The Wildg’fahr Cave at Sonnenberg Mountain

The Sonnenberg Mountain rises up high and bare and desolate into the clouds above Naturns, at the left side of the Etsch river and close to Meran. But beneath the steep and nearly inaccessible rock cliffs, happy and fortunately located hamlets can be found which have nestled themselves into the green regions of the Sonnenberg. These include Schnaz, Gruas, Gintzl, Galmai, and others. But above these hamlets, a yawning cave opening can be seen, similar to the Hörselberge range in Thuringia which is the eerie abode of the Wild Army. While this mountain and dwarf hole is also called the Lorrgenloch (“Lorrgen Hole”), the Wildgfahr roars in and out of there with abominable clangs and noses, and it rustles as if it had dry skin hanging on its skeleton.

Many claim to have heard and seen this night-time haunting. Whoever wanders on evil paths, who leaves his home at night with ill intent, or who stumbles around as a filled-up drunkard has fallen into the power of the Wildg’fahr, and woe to him if the haunt encounters him and whisks him away.

The Lorggenloch is a gneiss cave of a depth of almost two klafters whose interior is smooth as if it had been worked with a chisel. It has an extremely ill reputation, and nobody dares to go nearby at night.

This cave is close to the Rofnerwald farm among the surrounding hamlets, which is the name of a noteworthy farmers’ estate. Apart from the Wildg’fahr, the Lorggenloch is inhabited by a further uncanny terror. This is the Totenkopfspinne (“Skull Spider”), a spider which is as large as the skull of a newborn child. It resembles a black-brown human skull in such an uncanny way that whoever beholds it will soon expire out of fright, or else succumb to madness. The Totenkopfspinne is an as of yet wholly unsolved mystery of the myths of our home, and nobody knows which mysterious relationship it has with the Wildg’fahr or the Lorggen. There are further legends of horrible spiders in the region as well.

Source: von Alpenburg, J. N. R. Mythen und Sagen Tirols. 1857, p. 70.

Notes & commentary: Return of the Wildg'fahr