Due to the graphic nature of this haunted place, listener discretion is advised this episode includes murder, child abuse and immolation. We advise extreme caution for children under 13. How we gazed at the enormous white stone fortress, his heart pounding with indecision, according to the other prisoners of the camp, it had been used as a garrison until the soldiers were chased off by ghosts. He didn't like the idea of ghosts, but rumor has it that Mussolinis forces wouldn't go near the place.
And if that was true, it was the perfect spot to hide from them until they could fully escape. At the base of the high stone wall, an iron door hung off its hinges. How he pulled it aside slipped into a narrow passage and descended a stone staircase.
Soon he reached a low, dark hallway. He crouched into a corner to rest, closing his eyes.
Suddenly, how his eyes shot open, he thought he heard distant whispers for a moment, he wondered if the council really was haunted, but he shook it off.
No ghost could be worse than the camps. Then he saw something that made his blood run cold.
A ball was rolling down the steps. Someone was coming.
How he looked around, panicked and spotted a carved oak bench against the opposite wall. He flung himself to the ground and rolled under it. First he heard footsteps, but they were too light to be a soldiers. He picked out from his hiding spot and saw a little girl run into the hall.
She was pale with hair, the dusty blue of juniper berries. A man's voice then called out a name at Zareena. The girl obediently followed the voice to the end of the hall, where a trap door was set into the floor. She opened it and disappeared into the hole. How his heart pounded in his ears. He needed to leave to find another place to hide. Quietly, he crawled out from beneath the bench, but as soon as he got to his feet, he heard a small girls scream.
It was coming from the trap door for a moment, how he was paralyzed.
If he made himself known, he could be turned into the Blackshirts or worse.
But then she screamed again how he didn't think he ran to the trap door and threw himself into the cellar below. But as he landed on the cold floor, there was a thud, that darkness.
The trap door had slammed shut behind him and his stomach tightened, voices rose up from the darkness. They came from inside the walls, whispering the same thing over and over. He should have listened to the rumors.
Welcome to Haunted Places, a Spotify original fun podcast. I'm Greg Polson. Every Thursday, I take you to the scariest, eeriest, most haunted real places on Earth. You can find all episodes of Haunted Places and all other Spotify originals from podcast for free on Spotify. And every Tuesday, make sure to check out urban legends. These special episodes of Haunted Places are available exclusively on Spotify this week. Join me on a supernatural journey to the Castelo de Montebello, an Italian fortress dating back to the 11th century.
We'll learn about the dark rumors that have plagued this site for decades and discover why to this day it's haunted. Coming up, a curse on the land sets the stage for centuries of rumors. This episode is brought to you by Faneuil's sportsbook, don't just watch college basketball, get in the action and shoot your shot with the fan to a sports book app. There's more ways to play the bracket all tournament long. New users get your first bat risk free up to 1000 dollars.
Sign up with code upsets on the Fanjul Sportsbook app and make your first deposit today. Twenty one plus and presence in Virginia. First online real money wager only for one thousand dollar risk free bet refund issue does non withdrawal site credit that expires in fourteen days. Restrictions apply. See full terms at Sportsbook Doug Faneuil Dotcom Gambling Problem Call one 800 gambler. This episode is brought to you by the followers House of Prayer, a new True Crime podcast from UCP Audio.
Each episode explores the House of Prayer, a 1980s religious community led by a young one. Young's daughter makes a call to the police. It triggers a year long investigation into a cult, a murder and the disappearance of a child. New episodes drop every Wednesday. Subscribe to the followers House of Prayer on Spotify.
This episode is brought to you by Cub Cadet from contractors to zero turns to handheld equipment, Cub Cadet has all the industry redefining tools like a fully electric lineup that make caring for your lawn an enjoyable experience. You'll keep going back to learn more at Cub Cadet Dotcom. The Italian province of Rimini might be known for its seaside resorts and wide beaches, but up the hills is a fortified medieval village called Tatyana. The town has Roman ruins, cobblestone streets and brightly painted villas.
