Urban Ghost Hunting



A page dedicated to mysterious Rotterdam - Ghosts, power-places, saints, earth-mysteries, UFO's and ley-lines


Today Rotterdam is a modern industrial town. The local culture is practical, "down to earth" and not stimulating for any supernatural occurrences. But the ground upon which Rotterdam is built is very ancient. And under the pavement the ghosts of old times still live. And sometimes their influence can be felt in the upper world.

On a clear winter day (late December 2001) my son and I decided to explore our daily surroundings and to see if we could find any traces of the ghosts that once roamed the area. We took our bicycles and departed in a random direction. We would follow any feeling and urge that we felt and would see where our "random walk" would lead us.

In the following paragraphs I'll describe the results of our expedition. And I'll tell more about the mystical and magical backgrounds of the area. You'll see that it is rich in ghosts, magic and even UFO's. More than you would expect of a city like Rotterdam. And everything is documented with references and photographs.

How ancient is Rotterdam ?

During the last ice-age hunters and fishermen roamed the area. In the Westerschelde human bones and utensils have been found that were 10.000 years old. At the Maasvlakte (fish-) spears made of bone from the same period have been found. In the younger stone-age (6000 - 3700 BC) human habitation has been demonstrated and even given the name of Vlaardingen-culture. Later settlements, from Roman times have been found in the area of Europoort. [ref 1]

From 10.000 BC onwards the "river-sand dunes" were preferred places for settlement. They were higher and drier than the rest of the land. Similar settlements from 4000-3000 BC have been found near Bergschenhoek and Vlaardingen. One of these dunes is still visible in Hillegersberg. [ref 2] When you're looking for "power-places" then these are the places to visit.

*** Hillegersberg and the story of the local giantess will be described in a future update.

It is possible that ancient remains are buried beneath the thick layers of sea-clay and peat. And of course the ritual places our ancestors are still active under the earth. In some places you can still feel their presence.

Expedition spot 1 - In the bushes along the road

Quiet spot - Notice these strange markings on the tree. Some very ancient symbols were carved into the bark.

We immediately felt attracted to this spot. Located beneath the highway and near a busy road it is shielded from view by a row of bushes. It is a place where no one goes to - just some people that walk their dogs. However, we never saw anyone here, although we returned on several occasions. No one has sat on these mouldy benches for a long time. Still, it was not a bad place to be - more like a secluded spot for meditation.

I am always interested in these "out of the way" places. Often they are just around the corner, but no one seems to notice them. All the hustle and bustle happens 50m away - but not here. As if there were a force, forming a barrier between everyday life and "here".

We had a tough time deciding about the kind of energy this spot emanated. At last we settled upon "neutral and soothing" with a te

The entities - Two in the branches and one in the tree bark

And upon close inspection of the photographs, I discovered some of the inhabitants of this place. You may think that it is just coincidence - but I believe this is the form in which these entities reveal themselves. We were very receptive at this moment - and they were beningn. Notice their likeness with African idols. I cannot believe this is just a coincidence.

Birch-trees and Amanita spirit

Several months later I discovered another reason why this place is magical. The birch-trees! They were seen as magic trees in the whole Northern Hemisphere, from Scandinavia to Siberia. It's their connection with the magic Amanita Muscaria mushroom and it's hallucinogenic properties. They are quite rare in our region - but here they are found in huge concentrations.

In addition, notice the strange dwarf-like shape in the leaves. We only noticed it in the photograph afterwards. Is that a materialisation of the Amanita-spirit? I really think that the entities were very friendly towards us.

Expedition spot 2 - Highway cathedral

Highway cathedral

I always like the area next to the highway. It's unfrequented, unkempt and (relatively speaking) quiet. The tattered poplars, the translucent "windows" of the noise-barrier all contribute to a serene cathedral-like atmosphere. Nice place for an evening-walk.

But we did not feel any special "presence" here. Surprising! There seems to be no connection between the "look and feel" of a place and it's supernatural charge. So we didn't stay here long.

*** In a future update I will write about the 16th century Laurens-cathedral in the centre of Rotterdam, and the power-spot that has been found there. [4]

Expedition spot 3 - Horror vacui (1)

Lost in space

Here we found another demonstration that there is no relationship between the look of a place and it's spiritual content. We felt a clear ominous presence here, but although we could pinpoint the direction the influence came from, we did not see anything in that spot. But we had the clear impression that some invisible entity was watching us.

The "power spot" is situated exactly in the middle of the picture. In the innocent looking children's playground.

The only visible sign was what my son called "the white ghost tree". Yes, again a large birch-tree. And while we were looking for the location of the power-spot and the best camera angle we came upon this painting. What a coincidence! This painting - of an astronaut helplessly tumbling through space - is the precise rendition of the atmosphere of the place. The artist must have felt it too!

