Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Mortemer Abbey "The most haunted abbey in France"
It's been a while since I posted a scary story for you all. Immersed in the translation of a fascinating yet mysteriously terrifying manuscript, I have perhaps inadvertently elected to escape the dark ambiance that envelopes me daily. But, I'm back, so hold on to your seats, here goes ....
In order to tell this story properly, I must give you a bit of historical background ... set the stage, so to speak.
William the Conqueror aka William I of England aka William the Bastard was an illegitimate child born in Normandy, France circa 1028. As we all know, he invaded England in 1066 and reigned there until his death 21 years later. (He made many improvements in England during his reign.)
Then came his son, William II (1056 - 1100).
Then his son Henry I (1068 - 1135)
Henry's sons died and his daughter, Mathilda (1102 - 1167), inherited the throne of England.
She in turn gave birth to Henry II who became the husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Richard the Lion Hearted. (See my blog entry)
Before Mathilda became Mathilda of England (she was never coronated as her cousin fought her for the throne of England, starting years of civil war called The Anarchy) and before she became Empress Mathilda (she married the Holy Roman Emperor), her father, Henry I, locked her away in a Cistercian Monastery in Eure, France called Mortemer Abbey.
It was originally built in 1134 on land given to the monks by Henry I. The monks dried up the swampy land called "more mare" or dead pond. Hence its name, Mortemer.
Here are the ruins of Mortemer Abbey were Mathilda was locked up, "the most haunted abbey in France".
Located just behind today's Monestary
It is said that Empress Mathilda aka Mathilda of England haunts the ruins and the Monestary. Visitors report feeling an intensely strange presence and hear voices. Some people have seen her out amongst the ruins under the light of the moon.
But that's not all ....
During the French Revolution, blood ran in the streets of France as the noblemen, clergy, and anyone with the ability to read or write Latin were mercilessly slaughtered. All churches, monasteries, and their lands were seized and auctioned off.
By that time, there were only 4 monks left at Mortemer Abbey. The Revolutionaries chased them into the forest, chopped their heads off and dragged their corpses back into the Abbey, stuffing them into the cellar.
These 4 monks are said to haunt the Abbey.
Last but not least: the ghost of a cat is said to guard a treasure buried in the ruins of Mortemer Abbey. Many people have seen the cat. I say, follow that cat!
Bon, gros bisous qui fait peur et a demain!