Unsolved Mysteries of the World
The Bald Mountain Lysa Hora, Ukraine
Welcome to Unsolved Mysteries of the World, Season 6 Episode 1, The Bald Mountain
The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity.
Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and finally merged fully into the Russian-dominated Soviet Union in the late 1940s as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War.
Today, Ukraine is a developing country trying to emerge out of years of corruption and war, but history always seems to stranglehold the land. Today, the Crimean Crisis is still bringing the past horrors into a new era.
But this is nothing new to Ukraine. The past always seems to come forward, especially around old castles, cursed lands, dark forests and strange mountains.
The Bald Mountain, is a very mystical place known not only in Kiev but across Ukraine. Currently recognized as a park, in ancient times it was a place where pagans and magicians performed their rituals. Many locals still prefer to bypass this terrain for a couple of reasons.
First of all, in different historical periods, it featured a fortification system, a garrison prison and a military headquarters and the site of many battles.
Secondly, it was the place of execution of state criminals with one of the mountain glades still showing signs where the gallows had been.
Thirdly, people say that area negatively affects the human psyche and people often feel ill and many suicides have taken place within the park.
All of this has caused many to believe that the park is haunted by the past – from knights, soldiers, to the criminally insane to the more modern suicide victims. There have been several witnesses to seeing apparitions within the forest late at night and hearing the cries of those wrongfully convicted.
There are three main parts in the park – The first one is called Rusalka ravine, since it is located by the lake where mermaids are said to have lived. The second one is the ravine of the Witches, where ancient sabbaths took place. The third and the biggest part of the mountain is called the Dead Men grove, where many ancient burial grounds were discovered.
Prior to the introduction of Christianity the pagan religion was popular in this area, and the Bald Mountain was the place of worship for the followers. Pagan priests carved out dungeons in the mountain, where they stored books, sacred artifacts, and treasures. After paganism was officially banned, the priests moved into those dungeons, in hopes to create a new gospel, which would combine the old Slavic and Christian beliefs to accommodate the populace who were believers in both religions. Their gospel was passed down by word of mouth, and is reflected in many Slavic myths and fairy tales. Even now, stone plates with inscriptions are still being discovered around the place.
Over the centuries, the writers left the dungeons and sealed the underground passages. After them, the Christian monks started visiting the mount to perform penance and prayer, and to build their own underground monastery.
During the time of Peter I, it was decided that a defensive fort was best build on top of the mountain to protect the city. A fortress was construction with underground reservoirs to store water from the river as well as many secret underground passages and dungeons. In case of defeat, the fortress could be flooded with the help of the reservoirs trapping those inside.
Besides that, the reservoirs were also the place to drown the disobeying peasants – about 3000 human remains were found there.
In the first half of the 19th century, the area was populated by monks, who peacefully cultivated fruit, vegetables, and engaged in bee-keeping. In 1897 the fortress on top of the mount became a warehouse, where gun-cotton, a highly flammable explosive, was stored.
In 1918, the gun cotton storage area exploded leaving the warehouses and area destroyed. The government at this time decided to seal up any underground entrances to prevent injury.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the fortress served as a prison, and the area around it as the execution grounds. More than 200 criminals were executed by hanging on the large mount.
During WW2 the mount was by German forces and a staging area for an armoured division of Tiger Tanks. Tank Crew, including commanders noted in their reports several phenomena that they described as paranormal. Special Nazi investigators even went to the forest to document the cases.
Today, the area around Bald Mountain still attracts paranormal enthusiasts with anunderground world still unexplored and artifacts to be discovered. During excavations archaeologists found a pit with burned books, decapitated chicken skeletons, plaques with inscriptions and human remains. They also noted a strange feeling about the place that they attribute to the magical past of the lands.
You can visit the park both in the day and at night. You will note several cave entrances, tunnels and underground structures. There are also several pagan symbols still visible throughout the area and if you do visit in May you may come face to face with a ritual as Pagan's, satanists and self-proclaimed warlocks converge on the location to celebrate a holiday in which sacrifices are made to an ancient god.
Ironically, shortly after this celebration is when police are notified of suicide victims hanging from the trees.
Locals will warn you, however, that perhaps it is best to avoid this area altogether, no matter the month, or hour.
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