*** You might want to look at the mysterious radar station.

Expedition spot 4 - A quiet morning feeling


Although I didn't feel much here my son insisted that this was a very positive spot and he definitely wanted to take a picture of it. It reminded him of quiet mornings.

Then we explored another spot along the highway, but while it looked promising from a distance all the atmosphere vanished when we stood at the spot itself. It is not that easy to find subtle energies.

Expedition spot 5 - Horror vacui (2)

Like a "piazza" of Giorgio de Chirico

Again this invisible presence. Is there really something here? The force is not coming from the trees in the foreground, neither from the white cloud-shape on the right. It is in the far centre of the picture, near the spool of cable and the trees in the background. It is hiding in that distance.

Is it just the long winter shadows that create the eerie atmosphere? The clear air and the strange whitish light? Or is it just my hyper-sensitivity? Like a book about the painter Giorgio de Chirico says:

Expedition spot 6 - Supermarket square

Why is it so much easier to find places with negative energies than places with positive energies? Are we humans more attracted to evil than to good? Are the forces of evil more visible in this world?

Evil square

The literature on ghosts is full of warnings. Don't summon them, do not call them. You can never know what kind of entity will appear. There is always the chance that it will be evil and that it will harm you:

Two entities and a UFO

But this certainly was a negative place. Shadowy, dark, full of broken glass and covered in puddles with weird shapes. Later a group of youths arrived to play basketball, but not even this positive activity could raise the energy level of this area. I won't be returning here soon.

When I looked at the photographs afterwards I was surprised how accurate our feelings had been. Notice the white silhouette that is hiding behind the trunk of the tree (I made a mirror-image to make myself more clear, but it is also visible in the original picture) and the strange head with a long neck on the ground. Unfriendly shapes.

And notice the strange dumbell-shaped object in the sky. What's that? Is it a UFO? It's also there in the original picture. Nothing has been inserted that was not there, I don't have Photoshop.

*** In a future update I will add descriptions and pictures of more UFO's from Rotterdam.
*** In the mean time take a look at my collection of weird and non-weird sky objects.

Expedition spot 7 - The positive object

Diatoms -Radiolaria -Foraminifera

But fortunately we also saw that people can make the difference in the energy level of a place. We are not entirely in the hands of the metaphysical entities that surround us.

Here an anonymous artists has used old building materials (pipes and washbasins) to make a sunny and positive statement. You can feel the healing energy beaming in all directions. We were literally basking in the rays of positive energy. All the negative influences were overwhelmed and forgotten. I would like to have such an artwork in front of my house.

*** In a future update I will write about Saint Liduina of Schiedam

Expedition spot 8 - The old graveyard

The old graveyard with the river in the background (behind the high dyke)

The old graveyard of Capelle aan den IJssel. I know this place from my youth. When we were 12 years old we once drove here on our bicycles at night. We got as far as the dyke and the path to the graveyard. Then we didn't have the courage to go on. Especially after my friend said "It smells like a graveyard here." Of course I couldn't really smell anything, but the remark really spooked me and we fled. I never returned until now.

Wispy entities and a strong presence

The atmosphere was quite peaceful and friendly. Afterwards I shouldn't have expected otherwise. Capelle being a God-fearing, strictly protestant fishermen's village (it still houses some of the most rigorous protestant/calvinistic sects of the area) there is not much room for evil to get a toehold.

Afterwards, in the picture I could detect some fleeting and wispy entities, but they were not very present, more transient. And the tree-entity although full of fierce power was not unfriendly at all. This is a place I will have to come back to, for further research.

*** In a future update I will tell more about the "long straight road" near Bergschenhoek.

Expedition spot 9 - Technical power place

Not much is needed to enhance the atmosphere ...

Again an example of the human influence on the energy of a place. Here I disagree with the common wisdom of "earth mystery" research. The consensus is that any artificial interference with a place is bad. Metal conduits are especially distrusted.

But here the "genius loci" is intensified by the group op concrete pillars. They are no gravestones, they simply show where the pipes for gas, water and electricity are buried. But they give the place a mystical feeling that is just as strong as at the real old graveyard. And notice the lonely birch tree in the background - it has surely chosen this spot on purpose.

*** In a future update I will write about the power-walkin the Kralingsche Bos - our local park.

Expedition spot 10 - Skull in the leaves

See him laughing

This last spot gave me a big surprise. We were certain that there was something odd in the shape of the shadows, but we couldn't pinpoint it while we were there. Originally I was looking for a translucent presence near the upper left of the photograph. Imagine my surprise when I found this eerie skull in the leaves at my feet. It is literally laughing at our attempts to trace it.

Remember, I did not manipulate the picture in any way! This certainly is a weird place and I won't go here at night.

*** In a future update I will write about the (Carlos Castaneda like) power places in Bergschenhoek.


[1] Deltagebied, Ria Lenferink, Leo Han in 't Veld, 1985, Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

[2] Rivierenland, Ria Lenferink, 1983, Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

[3] Ton Lemaire, Godenspijs of duivelsbrood ...

