Formula AS - Societate
ANTOLOGIE "FORMULA AS"
For years the Hohenzollerns' castle at Sinaia
has been invaded by a bizarre violet aroma. Communist authorities took "sturdy"
actions against it, but could not contain it.
Romanian castles are well-known for their "quietude". They are not haunted, they
are not paths for phantoms, like most of the Scottish castles, English, Norman,
or Russian, for that matter. Hohenzollern kings, their families, almost all lead
quiet lives, more than that, they were never "bloody". Those kinds of excesses
would have loaded with negative energy the place, and would have produced
strange apparitions, no doubts. Nevertheless, Peles castle, the summer residence
of Carol I, the Wise, is a "clean" castle: no strong, sensational or
out-of-place stories during the old king's life, and no spirits of phantoms were
ever noticed. However, not too long ago, a Formula As team charged with finding
paranormal facts, heard about some mysterious apparitions in the little palace
named "Pelisor", situated in the same, let's say it, "valley of kings" at Sinaia.
These apparitions—extremely rare—are, as a matter of fact, almost
angelic-like, benign, one could say...
"The Saint Queen" sends us signs
from the past
The information we received in
Bucarest was pretty clear: "At Pelisor, from time to time, in certain rooms, one
could smell, without any explanation, the Queen Marie's perfume". Here we are,
on our way to finding a ghost-perfume!
as she has been described, seemed quite capable of offering this kind of
after-death surprises: temperamental, dynamic, eccentric,
preoccupied to stage her own funeral—she instructed that violet be worn at her
funeral; also, she wanted that her heart be separated from the body and buried
at Balcic (residence now in Bulgaria, translator's note). Plus, the last years
of her life were darkened by her conflicts with Carol II, her ill-tempered son.
These conflicts went on until she even got shot in the middle of a violent
argument between the king and prince Nicolae.
The queen has always been extremely and heartily attached to Pelisor, where a
couple of rooms she decorated, having herself a refined taste and artistic
education. One could imagine that the queen's spirit would be afflicted by the
Bolsheviks boots stepping in her beloved castle.
First surprize when we arrived at Sinaia: here nobody knew anything about these
so-called exotic apparitions of the queen. Mr. Popa, the Peles complex director,
declared firmly, maybe a little too firmly: "At Pelisor there are no such
The reality of the matter is that all the museum
personnel are extremely competent, but the majority are really young. And among
the veterans still in function, nobody is able to know, from personal
experience, absolutely everything that happened before 1960-1965 in all three
castles—Peles, Pelisor, Foisor. So, we continued our investigations on our
An old maid at Pelisor gave us a hint: there is still
living in Sinaia a very old guard, Gyuri, who was in service at the castle even
before 1938, when the queen-mother Maria died. After 1948 the communists kept
him there, because the old man was honest, skilled, and he knew how to go about
everything in the palace, and...he wasn't a drinker.
We found the old Gyuri in a nice house built with
stone: he's over 90 years old, still tall and upright, alert, blue eyes and no
glasses—he says not by reason of coquetry, he doesn't need them! He is
sociable and we befriended easily, he even served me a homemade brandy from
juniper leaves. Then
I popped the burning question.
-What do you know, Gyuri, it is true what they say, that at Pelisor we can feel
the presence of the queen Maria's spirit with a smell of her perfume?
He looked at me with a long eye, the he started, with a light archaic and
-Well, young man, there is, and there isn't.
-Well, all of these happened exactly the way you heard them happen, and, maybe
even today they happen, isn't that true? The communists wouldn't allow us to
speak about this kind of things. And now all is forgotten. And that is because
all began after 1948, when they came. Up until 1963, when I retired, I often
smelled, and others too, the out-of-this-world perfume of our saint queen. Ok?
So, you see, her soul would have stayed still ten years, or so, after her death,
but in 1948, when her nephew King Michael was forced to abdicate, maybe her soul
had rebelled. And with her perfume she wanted to remind us, from time to time,
of a wonderful world that existed and could not be buried with red shovels
(a.k.a. Bolsheviks, translator's note).
The first story of the queen's perfume happened right after King Michael was
forced to leave. I will never forget: it was King's birthday, May 10th, 1948,
and it so happened that I was on duty that afternoon.
The communists kept me, for I knew everything, I knew how to
go about in the palace, and they needed trusty guards, serious about their job,
as they began an inventory of the things. I continued to serve in the palace,
even though I has been the head of the valets, and my father was, in the past,
sergeant of the corps of "Vanatori de munte" (the section of the military
defending and fighting in the mountains, t.n.) and decorated with "Military
Virtue" in World War I. You're asking about our people? We all are from Cluj
area and everyone has a genuine honesty, coming from other times, of the Empire
(Austrian-Hungarian, t.n.) and our dear emperor.
- What really happened that day of May 10th, 1948?
Do you know Pelisor?
The question seemed legitimate, and I
think it is the place to describe in short the little palace for our readers, so
they could understand better the following facts. Built intentionally with
numerous rooms, small and private (about 70 rooms in all), the little Pelisor
gives rather an impression of a luxurious hotel, than of a castle. This was the
express desire of king Carol the 1st, who wanted to erect a Sinaia a swiss-styled
"chalet", a "cottage', and not so much of a true castle: "In the same city you
cannot have, and it should not be two royal castles", Carol the 1st used to say.
(Sinaia has also the big castle of Peles, summer residence of the royals of
Everything we are about to relate in this
article is linked to the most important aisle of Pelisor, the right one, where
the key-apartments, storied on three levels are: king's apartment on the first
level, queen's apartment on the second, and the overwhelming, stunning Gold
Saloon on the third. This Gold Saloon, as we are going to see later on, is at
the origin of all paranormal activity that we are about to describe.