And looming above it all is the famed Costello de Montebello.
The Castelo was built around the remains of a Roman watchtower, which dates back to the third century B.C. but the site may have been occupied even earlier than that. Before the Romans conquered Italy, the northern parts of the country were home to groups of Celtic tribes. These tribes were united by shared language and a religion practiced by priestly class known as druids, perhaps because their knowledge was considered too sacred to be written down. There's very little reliable information on the Druids.
Julius Caesar described them as fanatical zealots obsessed with human sacrifice. His description is certainly biased, but there are so few contemporaneous accounts of the Druids that it can be difficult to tell fact from fiction. After Celtic tribes began invading Roman territories and 400 BCE, there were centuries of warfare. Eventually, the tide began to turn against the Celts and the Romans took power. Many tribes migrated to more distant parts of Present-day Europe or were actively exiled from Italy. Others renounced their faith in exchange for Roman citizenship.
One of the groups to face the Romans was a tribe called the Sinan's, who occupied a stretch of the Italian coast where Castelo de Montebello exists today. Descendants of worship rituals might have included paying homage to natural forces by burning offerings and unimportant days like the summer solstice, maybe even human sacrifice. These rituals would haunt the site for centuries to come.
A Midsummer Morning, Mavros, well before the sun, the rights ritual would not begin for several hours, but as the high priestess, she'd like to arrive before anyone else.
She donned a cloak of woven white flags, took up her walking stick and began the trek up the mountain. First, the Druids would gather and give a prayer of thanks to the ancient God Bellini's.
Then there would be a party for the village where they would like the house of offerings on fire when they needed to. If there was a battle to be won or an enemy to overcome, they would also trap a man of evil inside.
But this year there would be no sacrifice. After decades of fighting, Chief Ainaro eight days had finally made a truce with the Romans.
There had been rumors that the Roman coffers were shrinking and their armies were growing weak. Ainaro eight states had extended a hand of peace and the battles had been called off. If anyone else had made the truce, Maev would have been skeptical. She'd seen what happened to the other tribes.
The Romans had killed their priests and destroyed their temples, but may be trusted in their own days.
They'd known each other since they were children. There was even a discussion about them becoming married. He was a good man. And if he said the rumors are true, she trusted him.
Not only had he stopped the war, the Romans had even agreed to never build on this mountain map, had seen plenty of Roman temples, enormous stone houses that blocked out light and air.
But thanks to a narrow Ayesha's, the Romans would never tear down the temple of Bellini's and build some monstrosity in its place. Made stood at the edge of a circle of stone blocks and waited for the others to arrive. There was something special about the Temple of Bellini's when Maythe performed the Midsummer Rites here, she experienced something she never felt anywhere else in other places. She spoke to the gods, but here they spoke back one by one. The other Druids summited the mountain and arranged themselves between the standing stones.
When all 13 arrived, they began the ceremony.
Each priest hummed a single low, sustained note as their humming got louder and grew to a fever pitch. Otherworldly voices rose up around them. An invisible choir of the gods made stepped into the center of the circle. The vibrations of the humming priest growing stronger.
The ground began to shake, and then the sun finally peeked over the horizon. This was the moment when Bellini's would speak his sacred will directly to her. Everything was flooded with light made could feel the presence of Bellini's like a warm blanket all around her, like hope. But when the God spoke, his voice was thunderous. He told me that she had been taken in by lies. There were no rumors about the decline of the Romans and Narrowcast said made them up to disguise his true intentions and instead had made a terrible bargain.
There would be an end to the fighting, Bellinger said, but only if the Sinan's tore down their temples, killed their druids and forgot the ancient ways of their people. The Roman Senate had requested the head of the High Priestess Herr's as proof of his good faith, and Ainaro Estevez had agreed. As bonus, his final word rang out, the sun began to fade, mate blinked, she could once again see the temple and the trees beyond. But the God's voice still boomed in her head and her mind was reeling.
