The White Lady – Vienna’s ghost story

The ghost which kept the high and mighty on their toes

Ghost stories take up a big chunk of Halloween traditions, no matter the age, supernatural beings are always fascinating. We are focusing on the “White Lady” today. She is a ghost that wanders through castles and palaces, all since she has died in a miserable way.

You can find sagas about the White Lady in almost every European country. Most of the time she comes from a noble background. She appears as an ancestress and depending on the colour of her gloves, she predicts an occurrence. When she wears black gloves, she is forecasting a tragedy. White ones stand for blessings, such as a birth. It’s rare but not unusual for her to appear after an incident has already occurred.

The White Lady has fascinated people ever since the early modern period. Different dynasties are claiming their own White Ladies, trying to affiliate the ghost to one of their ancestors. No matter the dynasty, the name Kunigunde is mentioned in a majority of the cases. Legend has it that Kunigunde of Weimar-Orlamünde killed two children in the 14th century. After leading a life filled with misery she was turned into a White Lady. Others suspected Kunigunde, wife of Ottokar the 2nd, to be a White Lady.

Stories talk about the ghost appearing in Vienna every now and then. The story also seemed fascinating to the last empress Zita, who was trying to find out more about the White Lady, though without any luck. Even the emperors Joseph the second and Franz Joseph the first apparently ran into the White Lady in the Amalientrakt. But the Habsburgs aren’t the only ones that kept talking about their encounters with the ghost.

According to word-of-mouth, winegrowers have been waiting for her to appear near St. Stephen’s south tower around 4 pm, giving them the go to start their afternoon break.

We will probably never be able to disclose the secrets around the White Lady. But no matter the origin of the story, we will stay fascinated by the legends. And who knows, maybe you will be able to catch a glimpse of her as you visit the Hofburg?

The White Lady Hofburg Secret Vienna

You can visit the Amalientrakt at the Sissi Museum, click here for more information

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