- As I
was saying, I was at the third level, making my rounds, - old Gyuri continued.
It was a warm day, so I told myself that it would be pleasant to open the
windows a little bit in the Gold Saloon and let the air refresh the room... I
opened the door, and, right away I realized that something was not right: the
entire saloon was filled with a strong perfume of violets, coming from the
walls, the floor, from everywhere. I instantly recognized it: it was the same
perfume queen-mother Maria received as a present, in a golden, beaded with real
brilliants and safires bottle, from the same maharajah who gave king Carol the
2nd a wooded furniture for his saloon, in tekazi wood, now exposed at Peles. The
queen loved a lot this perfume, and she used it only on occasions, but I knew
it, because I told you, it was unique, it was different from other perfumes—it
was of violets of India, that was their name.
around—no sign of any flower,
any violet for that matter, as at Sinaia they appear much later, being colder
than in other places.
Then old Gyuri continued, saying
that the perfume's eruption became stronger—it
was like its source was the very center of the golden vaulted ceiling. The flow
was irresistible, and,
at the same time it had a bizarre behavior one could not explain: from the
Golden Saloon, all of the sudden, it spurt underneath, in queen's apartment on
the second floor, then the perfume traveled directly to king's apartment on
first floor. Very strange, to say the least, none of the neighboring rooms of
king Ferdinand's apartment seemed to have been "touched" by the perfume, nor the
halls. The smell propagated only vertically. Now the trouble
began: there was someone important (politically, t.n.) on the first floor, sent
from Bucarest to transfer possession of the castle. When he smelled the strong
perfume, and, most of all, when he realized the strangeness of its apparition—a
perfume stuck in three rooms, one on top of each other, and which wouldn't pass
on the room next door, with the door open, he almost lost his mind. He got so
scared, that he started to yell, calling his armed militia; but how can someone
shot a perfume, even with Kalashnikov guns? We searched the whole palace,
- Then they called on me and two other guards, and they instructed us
not to tell anyone about what happened, or we would see the prison of Gherla (a
dreaded and famous prison, t.n.). They even didn't report anything in Bucarest,
for they would have been fired, on grounds of mysticism!
The second apparition
Old Gyuri didn't witness the second
apparition, but, even if they tried to cover it in zero degree of silence, it
transpired eventually, and word got out about these mysterious happenings.
- A big shot from Bucarest have come at Sinaia one day - continued the old
guard. It was Chivu Stoica, I guess, or even Dej (the president in office at the
time, t.n.), I could never tell, that was always a big state secret. It was the
year of 1950 or so, and they wanted to know about the fate of the treasures and
inventories of the palaces taken from the "rotten monarchy". They used to care a
lot about others estates!
As I was saying, explained to me the old guard,
it was a special day; the feast day of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, year
of 1950, the patronymic day of king Michael. It seemed as if the exotic
apparitions at Pelisor have a certain rule: they would make their presence felt
at precise dates, usually important dates for the Romanian royals. The perfume
erupted, as it was its "usual", with equal power as before, and unexpectedly.
The boss from Bucarest was in the work room of king Ferdinand's apartment, first
level (in the splendid office with the secession style desk, fir-wooded
polished walls of soothing green color).
The first person noticing the perfume was, with her specific
feminine sensibility, the lady who was accompanying the mysterious communist
- What is with this violet perfume, dear, because it's not mine!?—the
red aristocrat would reproach firmly.
- Well? It's not mine either, the comrade tried to exculpate himself.
Then they realized that the perfume appeared unnaturally.
When they checked the Big Saloon and the king's bedroom and it was no special
smell in neither one of them, with the doors open, the two comrades froze! In
vain would they alert militia and all the guards. One could not fight the air.
A sequence of apparitions and
Whoever the leader involved
in the related events - either Chivu Stoica, or Gheorghiu-Dej - he ordered that
guard be tripled in militia and security, and they made their rounds on the
Pelisor halls, and rummaged systematically all the rooms for a year.
was perfume's "golden age"! It was as the perfume wanted to play with its
followers, like Poltergeist. And as elves-poltergeist would "work" with chaotic
and mysterious sounds and stones, queen's perfume seemed to play the whole year
of 1954 hide-and-seek with the guards: it was appearing, one could scent its
presence in the second floor room, at the same time in the third floor, then
suddenly it was disappearing, unnaturally, or appearing all of the sudden in a
room above, in the attic, in an opposite corner, etc. Militia and guards were
loosing their minds. A sergeant even turned gray in one night.
It was about the same night when a big, beautiful
half-breed Siberian cat, owned by a guard, sensed too, without a doubt, the
strange apparition: poor animal all ruffled, bloodshot eyes! You know, usually,
animals don't lie and are not wrong! After that the cat changed its behavior
drastically: from nice and friendly , it became a labile and wild cat, whom no
one could touch anymore... It seemed that after that memorable year, the
perfume's apparitions almost ceased. Remarkable was—as
we were saying—the
silence and oblivion induced about these events by the authorities.
A perfume that could foretell
Then I asked my interlocutor if he knew of any
special significance, or sign of prediction that those ghostlike apparitions of
queen Marie's perfume could have had.
After a long reflection he remembered. The last two
apparitions, almost unnoticeable though, took place, one, very short before
Petru Groza's death—the
Romanian monarchy's "killer", and the second one, even more discreet, in a room
on the attic, one week before Gheorghiu-Dej's death (the country's leader at the
time). In that time period, Pelisor was already "The Writers' House of
Creation", but, except for a former old Gyuri's co-worker, who felt the
apparitions before that too, nobody sensed anything.