A narrow stays.
The man she'd known since childhood had betrayed her. There was no future for her or any druid.
Soon the Romans would be crawling all over this sacred mountain, desecrating it with their ugly stone tombs. Maev clenched fists, still gazing over her temple. No, she would not let them. If this place could not belong to the Zeno's, then no one would have it.
She would leave a mark here so that no Roman could ever rest easy on this mountain, may have left the stone circle and called the other druids to her. The rest of the Sundowns would soon arrive for the public celebration of midsummer.
They would beast and burn the temple offering. But there would be a change in the planned festivities this year.
When Twilight deepened, the villagers gathered on the mountaintop just outside the temple of Bellini's. Some had brought honey cakes and great jugs of lying children chased each other through the tall grass, the villagers were cheerful and carefree, but may have had felt the sting of betrayal, then the thirst for revenge. When an area eight days finally arrived, May wouldn't look at him. She did not want to lose her resolve.
Made grabbed a torch and walked around the circle, chanting softly as she got closer to a narrow ice days. Her heartbeat quickened. She had loved him once, but he had not only betrayed her, he had betrayed all of them. May have let her chanting grow louder so he could hear her. Her words rang out around the circle, and soon the revelry of the festival grew quiet. She spoke about the Romans who would dare step foot on this mountain, let them be cursed, she said, and their children and their children's children and on and on for 100000 years may have stopped in front of a camera eight days and spoke her next words directly to him.
It would be a curse of false rumors, she said. But first, they needed a sacrifice in their eight days, stood in front of the open door to the house of offerings. The color drained from his face in a soft whisper. He said that he was sorry he was only trying to save their people. Made gave him a look of heartbreak and disgust. She said their people were already gone if they lost everything that made them a tribe.
Then she pushed him into the house and slammed the door. And there are eight days pounded on the door and made brought her torch to the house walls, she watched the small hot burst into flames as a eight screamed in agony, may have turn to the astonished villagers and told them that their chief was a traitor. He had given this place to the Romans, but no Roman could ever prosper here. And when the snows were gone, the voices of the gods would disappear.
But to the Romans and their descendants, the voices would contain nothing but lies, gossip and wretchedness. The voices would destroy them as they had destroyed her tribe. On the night of the summer solstice in June 2015, Italian researchers conducted an RKO acoustic study of Montebello, Castle and the surrounding mountaintop. They used highly sensitive equipment to record sounds as well as the castle's magnetic field when they discovered low frequency vibrations just below the level of human perception. These vibrations were detected throughout the castle, but especially in the tower.
Researchers theorize that these sounds could lead to an altered state of consciousness that would inspire feelings of fear and awe in the listener. It's likely that ancient people and those who occupied the castle in the Middle Ages experienced this phenomena. And maybe these acoustic abnormalities can even explain the rumors that still plague the site today. Since the castle became a museum in 1989, visitors have reported hearing strange voices in its empty hallways. And in the surrounding town of Tariana, gossip runs rampant.
But there is one voice that stands out, one that can be heard every year on Midsummer's Eve, the terrified scream of a little girl. Coming up, the Druids curse lingers for generations high listeners, it's Venessa from past.
When you think of a criminal, do you picture a killer, a gangster, a thief? I bet you didn't think it could be the little old lady down the street who murdered her tenants. Every Wednesday on my series, female criminals meet the unlikeliest of felons, mothers, neighbors and unsuspecting lovers with a penchant for dangerous behavior. Discover the psychology and motives behind their disturbing crimes and find out where their story stands today. But that's not all. Airing right now on female criminals is our special five part look at the world's most infamous femme fatale women who were deceptive and deadly but not always the villain.
