Category: Ghosts

THE TALISMAN OF POPE BORGIA

  I have always had a weak spot for Pope Alexandre VI Borgia. History has smeared his name with horrid deeds; but I suspect that such a campaign was led in part by protestant propaganda. I had shared this theory with my youngest daughter Olga who was given zero for writing it in her homework….

THE MUSIC-LOVING GHOST

On a Paris-Krakow flight, I ran into one of my favourite cousins, Crista. I asked her where she is going. Her husband, she told me, is a graduate of ESCI, the Business school in Fontainebleau. The students in his class had decided to go on a trip to Poland with their wives, the highlight of…

THE JOKESTER GHOST OF TAOS

  About twenty years ago, we visited the very beautiful city of Taos in New Mexico. We stayed at Luan House, which had been turned into a hotel. It was a magnificent villa built in the regional style popular during the 1920s and 1930s by an American art patron millionaire, Mabel Dodge. Everyone of any…

THE MAGICIAN’S CHAMBERMAID

  Over twenty years ago, Marshal Alan Brooke’s descendants invited me to their castle in Northern Ireland. Theirs was a courageous and enterprising household; they had decided to restore the family domain and open it to the public. They were endearing, welcoming, intelligent and warm. The surprising thing is that I cannot remember the name…

The Marchioness of Serristori didn’t want to leave her Palace

Benedetta is a grand lady and a dear friend of mine who lives in Florence. Her grandmother, the Marchioness of Serristori, was one of the most important figures in Florentine society. The Marchioness owned a splendid palace which was filled with works of art. She loved her home and devoted all her time and energy…

The Fontanelle cemetery and the skulls that grant wishes

Ciro Palladino is a taxi-driver in Naples. He also happens to be an extraordinarily erudite man. He is familiar with every historic monument in the city, every legend, every story, and every noble family. He is the most unusual guide I have ever met, and it was he who introduced me to the skulls of…

The Ruby Ring

One evening in May 1945, a launch from the Italian fleet set off from the shore through the waves and sped towards a cruiser named the Duke of the Abruzzi which was anchored out to sea. On board, a tall lady was sitting next to her tiny husband on a bench at the rear. She…

On Dracula’s Footsteps IV

Tuesday, 21 June The ancient city of Brasov is now besieged by hideous factories and modern quarters. We stared down upon it with horror from a high vantage point, a sharp contrast to the overflowing beauty and charm of the old city. The neighborhood around the famous Black Church is extraordinary. Vaguely Austrian despite having…

On Dracula’s Footsteps

Sunday, June 19 I left for Romania with Tigran and Darius. My friend Fivos accompanied us. A Greek, he speaks Romanian. I had never been to this country before, and I decided to discover it with my eldest grandsons. We flew Aegean Airlines; the flight was comfortable. The airport in Bucharest is clean enough, very…

The Green Boy in the Cave

King Murat had a brother who was made count, Count Murat. His descendants still live in Lot, the ancestral home of the lineage. In the 19th century, one of the most impressive, rich, and vast caves in all of Europe was discovered on their land, the cave of Pech Merle. A distance niece of King…