The Wildg’fahr near Vöran

The village of Vöran lies on a sunny plateau above the left shores of the Etsch river valley close to Meran. Its headsman claimed that he had often seen the Wildg’fahr in earlier times. It took the shape of a gargantuan, fiery pig with a very long snout, and its tail was as long as a hay pole.

His neighbor, Matthias Zöggeler, was the old town official. He had worked on the fortifications near Martinsbrugg, and was also a member of the riflemen. This man told him, the headsman, the following:

“About thirty years ago, I was walking through the Larch valley of Vöran. It was already evening, and nightfall arrived. I carried my gun, a fowling piece, over my shoulder, and went on my way without fear, for even then I was a servant of the honorable police - or, to be precise, the police in person, for there was no one else in the town who gave me orders.

When I arrived in the Unterweger Götsch at a swampy, eerie place, everything suddenly became bright, and a fiery apparition raced towards me with the speed of lightning. This looked like a pig with its snout gaping wide open. As I saw that it was coming straight for me, I reached for my rifle. But, due to my shock and the incredible speed of this creature, all I could do was watch it race away, trailing a tail like a spruce tree. As I stood there, shaking and holding my rifle in my hands, I soon heard a crack. It seemed to emanate from the “Wendl Joch” near Pauls (St. Pauls on the right side of the Etsch river).”

And thus the legend goes that if the Wild Ride roams, they bounce against the mountain with loud cracks. Frequently people hear even worse noise, as if they were accompanied by dogs and howling spirits. They call this the “proper Wild Hunt”, and it occurs during the time of Advent.

Source: von Alpenburg, J. N. R. Mythen und Sagen Tirols. 1857, p. 69.

Notes & commentary: Return of the Wildg'fahr