Many places in Prague are connected with various legends and mysteries. However, there is hardly a house more mysterious and storied than the Faust House at the Charles Square. A legend says, that the famous Doctor Faustus lived there and that the Devil took him to hell through a hole in the ceiling. Another legend tells about a poor student living in the house, learning Black Magic and then disappearing without traces. What we know for sure, is that several alchemists used to live in the Faust House. Due to their secret experiments they were believed to be connected with the Devil and the house was believed to be cursed.
The dark history of Na Morani area
The Faust House stands in the area, where people used to bring sacrifices to the dark goddess Morana in the pagan times. The place is still called “Na Morani”. There used to be a homestead long before the Prague New Town was founded.
The first alchemist, living in the homestead in the 15 th century, was Vaclav the Duke of Opava, who had an alchemist laboratory there. The place was rebuilt as a typical Renaissance house in the 16 th century.
Eduard Kelley, the famous alchemist and charlatan, bought the house at the time and conducted various experiments there. He was the court alchemist of Rudolph II., and he allegedly knew how to transform ordinary metal into gold, using a “philosophical stone”. The Emperor Rudolph II. was very keen to know this secret. Kelley was imprisoned at Krivoklat Castle for killing a man in a fight and the emperor sent his delegates to find out the secret. When the negotiations failed, Eduard Kelley was tortured cruelly, but he didn´t betray anything.
Eccentric dwellers of the Faust House
Another alchemist living in the Faust House was Mladota of Solopysk in the second half of the 18 th century. He was reportedly a strange person, trying experiments in physics and chemistry, and he had various unique instruments at home to entertain his guests. His mechanical automates and moving figurines were very extraordinary at the time and made people believe, that he is a magician.
Finally, the eccentric parson Karl Jaenig lived in the Faust House at the turn of the 20 th century. He was obsessed with everything related to death. He had a collection of funeral objects, a skull and remains of a gibbet at home. There were rumours, that he used to sleep in a coffin.
The romanticists of the 19 th century connected the house with the legend of Doctor Faustus. The Devil allegedly brought Faust to hell through a hole in a ceiling, which was then impossible to wall up. Another version says, that the Devil took him from the second floor of the corner tower and there are inexplicable smears on the wall since then.
The legend about the poor student says, that he found a shelter in the deserted Faust House, when he had nowhere to live. The story of Doctor Faustus was well known at the time, so everybody was afraid to even spend a night there. The student found some books about Black Magic there and some other strange things. Every day, he found a coin on a table, so he could buy some food. One day he got the idea to gain more money using the magic he learnt. Nobody saw him ever since.
Strange incidents in the Faust House
Even in the 20 th century, some strange things happen in connection to the Faust House. For example, there were skeletons of seven cats found walled up in the bottom of the building. The Faust House flamed up and burned several times, but no reason of the fire was found.
There are paintings from the 16 th century on the walls and ceilings of the Faust House, depicting alchemist symbols. Next to the house, there is a Baroque gateway to the garden by K. I. Dienzenhofer with a sculpture of St. John of Nepomuk.
Nowadays, the building belongs to the Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University in Prague.