Old Town Tallinn in Estonia is home to many urban legends. Impressively maintained over many centuries, the area still closely resembles its 13th-century appearance. This casts an eeriness over this section of Estonia’s capital city, complete with its own supernatural canon. One street in Old Town, named Vaimu Street, even translates to “ghost,” and Russians call it Strashnaya Ulitsa, roughly meaning “scary street.” One of many potentially haunted areas in Eastern Europe, Old Town is believed by many to be at least slightly haunted.
One of Old Town's most famous haunted occurrences took place on Rataskaevu Street several centuries ago. While the still-erect 15th-century building may blend in with modern-day Old Town, rumors persist that the devil himself briefly inhabited the centuries-old house.
According To Legend, A Hotel Owner Perished After Witnessing The Devil's Wedding
While the entire area of Old Town Tallinn is known for its mystical history, the alleged site of the devil’s wedding has garnered a great deal of intrigue since the 15th century, when the forsaken union supposedly took place.
The story begins with a hotel owner on a dark, bitter winter night. In many versions of the story, he was planning to take his own life because his hotel was failing and he had fallen into poverty. Just as he was about to commit the act, a cloaked, well-coiffed gentleman knocked on the door. The man asked the hotel owner if Room 6, the large room on the top floor, was available, stating that he needed it until the early morning. In exchange for the room, he offered to pay a great sum, but under one condition: No one, under any circumstances, was allowed to look into the room. Desperate for business, the owner gladly accommodated the shady figure.
Soon after the man went upstairs, countless revelers arrived at the house in large, beautiful coaches, and a loud celebration with pulsing music began - the singing and dancing were so loud that they rumbled the floorboards. Despite his promise to the cloaked man, the owner was growing increasingly curious about what was transpiring inside the mysterious man's room. Consumed by the enticing sound of music, he decided to briefly peek into the room through the door's keyhole, where - astonishingly - he witnessed the devil's wedding.
Article ImageWhat happened next varies depending on the storyteller. Some say the owner entered the room the next day to find a bag of gold on the floor, which transformed into horse dung when he touched it and ended him instantly. Other tales describe the floorboards defaced with the scratches of claws and hooves. In every version of the story, though, the owner of the hotel perished as a result of his indiscretion - in some cases, he was petrified and collapsed the moment he looked through the keyhole.
What transpired during the wedding itself also varies from story to story. According to Lynne Sutherland Olson and her band of paranormal investigators, the alleged devil was marrying a child bride. She claims the young girl was sincerely in love with the older man, and he wished for a pure and compliant bride, though his reasons for marrying her were pragmatic - she was the daughter of one of his political rivals.
To ensure the ceremony's completion, the cloaked man and the young girl consummated their marriage in front of numerous onlookers. Another reading of the legend claims that the hotel owner was disturbed by the perverse act, and his response was the result of sheer horror and guilt.
Many stories appear to use “house” and "hotel" interchangeably, as well as “landlord” and “owner." Even the owner's plan to take his own life is sometimes excluded from the story.
Skeptics Take Issue With The Story's Inconsistencies
As is the nature of urban legends, there are many nonbelievers. The exact date of the alleged wedding is unknown - some sources say the house was built in the 15th century and the story originated in the 16th, but there is no definitive proof for either claim. The number of variables in the story is also a source of skepticism: Was the witness to the wedding the landlord or a tenant? What was the supposed devil really doing in the room? Did the landlord perish immediately or the next day?
The paranormal investigators, unclear as to whether or not the event was literal or metaphysical, asked their "guides" exactly what the landlord saw that day. According to Sutherland, the landlord was very ill with a blood clot on that fateful night, which caused hallucinations that may have altered his perception of the event.
Many Strange Reports Have Come From The Property Over The Years
Over the many centuries since the night of the devil’s wedding, locals and passersby have heard mysterious noises coming from the house on Rataskaevu. Raul Reemet, an owner of a sushi restaurant that used to operate in the building, assured investigators that the sounds were nothing more than thunderous footsteps on the old stairs.
However, a ghost-hunting crew noted the sound of footsteps on their visit to the house, even though they were alone on the property. Another factor to consider is the proximity of the house to other mystical sites, such as the Cat's Well, a massive well across the narrow street. A demon allegedly lives in the bottom and can only be appeased by cats. According to theorists, the town's energy begets supernatural events.
The Room’s Windows And Curtains Are Merely Painted On
To the untrained eye, the windows of Room 6 appear open, with curtains flowing. However, the owners of the property have long since boarded up the windows and painted interior curtains onto the bricks, creating the illusion of real windows.
Reemet claims that the exterior bricks were not added for any supernatural purposes, but rather for certain legal ones. The mystery surrounding the house likely brought much unwanted attention to the property, so the window replacement may have been a precaution against unwanted visitors and mischief. However, Reemet also notes that some bizarre artifacts were unearthed from within the walls of the apartment during a complete building renovation. Some of the findings included coins, documents, and - most disturbingly - human bones.