Catch these episodes and more by following the Spotify original from past female criminals. New episodes, premier weekly. Listen free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
This episode is brought to you by Land Rover, don't follow the crowd, blaze your own trail in the 20 21 Range Rover sport with its iconic muscular design and six available power trains, including a high performance, 518 horsepower V8 Range Rover sport turns even an ordinary morning commute into an exhilarating driving experience and to deliver optimal control terrain response to with dynamic program tunes, the suspension for greater stability and is ready for whatever road conditions come your way to experience the Range Rover sport for yourself.
Contact your local Land Rover retailer today to schedule a test drive Land Rover above and beyond. Now back to the story. In the third century, the Roman Empire constructed a small observation tower on the grounds where Castelo de Montebello would later stand for a long while, the tower stood on the mountaintop. But in the early 12th century, the land was acquired by Giovanni Malatesta, son of one of the most important families in medieval Italy. Giovanni expanded the building into a formidable fortress, and the Malatesta held onto the structure for another two centuries until some sources say it was passed on to an aristocrat named Guccione de la Jolla.
According to this version of events in the 13th 70s, Hugh Guccione married into the Malatesta family in the hopes of advancing his own social position. What he didn't know was that over generations, the Malatesta family fortune had been drained and they were in decline, a decline that would end in tragedy.
The marriage seemed like an advantageous match at first education. He had come to the province of Romine with one goal to gain a title. He started by spreading a few exaggerations about his own modest family fortunes. And it wasn't long before everyone was talking about the handsome bachelor with more gold than the king himself. Significant salaries were offered, and there were proposals from numerous noblemen. Then came an opportunity that outshone all the rest. He was offered the hand of the Malatesta daughter.
He'd seen her picture. Castanza was lovely, with dark hair and bright brown eyes with her title and family reputation. The match was everything he'd wanted, so naturally he agreed. The marriage was held at the family home, what was soon to become his home, the Castelo de Montebello, was a dreary, charmless place, but they didn't need to stay there for long. Soon they'd moved to the coast of Rimini. He would build them their own castle on the seaside and they would attend grand festivals in the city.
But the day after the wedding, Okeechobee's sat down with the manager of the estate and learned that none of that would be possible. Wars had drained the Malatesta family fortune long ago. There would be no palace by the ocean, no festivals and no advantageous matches for his children. Plus, he'd have to continue living at the Castelo muchachos. He wanted to make the best of it, but there was a wretched gloom about the place that nothing could dispel.
He tried making repairs, but every time he fixed one thing, another one would break. Any furniture he attempted to import was always lost on the way to the distant mountain town. And even keeping the castle warm was an impossible task. He couldn't even get the fires to stay lit as some draft was forever blowing them out. Finally, Zucconi had had enough, he'd heard there were riches in Damascus, so he decided that once he had an heir, he would leave Montebello to pursue his own fortune.
He knew it was a journey that would take years to complete. But when he returned, he would bring back jewels and gold and finally take his family away from the horrid castle muchachos. He planned to wait until the baby was born to ensure that it was a boy. Eventually, though, he grew too impatient for that. Once Castanza felt the baby Quicken, he was off. He would trust in God to make it a boy.
The road to the Holy Land was long and hot, it almost made Tony Pine for the Castelo. It is lowest moments he'd like to picture as triumphant return to Tariana. He would embrace his wife, then greet his son for the first time, showed them as riches, then whisk them away to a new life. But when he finally arrived in Damascus, the city had already been sacked. Okeechobee was devastated. For years, he lingered there, desperate to find any trace of the riches he'd been promised.
He traveled to every corner of the city and beyond. But there were no fortunes to be had. The only thing he found of any value was a small leather ball he decided he would bring home to his son. He had failed everything else.
Eventually, though, he began to think of his son, his heir, waiting for him in Montebello. What a joy it would be to mould him into the family scion.
Finally, he decided it was time he would return home and find another way to build a fortune, perhaps spread the word that his son was a prodigy in what he didn't know yet.
