The Legend of Jackl – Wizards and Witches in Salzburg

‘The Legend of Jackl – Wizards and Witches in Salzburg’ is an exhibition that illuminates one of the darker chapters of Salzburg’s history, highlighting the practice of sorcery down the centuries. Between 1675 and 1679 Salzburg’s royal court prosecuted the alleged sorcerer, Jakob Koller, and his followers. 198 people of all ages were accused of having practised witchcraft, many of whom were tortured for their confessions – and 138 were executed. An entire floor of the castle has been devoted to these past events.
Visitors explore the world of the witches, wizards and sorcerers on a total of four floors in the old armoury – from the fairy-tale characters of books and films, witches and healers down the centuries, to the cults that celebrate magic around the world today. There are also plenty of opportunities to interact throughout the exhibition: Children can grab a witch’s broom, fly over the castle walls and film the whole episode. Alternatively, there’s the chance to cast spells with a witch. Adults can watch a sophisticated 3D holographic re-enactment of an interrogation that took place in connection with the Ramingstein beggar’s wedding, during the last of the major Salzburg witch trials.

Highlighting the bloodiest witch trials ever to have taken place on what is now Austrian territory, the exhibition at Hohenwerfen Castle provides an insight into a period of history in which the belief in the existence of witches and sorcerers was doubted by very few, and faith in the powers of magical practices was a cornerstone of everyday life. The discovery of new continents and the momentous religious schism ignited by Martin Luther had thrown the western world into turmoil. Confronted with unknown dangers, uncontrollable natural phenomena and destructive weather events, people had no choice but to ascribe them to the influence of sorcery, or as acts of God. There was deep-seated belief in dark, magical talents and hidden knowledge. Witches were believed to avail of both calamitous and curative powers of magic with the capacities to offer protection and unleash evil. Witches were accused of having made pacts with demons and the Devil in order to avail themselves of their powers of necromancy. Consequently, witches became the scapegoats for everything perceived to be of danger to the world.

Experience a virtual tour of the exhibition: ‘The Legend of Jackl – Wizards and Witches in Salzburg’.

Exhibition of the film "Where Eagles Dare"

(1968) by Brian G. Hutton with Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood etc.

The Plot

Germany in winter 1943/44: A plane with one of the US officers, George Carnaby [Robert Beatty], who is instrumental in planning D-Day, is shot down on a flight to Crete. The general is taken prisoner. The Wehrmacht transports him to the headquarters of the German secret service in the heavily fortified castle „Schloss Adler“ in the Alps, [the actual scene is Hohenwerfen Castle]. To prevent the general from revealing important information, he is to be liberated by a British Special Forces team led by the experienced Major John Smith [Richard Burton]. The US Lieutenant Morris Schaffer [Clint Eastwood] is assigned to the English command as an elite fighter.

After Smith and his team parachute over the Bavarian Alps under cover of dusk, they manage to penetrate into the castle, which can only be reached by cable car. Then begins a dramatic turn of events, in which the spies are mutually referred to as double agents and the general is alleged to be an American actor. The goal of the mission was in fact not the rescue of the general, who is actually an actor, but the detection of double agents within the British secret service MI6. This proves successful: Through a clever ruse, Smith comes into possession of a list of the names of the traitors – as well as the name of the top German spy.

The situation escalates and the group makes a daring escape from the castle and continue by bus with an attached snowplow to the airfield. There they are picked up by an apparently captured Ju-52 transport of the German secret service. On the flight back to England, Smith reveals to his superior officer, Colonel Turner, the name of the German top spy: Turner himself. The thus exposed double agent, who would consequently be court-martialed, would like to be spared a walk to the gallows and asks Smith for an alternative. With Smith’s permission, he commits suicide by jumping out of the plane without a parachute.

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