impaling prince of Wallachia, now the southwest part of Romania. During his struggles with the Ottomans, he had thousands of enemies impaled and stood up all along the road on the way to Bulgaria.
Legend has it that when the Ottoman army marched down the road towards Wallachia, the soldiers were so demoralized by the thousands of impaled people that they lost the battle and retreated. It should be noted, the way a person was impaled- The person was slowly lowered onto a sharp pole and had it poked up their butts. Their own weight made them slide down the pole until it went out the top of their bodies. Games were even had to see who could do it in such a way that missed the most vital organs so that the victim stayed alive longest. Sounds brutal (lets not forget this was medieval times though).
3. Ion Rîmaru, the blood-sucking, necrophiliac serial killer of Bucharest.
Ion Rîmaru was a serial killer dubbed “The Vampire of Bucharest” who terrorized Bucharest in 1970-1971 and was one crazy psycho. In-fat, when it comes to crazies, this guy makes the top of the list. When he was finally caught, the things he claimed at brought to light are so nightmarish-ish that it haunted Romania for years. For instance he claimed that he was some sort of wolf-man, an only prowled during stormy nights looking for his prey. Doctors theorizes that he suffered from a form of clinical lycanthropy, where the person has delusions that he can transform into a non-human being.
Ion would describe how he would stab holes in the victims, almost always prostitutes and lone woman, and then would suck their blood. After they were dead he would rape them and drag them off and leave them somewhere. The list of his craziness is long. For instance, here is a list of most of his crimes, listed on Wikipedia.org:
- 8/9 April 1970 – Elena Oprea – premeditated murder (not raped because a neighbour scared him away)
- 1/2 June 1970 – Florica Marcu – rape (knocked unconscious in front of her house, carried to Sfânta Vineri cemetery, pushed hard off the fence there, raped, stabbed and had her blood sucked while walking home with him, saved by a truck driver)
- 19/20 July 1970 – OCL Confecţia store – theft of public property
- 24 July 1970 – Margareta Hanganu – aggravated theft
- 22/23 November 1970 – Olga Bărăitaru – aggravated attempted murder, rape and aggravated theft
- 15/16 February 1971 – Gheorghiţă Sfetcu – aggravated attempted murder and aggravated theft
- 17/18 February 1971 – Elisabeta Florea – aggravated attempted murder
- 4/5 March 1971 – Fănică Ilie – aggravated premeditated murder, rape and aggravated theft
- 8/9 April 1971 – Gheorghiţa Popa – aggravated murder, rape and aggravated theft (48 stab wounds to the head, chest, groin and legs, five blows to the head, ribs crushed by stomping, genitalia bitten out)–WTF??
- 1/2 May 1971 – Stana Saracin – attempted rape
- 4/5 May 1971 – Mihaela Ursu – aggravated murder, rape (he was interrupted in the act and left unsatisfied, leading him to seek a new victim)
- 4/5 May 1971 – Maria Iordache – aggravated attempted murder (attacked two hours after Ursu; escaped when he dropped the metal bar with which he was beating her while she was running)
- 6/7 May 1971 – Viorica Tatu – aggravated attempted murder
- 6/7 May 1971 – Elena Buluci – aggravated attempted murder
- May 1971 – Iuliana Funzinschi – aggravated theft of public property and aggravated theft of private property.
If you can find a more crazy and psychotic serial killer out there, you let me know. During my tour around the city we visited a few dark areas where Ion lurked and hunted his “prey”. Pretty creepy areas!
4. The Evil Bank of Bucharest and it’s Bloody Past
The Banker’s Inn in Old Town Bucharest, the old Bank of Bucharest building, still stands today, but more of an icon and not of any use or functionality. It has an old reputation and aura of evil around it since the 1800’s, but the people of Bucharest seen karma come back to haunt the place eventually.
it all started with the Great Fire of Bucharest that I mentioned in number one. As the fire was raging and the whole city burning down and people dying, it looked like impending doom for the giant back as well. To save it, the bank officials went to the fire fighters of the time and told them that the bank had huge amounts of gun powder stored under the bank, and that if they didn’t stop the fire from burning it, the whole area would explode.
Proper worried about this, the fire fighters left the rest of the housing areas to burn and rushed to save the bank. They managed to save the one bank, but at the expense of the rest of the city. Because they weren’t there to save them, 1850 buildings, including 686 private homes, 1142 shops, 10 inns and 12 churches burnt to the ground. The locals were convinced that St. Christoper finally got tired of the devastation and heeded their prayers and stopped the fire, but the resentment towards the bank was wide-spread when it was discover that there was never any gunpowder being stored at the bank at all!
Years later, during the big earthquake in Romania, the bank was destroyed anyways. Locals all say that it was St. Christopher’s revenge for the bank’s part in the Great Fire. I say- aren’t all banks evil anyways??
5. The Ever-Present Ghost of the Crazy Communists
When listing evil things in Romania, (or anywhere in East Europe), nothing would be complete without first mentioning the Soviet Communist. In my opinion, the communist did just as much or more harm and damage to the world as any other major evil doers of our world. The crushing weight of the Soviets in this area is, unfortunately, still very evident. No one likes it, but little can be done.
Examples of this extremely evil empire are all over Bucharest. For example, the skyline is dotted with the horribly ugly blog housing complexes.
Hey way, and the reason, these “matchbox” apartments were built is haunting. Just here in Bucharest, 30,000 people were forced to leave their homes and displaced into these horrid dwellings, so that the soviets could make the Bucharest Parliament building and surrounding government buildings, in the heart of the city. The Parliament building is now the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon.
But before they could be displaced, the block housing had to be built. For laborers they forced prisoners and homeless people to build the structures, with little to no safety regard. Subsequently, Thousands of people died in the making of them. (and this is just from one city!). The Soviet Union is dead, but the old Soviet ghost still lingers, haunting all the big scars they put on the city.
So there is just a few of the haunted places in Bucharest for you, just in time for Halloween. Do you know of a evil or haunted place in a city or country you’ve traveled to? Let me know!
Also check out:
The 20 Most Intriguing Abandoned Places Around the World