The Iulia Hasdeu Castle is often mentioned when it comes to paranormal-related activities with a very sad if not tragic history. The Castle is actually a mausoleum, built between 1893 and 1896 after the death of Iulia Hasdeu, daughter of Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, one of the greatest academics, linguists and publicists of Romanian 19th century culture. His daughter Iulia (born in 1869) became a noted polyglot once she completed high school, aged 11. Around the age of 16 she became the first Romanian student at the Sorbonne, writing vast amounts of poetry both in French and Romanian. She proved herself to be an exceptional literary talent, inspired partly by her father.
However, tragedy would strike on the 29th of September 1888 and Iulia Hasdeu died of tuberculosis, aged 18. Her father never recovered from the grief of losing his only daughter at such a young age. This led him down a path of mysticism and spiritism, well-noted at the time. In the town of Campina he raised the mausoleum not only in her memory but also as a nexus between the world of the living and the departed.
From 1890 to 1903, Bogdan P. Hasdeu kept a record of more than a hundred summaries of spiritism sessions. Today the mausoleum is a museum dedicated to both father and daughter, and it is also a landmark of Romanian literary history with its impressive libraries. An interesting observation is that all doors and windows in the castle have mirrors on both sides, forming a barrage, supposedly impenetrable and inescapable to spirits. The Eye of Providence towers over the main entrance, guarded by two sphinx statues. In the centre of the main tower of the building one can see a large statue of Jesus Christ, as Hasdeu, apart from writing on the history of religion, was a very religious individual as well.
There is also a room in the building dedicated specifically to opening a channel of communication with the spirit of Iulia Hasdeu.
There are countless urban legends revolving around this museum. Some say that at night they hear the piano playing, followed by applauses and bravoes from on old man. Others claim to have seen a young girl at night dressed in a white gown looking for daffodils in the grounds of the mausoleum/museum. The museum even made the national news a few years ago with an article saying that dozens refused to work as nightshift security because of previous experiences and stories.
The castle suffered damages during both world wars and in 1994 it was converted into a museum. It was built out of a father’s escapist, obsessed, and inconsolable grief. However, it is also a window into the realm of mysticism, spiritism, religion and literature. A remarkable and unique place where the name Hasdeu will forever be ingrained.
Address: Campina, Boulevard Carol I nr. 199, Post code: 105600, Prahova County, Romania
Opening hours & ticket prices: Based on COVID 19 restrictions it is recommended to check with the museum via e-mail or telephone. Last time I visited (2018 it was approx. 1.5 Euro/6 RON for Students, 3 Euro/ 11 RON (Romanian currency) for Adults (including Audio guide)
Campina is located 109 km north of Bucharest via DN1 and it is very easy to reach via trains from Bucharest or Brasov.
* * *
Vlad Zamfira (MA Archaeology & History at the University of Aberdeen, Certificate of Postgraduate Research in 16th Century Mediterranean History) is a historian and podcaster (Wonderer’s History Podcast) based in Scotland, born in the Buzau County, 130km away from Sinaia. He visited the Peles Palace countless times due to frequent school trips there and to this day regularly visits the Peles & Pelisor Castles, which both hold a special place in his heart as a lover of history, both Romanian and European.