EVEN though visitors to the 16th International Ghosts and Spooks Festival at Bojnice Castle thought that this year was among the spookiest, many want even more haunting and frightening experiences. This was the most frequent comment made in visitors’ evaluations of the festival, held between May 1 and 10, said Petra Gordíková, manager of the Bojnice Castle museum. More than 21,000 people visited the castle - from Lithuania, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Germany as well as Slovakia. They did not seem to mind queuing and waiting for several hours to witness the unrevealed story of Matúš Čák Trenčiansky (Máté Csák of Trenčín) titled ‘The Rabies’ which was performed every 8-10 minutes in the castle’s interiorroomsandoutdooryards.
At the end of the 13th century, Matúš Čák was master of 14 counties, 500 villages and 50 castles, including the castle in Bojnice. He had an army of as many as 6,000 soldiers and rebelled not only against his king but also against the church. As there are few records about Čák’s private life, it is presumed that he had chronicle entries destroyed so that his frauds couldnotbeuncovered.
This presumption was used by Monika Gerbocová, an experienced script-writer and director of the festival. But to present visitors with the ‘truth’ about Matúš Čák she had to seek help from the realm of the occultandconjureup the ghosts. So the castle was full of howling and screaming mad dogs, trolls and other paranormal beings. Almost one hundred amateur actors and a dozen of extras performedin the skits.