But something. After months of traveling Ogurtsov, he finally reached the Castella's iron gate, Frederico, the head of the guard, poked his fair blonde head over the battlements. Ooga Shonai wasn't fond of most of the staff at the castle, but he'd always had a soft spot for Frederico.
He was loyal, his blue eyes warm, open and devoted as good of a servant as there could be. Guccione asked Federico to bring his son and held up the leather ball. But the guard's face went red. Who didn't exactly know who could. Shonai stared at him. No, no. What? Frederico replied that he didn't have a son, but his daughter would be thrilled to meet him. Okeechobee's stared back at the card in disbelief. What did he mean, daughter?
But soon a small girl of barely four was standing in front of him. She was eerily pale, had cold blue eyes and hair like a cloud of white seafoam, he'd never seen anyone so devoid of color. Even her eyelashes were white, like a frozen corpse. Then she ran toward him, smiling and crying. Father who catchiness vision went dark and his body fell to the ground. He awoke in his bed chamber to find his wife sitting beside him, Costanza's said she was sorry their daughter had given him such a fright.
Buga seized her arm. There was something wrong with the girl, he said. She was a demon or a corpse. They had to be rid of her. Fear flitted across Costanza's face, she begged him not to hurt at Tsarina, her coloring wasn't the work of the devil. It was a natural peculiarity. Ugur Tony grimaced. He had heard of this kind of thing. But just because he recognized it, that didn't mean he wanted her in his home.
He turned away and told Castanza to keep the girl out of his sight.
Over the next few days, Zucconi felt a renewed sense of purpose, he would not settle for this life. He would have a new child, a new home, and he would work for it if he had to. He threw himself into the management of the estate and did what he could to distance himself from the girl. He ordered her to take her meals alone, and he arranged for her things to be moved to a room further from his own.
But months later, Bucatini was making his way past the kitchen. When he heard his name whispered, he stopped in his tracks. A man was saying something about the child being an aberration. Then he left.
A woman's voice responded. Not the Duke was a fool to show his face in the village, people were saying his daughter's condition came from him. Luciani stormed into the kitchen, ready to defend himself, but was surprised to find it empty.
He shook his head in disbelief, but maybe the servants had run off. If he found them, he put them both in the stocks for days.
Guccione tried dying at Serena's hair black with Irish roots, perhaps if it wasn't so white, he thought she wouldn't attract so much attention. But the color didn't stick and it came out pale shade of grayish blue. So instead, nugatory forbert at Serena from leaving the castle and tast Frederico with keeping her locked up. He had hoped the gossip would end with his servants, but things only got worse wherever he went, whether in town or in his home.
There were whispers. They seemed to follow all Guccione everywhere, but he could never find the perpetrators. As time went on, it felt like he couldn't escape the constant chatter, although he had found one place that was blissfully quiet the ice cellar. It had thick stone walls.
Someone the door was closed. You couldn't hear a sound. Ooga Shonai spent more and more time there just to get away from the whispering. The only other time he had peace was at night when the servants were asleep. But soon even that refuge would be gone. It was a sweltering Midsummer's Eve when Yukichi heard a low voice outside his window saying his name, he crawled out of bed and looked onto the courtyard, listening carefully.
It was a man's voice, it spoke about how close Frederico had become to at Tsarina, a woman then replied, They were almost like father and daughter. A third person wondered if at Sarena was really afflicted at all. Perhaps she just had the fair hair and blue eyes of her real father, Frederico, who Guccione looked at his sleeping wife outside. All three voices continued talking over each other. You could only make out a few words fool, bastard.
And his heart pounded with rage.
He sprung up and leaned out the window to scream at them. But the courtyard was empty. He told the cowards to show themselves not to leave stirred. Castanza awoke and called to him, asking what was wrong, Sugar-coated just shook his head, he didn't understand. Was he going mad? He started back toward the bed, but as soon as he turned from the window, the voices continued. They continued all night. So in the morning, sleepless and unsettled, he marched to the one place he knew he wouldn't have to hear them.
