Like all cities, Tallinn has several ghost stories and one of the most legendary is about the Devil’s Wedding. If you’re walking in the Tallinn Old Town you will most probably pass the Cat’s Well. The well itself has a ‘lovely’ story behind its name; people used to sacrifice animals, mostly cats, to keep the evil water spirits happy. Hence the name. Anyway, when you see the well in front of the St.Petersbourg Hotel
and OldHouse Apartments, take a look up at the house Rataskaevu 16 and you’ll notice that one of the top floor windows is bricked up from the inside and has painted curtains.
There are slight variations of the story, but we will share the version we’ve heard. According to the legend, a long time ago an indebted innkeeper was in a desperate situation and decided to commit suicide. Just before taking his own life, he heard a knock on the door. Upon opening the door, a cloaked man entered the room and offered a huge pile of money and promised all the riches for the poor landlord if he rented the top floor room for a party. Fair enough, right? Well, there was one condition; there should be complete privacy without any eavesdropping. The landlord happily agreed.
Later that evening, music and loud voices were heard to all over Rataskaevu Street, as if the room was filled with hundreds of people, shaking the whole building and sometimes even unnatural voices issued from the room. Then, all of a sudden, exactly at one o’clock, there was complete silence – the big party just vanished. Next morning, the landlord’s servant was found mortally ill. Before dying, he admitted that he peered through the keyhole and claimed to have witnessed the Devil’s Wedding, and as a punishment was cursed with death. In some versions, the story continues; when the landlord entered the room on next day, he found huge hoof prints on the floor. In another version, he finds a bag of gold, but when he touches it, he drops dead on the floor.
Supposedly the lesson of the story is not to make agreements with the devil? Legend says the room was ordered to be bricked so no human soul could ever enter it again. Even today, some claim to hear weird voices from the building.
As fascinating as this story is, we doubt that throwing kitties down a well is rational or that getting sick is the act of the devil. Thus, we decided to stay for 2 nights at Rataskaevu 16, in OldHouse Apartments. You can read about our stay in this beautiful 15th century building here. Even though we almost got heart-attacks when our bathroom lights turned off by themselves just after we learned about the legend, nothing else happened – we didn’t hear Satanic voices (only few drunken Finns) nor saw anything else supernatural. In fact, the ‘Devil’s Room’ is a modern flat, among other OldHouse Apartments, which is for rent.
‘The weird voices’ people have claimed to hear over the years, can be explained as strong wind hitting the tin roof making a ‘ghostly’ sound. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Rataskaevu 16 has old wooden stairs, which make squeaky sounds when people are going up or down. Moreover, according to some sources the ‘Devil’s Room’ window was originally bricked because the owner of the building got simply tired of the rumors and decided to put an end to them, and another version is that it was due to regulatory and legal reasons. Whatever the reason was, it has inspired people to come up with a great tale. And because we don’t want to completely ruin ghost stories, in the current employee’s room at the back of the Rataskaevu restaurant, real human bones have been found between the walls! BooOOooo!