- Eleonore Zugun -
Born on 24 May
Zugun was a Rumanian peasant girl who lived in the village of Talpa, in the
north of the country. In February 1923, when she was eleven years old, she went to visit her
grandmother's house at Buhai, a few miles away from her village. On the way she found some money
by the side of the road, and when she arrived at Buhai she spent it on sweets
and ate them all. Her 105-year-old grandmother, who had the reputation of being
a witch, overheard Eleonore and her cousin arguing about the sweets, and warned her that
the devil (Dracu in Rumanian) had left the money to tempt her, and from
then on she would never be free of him. The next day poltergeist activity began.
Stones crashed against the house and broke windows, and
small objects near to Eleonore jumped up and flew about. Her superstitious grandmother was
convinced that the girl was possessed by the Devil and Eleonore was quickly sent home to
Tulpa. But here, three days later,
the poltergeist started again. A jug full of water rose slowly into the air and floated several
feet without any water being spilled. A
trunk shook violently up and down, a porridge bowl flew at a visitor and hit
him on the back of the head causing a painful wound.
unexplained phenomena continued and Eleonore found refuge
in the monastery of Gorovei. But after three weeks there, with the violence of
the phenomena unabated, she was locked in a lunatic asylum.
newspaper accounts of her strange story reached eminent Austrian psychical
researcher Fritz Grunweld in Charlottenburg, Germany, who, with the help of Kubi
Klein, a journalist form Czernowitz, managed to get her sent back to the monastery
where she could be properly observed.
Grunewald took detailed shorthand notes of the amazing
phenomena which took place between the 9 and 18 of May, 1925. (These were edited
and published after his death by Professor Christoph Schr?der in the Zeitschrift
f?r psychische Forschung, vol. I, 1927.) The most common type of phenomenon
were object -movements, ranging from the slow movement of a large pot on the
oven, to the sometimes violent throwing of things at or close to people. Objects
also appeared seemingly from nowhere (apports), and there were occasional knocks,
and, once or twice, matches were mysteriously set alight. The poltergeist also began slapping the girl.
In July 1925, however, Grunewald died of a heart attack
aged forty-one, and the unlucky Eleonore was once again left in the care of her
apparently unconcerned family. Fortunately, later that year, she found another
protector. This was in the form of an attractive young Viennese woman - the
Wassiliko-Serecki, part Rumanian, who had been
connected with psychical research for years, and also had an interest in
psychoanalysis. When she visited Eleonore at the monastery of Gorovei in
September 1925, she found an uncared for, dirty and very frightened girl.
While there, the Countess saw for her self the bizarre phenomena. She wrote a short book
about Eleonore's case, later published as Der Spuk von Talpo (Munich,
1926), and by January 1926 had managed, after complicated negotiations, to
bring Eleanore to Vienna to live with her in her flat.
Here, Eleonore was happy and healthy and before long the
Countess had her training as a hair-dresser. Though Eleonore was emotionally
stable at this time and not in the psychological condition usually
associated with poltergeist activity, the phenomena continued as before. The
Countess kept a diary of events and divided the
phenomena produced by the girl into a number of main categories. The movement of
objects and apports of a range of items from various rooms in the flat
were common, and object-movements even took place outside in the afternoon sun.
The Countess noticed what many other researchers into
poltergeist activity had also observed - that it was very rare for objects that
were moved to be actually seen in flight - they just appeared in the
air without anyone seeing them leave their original place. Usually they fell out of the
noisily, sometimes apparently having travelled through closed doors, or out of
The Countess made some intriguing and relevant
observations on this:
interesting were the very rare cases when the last part of the hypothetical line
of flight of a moving object was to be observed. Once I entered my room and
looked at the window. Eleanore was standing behind me. Suddenly I saw a shadow
which glided down slowly in front of the window and not straight, but in a zigzag
line . . . Then I heard a low sound of something falling. I looked and saw a
little iron box filled with dominoes. The box was closed but some of the
dominoes lay next to it on the floor . . . Another time I was sitting with Mr. Klein at the round table, while Eleonore stood with a cat in her arms at the
book-stand. Mr. Klein unintentionally looked at the girl, and on this occasion
noticed a dark grey shadow come from behind her, pass along her right side and
fall under our table upon the cushions at our feet. It was a tin box which had
before stood on the washstand on the other side of the room. I had always the
impression that a returning object of the kind was only again submitted to the
normal laws of the physical world when it was perfectly itself again . . . The
foregoing shadow has nothing at all to do with the appearance of the object
itself. I think that the impression which this moving riddle makes, is described
best by the words: 'Hole in the World', which I used for it. (British Journal
of Psychical Research, vol. I, 1927, p. 148. Quoted in Gauld & Cornell -
see Sources below).
Occasionally raps on furniture
were also heard in Eleonore's presence, and, very rarely, independent voices.
Cherished possessions disappeared and were sometimes never seen again; or if
they were returned, were broken or damaged.
But the most significant and persistent development at this time was the occurrence of
what appeared to be physical
assaults on Eleonore's body, apparently by the malicious 'Dracu'.
Objects were violently hurled at
Eleonore, she was slapped, forced to the ground, tossed out of bed, had her hair
yanked out and her shoes filled with water. As if this wasn't enough, from late
March 1926, things got even worse. The girl's hands and fingers were constantly
pricked as if by needles, and sometimes real needles were found embedded in her
[NOTE: The photos of Eleonore
Zugun in her native village and of Countess Wassiliko are ? Peter Mulacz and
are used with his kind permission. They may not be reproduced without his
| Part 2
Copyright 2003 by Brian
Haughton. All Rights Reserved.