But they only grew louder as he walked through the castle and louder still, as he approached the ice sellers who could. Tony's head pounded as he opened the cellar door.
He couldn't see straight as he climbed down the ladder. Then, as he stepped into the cellar, he heard the distinct sound of ads Arena's ball rolling down the hall steps and Frederico calling after her.
The noise made Eguchi even more furious. But as his anger rose, he grew faint, his vision blurred, and the world went black. When he woke up, muchachos, he was lying on the cold floor of the SLA, staring up at Frederico, his white shirt was soaked with blood and laying on the floor beyond. Frederico was a small body. At first he didn't recognize it, but then he saw the distinctive dusty blue of her hair. Okeechobee's eyes opened wide in horror.
Across from him, Frederico was shaking with panic. He yelled that he'd been trying to help the girl, but Tony thought about the voices, about how they had said Frederico was the father. He would have heard them, too. He wouldn't have liked the rumors. Days later, Gattoni pressured Frederico to confess. Then, after much deliberation, he ordered him to be executed. That day, Tony watched through the window as the servants piled bundles of wood around Federico's body.
It was funny, really. Ever since the execution was scheduled, muchachos, he hadn't overheard a word of gossip. It seemed both Frederico and the girl had been saved from a lifetime of ridicule. In truth, their deaths were an act of mercy. Ooga Tony watched the executioner light the pyre and smiled. According to stories that have been passed down about Castelo de Montebello, Guccione della Batchelor's first child was a little girl named Gwendolyn with a very light complexion.
She had startling blue eyes, pale skin and nearly white hair, leading some to say that she had albinism in order to keep people from remarking on their daughter's unique appearance. Legend has it that her parents attempted to dye her hair darker, but the weak natural dyes did not take. Instead, her hair turned up pale shade of blue, and she was nicknamed at Tsarina in one story that Serena met her mysterious fate on a rainy midsummer's day. She was being watched by two guardsmen when her ball rolled into the ice cellar at Tsarina followed it.
The guards heard a scream and then rushed down after her. But the cellar was empty and Serena had disappeared. The girl's death was blamed on the two guards, and both were hung, according to legend. And Serena was never seen again. But in the town of Montebello, there are rumors that she never left at all. Coming up at Sarina's Spirit does not rest easy. This episode is brought to you by Faneuil's sportsbook March Manea is here, you could choose to be a benchwarmer and watch from the sidelines or you could get in the game and try your hand at fan duel sportsbook, shoot your shot on money lines, point spreads, Parley's and more.
It's up to you how you play all tournament long. Fan Duel is giving everyone a free shot at one million dollars. Bet on the bracket and get a chance to win the million dollar bonus payout. Plus, when you sign up you can place your first bet risk free up to one thousand dollars. There's always more ways to win on fan duel sports book. Download the app and use promo code upset to claim all these offers. That's promo code upset to get started on Fanjul Sportsbook twenty one plus and presence in Virginia.
No purchase necessary for one million dollar promotion. First online real money wager only for one thousand dollars. Free bet refund issue. Does non withdrawal set credit that expires in fourteen days terms apply. Sportsbook Doug Faneuil dot com four terms and restrictions. Gambling problem call one 800 gambler. This episode is brought to you by the followers House of Prayer, a new true crime podcast from UCP Audio. It's 20 20 and Anna Young, a.k.a. mother Anna, awaits her fate in a Florida courtroom 30 years earlier, Mother Anna led a tight lipped and tightly controlled religious community called the House of Prayer.
When Anna's daughter makes a call to the police describing her mother's alleged crime, it triggers a year long investigation into a cult, a murder and the disappearance of a child. New episodes drop every Wednesday. Subscribe to the followers House of Prayer on Spotify. Now back to the story. Today, the Castelo de Montebello is no longer occupied by Italian aristocracy, but remains open as a museum, the building itself is nothing to write home about. There are some period furnishings and a few paintings, but those pale in comparison to the artistic riches that can be found in Bologna or Florence.
