Most persons have very definite convictions about ghosts, apparitions, vampires, werewolves and other eerie supernatural creatures. They either believe or disbelieve. Relatively few are content to remain open-minded about the subject.
The charming town of St. Wolfgang on the sparkling blue Wolgangsee, nestling like a picture postcard scene at the foot of the towering Schafberg, is a resort for mountain climbers in summer skiers in winter. It has a romantic atmosphere which probably inspired Franz Lehar to write “The Merry Widow” there.
It is but a short distance from Mayerling, the hunting lodge of Emperor Franz Josef, where the discovery of the bodies of Crown Prince Rudolf, heir to the Austrian throne, and his sweetheart, Maria Vetsera, became one of the greatest unsolved romantic tragedies in history.
One day while Austin Gerald Harmsworth, a 31-year old investment banker, and his wife Laurie, were hiking on the pine-forested slope of the Shafberg above the town, they came upon a long-unoccupied Wolfgang Schloss and were captivated by the picturesque 18th century chalet. Later they questioned Luther Pach, proprietor of their inn, about it.
“The schloss has been vacant and for sale for about 80 years,” he told them. “The last owner was Baron von Ober, who disappeared after murdering his wife, Margot. She is buried in the von Ober family plot in our cemetery on the edge of the town.”
“Why did the baron kill his wife?” Laurie asked.
Pach hesitated. He was selecting his words carefully. “You will forgive me for repeating old gossip, Frau Harmsworth, but according to the stories, she was a very wicked woman; young and beautiful, with a fine figure and golden hair, but bad. It is said that soon after she came to the schloss she began seducing impressionable young men—the mountain guides and hunters of our town. She was insatiable in her demands..."
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