[4] Wighold Vleer, Leylijnen en leycentra in de Lage Landen - 217 heilige plaatsen in Nederland en Vlaanderen, 1992, Ankh Hermes, Deventer, p. 336

[5] De Chirico, 1982, Museum of Modern Art, New York, p. 65

[6] The case of Charles Dexter Ward, H.P. Lovecraft, in At the mountains of madness, Victor Gollancz LTD, London, 1971

Reactie - Spookplekken in Rotterdam

Op zoek naar spooky places en paranormaal sterke plekken in/rond Rotterdam:

kijk eens of je de locaties van oude boerderijen kan vinden. Die zullen bijvoorbeeld hebben gestaan op de weg naar Kralingen (die zo oud is als de weg naar Kralingen), langs de Rotte en/of een stukje daarvanaf. Wat erachter/erlangs lag was bos; die wegen en bossen zijn typisch locaties waar rovers hebben gemoord, weerwolven opduiken, etc.

Of probeer tussen Kralingen en de IJssel (Prinsenland), route naar Gouda en Utrecht, de boerderijen langs de weg daar (die langs het Kralingse Bos / golfclub en m.n. verder oostelijk) staan er al eeuwen, maar de grond werd door n.b. de boeren zelf 'dik water' genoemd, zo slecht was het daar. Dik water levert natuurlijk wel lekker veel mist op, in de herfst. Goed voor watergeesten, dolende geesten van overledenen, trollen enzo. Vergeet niet dat je daar al op de route zit naar Oudewater met z'n heksenwaag...

Wellicht moet je een auditservice in het leven roepen voor bedrijven die nieuwe kantoren laten bouwen, of de locaties wel Hollands Feng Shui zijn...

m.vr.gr., Jurgen van der Vlugt

OK, zal eens zien wat ik in huis heb. Rare gedachte (??): dan ga ik eens pendelen in een rekencentrum. Kan vreemde verklaringen geven voor storingen, al weet ik niet of ik met de analyse aan kan komen bij de Board...

New directions in Urban Exploration

I was inspired by the guys ( and girls? ) at - http://403forbidden.urbanadventure.org - ( link is dead alas! ) to look for spooky and haunted places in Rotterdam. My intent is to work in a systematic manner. First I'll compile a long list of candidate spots and then to visit them and write some nonsense about the visits. This is desk research and ideal for winter-time.

But Rotterdam is a very modern city and all the ghosts were killed in the German bombardments. There is no off-the-shelf book about "Spooky Rotterdam". I have to do all the research myself. These are my intermediate results:

1) The Rotterdam area is incredibly ancient - stone age artefacts have been found in the area - this means there could be several "power places" or "ley lines"
2) The book "Leylines and power places in the Netherlands" list 2 spots in the area - one in the city center
3) There is one report from 1986 about ghosts in an old farmhouse in Rotterdam
4) There is a rich folklore about ghosts in the provinces around Rotterdam (elves, fiery-men, mermaids, ghosts) - so they might be in Rotterdam too
5) A famous medieval saint lived near Rotterdam and her relics are still (?) kept in one church
6) There are some miracle-stories in places surrounding Rotterdam
7) I found a list of still-standing monuments dating from 1400 to 1600 - not many are left, there are about 15 of them - mostly churches
8) Several castles stood in the area, the sites are well documented although not much remains of them
9) I made a list of places that I consider "spooky" or "powerful" - I even thought about learning to dowse, but it's too much effort (I don't believe in the concept, but I thought it would be fun to try) - if you want the book "Pendulum dowsing" I can send it to you, I won't use it anyway

I spent two very pleasant days at the library and the municipal achives. I was handed fragile books from 1800 to hold and read. I even deciphered prints from 1610. I found stacks of old city-maps and registers.

I even mailed several of my findings (non-ghost stories) to a professor who maintains the "Dutch folk-story database". He didn't know about them and found them interesting. He scanned the database for me (it's not public) and found only 1 ghost story from Rotterdam itself, unfortunately without a precise location. But he sent me a couple of "urban legends" from Rotterdam.

I advise you to visit your city archives, it's a great experience, even if you find little. Just randomly scanning the bookshelves and seeing all that has been published is a voyage of discovery.

Places of power

In my 2001 holiday I discovered many books about so called "Places of power" in the German and Swiss bookshops. They range from scientific and acceptable to weird and simply crazy. I bought several, from all categories. They open up a new ways of exploring the city. But first let me explain the idea by giving two examples:

I don't believe in this mysterious "earth power" but I am quite sensitive to the positive, or negative atmosphere op places. And I will readily admit that the places the authors describe have a lot of atmosphere. But I refuse to believe that only ancient places can have this and I already am making an inventory of "modern power places" in Rotterdam. Once I've collected a small list I will put it up on my website and present it as a serious "earth mysteries" project.

Go to: Home

P. Kazil July 2002