Instead, the real reason people visit the Castelo is to catch a glimpse of its infamous ghost once the building was opened to the public. It wasn't long before the tragic story about Tsarina had spread throughout Italy and beyond. Ghost hunters flocked to the castle to hear the cry of the blue haired little girl. Books and articles were written about her, and eventually her story was even turned into a movie. Diego leaned forward in his chair, his eyes glued to the monitor on the folding table in front of him.
This was the key scene in the film, the moment when Sony must choose between avenging his daughter's death or sparing his faithful servant from a gruesome execution. The actor playing Tony Luka paused at the bottom of the steps.
Diego watched as a range of emotions flitted across Luca's face fear, anger, hurt and finally determination. He stepped into the hallway and opened his mouth, prepared to speak his biggest monologue of the script. But Loukas lines were interrupted by a thunderous crash from somewhere below them, Diego groaned and yelled, cut. Loukia rolled his eyes and looked around the room angrily. He asked who had interrupted the take. Diego nervously told him it had come from downstairs and they could all take five.
While he ran to check it out, Luca gave them a frustrated look. He said that wasn't the director's job. Didn't they have a P.A. they could send? Diego told him he didn't mind. It would be nice to get up and stretch his legs. Luca just pursed his lips and turned away. Diego and Luca had started dating a year prior, but had never worked together when they met, Luca was a bona fide celebrity and Diego was just barely out of film school and had a huge crush.
Rumors about the two had flown through the press that Diego was the love of Lucas life, that the heartthrob actor would finally settle down and soon Diego status was lifted right along with Lukas.
Yet he'd been nervous when asking Luca to do this film with him. For all its intents and purposes, Diego was still something of an amateur.
But he told Luca that it would be fun and romantic, that it would bring them closer together.
And Luca said, yes, but they've been fighting ever since they got to the castle and Diego just didn't know where he stood.
Diego knew Luca could be difficult, but it wasn't his fault. He was used to doing studio pictures, not indie films on a shoestring budget. He just didn't understand that they didn't have funding for PPO's or catered craft services. So it was Diego that had to check and see what the noise was.
He descended a spiral staircase and emerged into the hallway where at Tsarina was rumored to have disappeared. He could see what had made the crash. A heavy wooden bench had been knocked forward, although he couldn't fathom how unless his crew was going around toppling priceless antiques, there was no reasonable explanation. He thought the ghost story was just a hoax to sell museum tickets. But the story of an Tsarina herself was real. Diego had done research for the film. He'd found birth and death records.
The story he'd uncovered was about a delusional guardsman. His movie was about the Duke's acceptance of the fact that his loyal servant had betrayed him and killed his daughter.
It was a very grounded story, and Diego was intent on telling it authentically. He'd had the actors learn period dialect and even based Lucas costume on a portrait he'd found of Okuni. Diego took hold of the bench and heaved. It didn't move an inch, so he tried again. But then he heard voices muttering together. At the end of the hall, Diego took a step closer. A woman was talking about Luca. She was saying that if he wasn't Ticos boyfriend, Luca would never have come anywhere near a sad project like this so much.
A man chuckled and agreed that the film was terrible. The story didn't make any sense. Dagos face was burning. He didn't even know who these people were. But he felt his confidence quickly unraveled. Suddenly, he wanted to leave the castle and forget the film altogether. They were right. He was a hack and the story wasn't worth telling. The only interesting character was Yuga Tony, who even was the daughter. She had no motivations, nothing that made her special.
She wasn't real.
As that thought crossed his mind, Diego looked up at the ceiling and froze.
