Did you know that the ghosts in Beersel Castle predict great upheavals?
This well-preserved building is one of the few examples of military architecture from the Middle Ages in our country. It is located in the middle of a marsh, which made it easier to defend. Godefroid of Hellebeke, a friend of the Duke of Brabant, began its construction in the early 14th century (completed in 1312). The three corner towers, which are rounded on the outside to better resist firearms, the outer wall, the arrow slits, the moat water, the bridge and the thick walls made it a fortified castle. Its defensive nature was enhanced by the fact that if someone managed to cross the bridge, they still had to pass down a long corridor, after which they would be met by stones and boiling water. This Castle also testifies to the fact that life in the Middle Ages was bleak and harsh.
The Castle was passed down through inheritance to the Witthem family. At the end of the 15th century, the Netherlands was plunged into a ten-year civil war, which set the towns supported by part of the lower nobility against the central powers. There was a succession of military campaigns and the fate of the battles changed constantly. Castles, towns and villages changed hands and paid a high price for the passage of rowdy soldiers. Famine, caused by poor harvests, and plague, propagated by the movement of troops, decimated the population and destroyed the economy. Struggling with the often bloody repression of Maximilian's troops, the rebellion of the towns faltered of its own accord, no longer supported by France. Having being besieged by the people of Brussels, who were rebelling against Emperor Maximilian I, Beersel Castle was restored in 1491.
The Castle of the Lords of Witthem has the sinister reputation of being haunted. Unusual phenomena occur in and around the Castle whenever there is a serious threat (war, conflict, epidemic, etc.) to the region or country. It is frequented by ghosts who appear only during major political upheavals, to predict the coming troubles. The mediaeval world, with its moats, drawbridge, dungeons, torture chamber and arrow slits, continues to scare young and old alike!
To end on a less sinister note, we should point out that the location inspired the creator of Spike and Suzy, the artist and scriptwriter Willy Vandersteen, who used it as the backdrop for his comic strip album "The Treasure of Beersel", published in 1954.