A little girl clung to the wall like a human spider, her dull blue hair peeked out from under a hooded cape and her skin was so pale it was nearly translucent at Tsarina. For a moment, Diego didn't breathe. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He blinked hard. But when he opened his eyes again, she was staring back at him with pale blue irises. Then she beckoned to him and then scuttled down the hallway. Dagos heart was pounding.
He wanted to run back upstairs to tell himself he'd imagined it, but something told him to follow her, that if he did, she might hold his answer.
When he entered the next room, she was standing on the floor next to a carved wooden desk, holding a leather ball. Sitting behind it, gazing at a piece of parchment was a man with tousled black curls and a prominent Roman nose. He was wearing Lukas costume. In fact, he looked almost exactly like Luca. But it wasn't him. It was Ooga Tony. Got pinched himself, but the scene didn't change. The little girl turned to the man and said she was glad to have him back, even if it meant she had to make some sacrifices.
The man nodded thoughtfully at Tsarina, bit her lip. She looked like she wanted to say something more. It reminded Diego of the way he felt about Bukha, like he wanted some Croma validation. Then Ogurtsov. He looked at her as Luco would have looked at him. An expression of exhausted tolerance tinged with contempt at Tsarina started to walk out the door. But the man called her back. She turned around. Hopefully, he told her never to disturb him in his office again.
She nodded her lower lip trembling, then walked out. Giago ran after her. He wanted to tell at Tsarina that he understood her. Now he knew what it was to love someone difficult and distant. But the moment he crossed into the hallway, she disappeared. Then an old leather ball rolled down the hallway and a piercing scream came from the seller in the corner, geegaws swallowed dryly and approached the open door. He took a deep breath and peered into the chamber below him.
His heart stopped. There was hooka, Tony. He was stabbing and stabbing at Tsarina over and over again, his black eyes glinted maniacally. Finally, he let her body fall to the floor and started to smile. Then the smile turned into a hysterical laugh. A fair haired young man rushed into the room and picked up the girl's body. But the killer didn't notice him at all. He just kept laughing at odd tittering chuckle that came from the back of the throat.
Diego backed away from the cellar. He didn't know what he'd just seen ghosts, visions, delusions. But now he did know two things. One, that his script was all wrong. The father wasn't the hero.
He'd been the villain all along to that. His boyfriend didn't love him and he never had. The villagers say that every five years at midsummer at Tsarina appears at the castle and plays out her final tragic moments in the ice cellar, one of the castle's caretakers claims to have seen her running upside down across the ceiling. At first, his story is hard to believe until he points out the trail of small footprints on the wall.
Over the years, the castle has seen its fair share of ghost hunters, paranormal researchers and even directors.
The film he described in the story was fictional, but there actually was a film made about the haunting in recent years. Among the many hours of video and audio that have been recorded within the Castle's grounds, there's one piece of tape that stands out. It's a short clip that begins with a distant roar of a storm and then a strange yelping noise. Perhaps it's the sound of a door hinge squealing in the wind. Or it could be a wounded animal or a bird call, or it might be the final cries of a dying girl.
The story about Tsarina is not quite truth and not quite fiction. There really was a man named Bucatini Della Fashola. By some accounts, he lived in the Castello Montebello and had a daughter with a fair complexion. And according to legend, on one rainy midsummer's day she screamed from the bottom of a dark cellar and was never seen again.
But that's all we know and perhaps all we'll ever know. Any story that goes beyond that is little more than hearsay, and there's nothing more powerful or more dangerous than a rumor.
Thanks again for tuning into haunted places. We'll be back on Thursday with a new episode. And don't forget to come back on Tuesday for our Urban Legends series available only on Spotify. You can find more episodes of Haunted Places and all other Spotify originals from podcast for free on Spotify. I'll see you next time. Haunted Places is a Spotify original theme park asked executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Kenny Hobbs with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Travis Clark.
This episode of Haunted Places was written by Zoe Louisa Lewis with writing assistance by Alex Garland, fact checking by Claire Cronin and research by Adriana Gomez. I'm Greg Pulsing.