The Stony House

Main piece:

M.P.: Outside the center of Monghidoro, there is a beautiful big stony house which is constantly in renovation, even if never inhabited. And I’ve never understood why such a beautiful house, which is also in a good position, has always been abandoned. So one day I asked my grandfather, who used to live in a neighboring town, which is something like…I don’t know, something like 3 kilometers away from the village in which the house is found. I asked him if he knew why. He told me that basically that house was a military command occupied by the Nazis during the War and which served as a sort of prison, for people to be “interrogated” [does gestures of quote citation with her hands] by German Soldiers. Obviously, this interrogations were not spoken questionings, but soldiers used to do everything they could to extort confessions from prisoners. And my grand-father told me that he remembers hearing screams from his house, which was located some kilometers away. And everyone knew. So basically this house after the war was never inhabited again, because even if it was restructured etcetera etcetera [does gestures with her hands], no-one has ever wanted to live there. It is said that screams can still be heard inside of it. Besides, people do not want to talk about this. If you ask questions, no one knows anything about it, no one remembers it. Still, even if they claim of not knowing anything, they do not want to go inside of it, so obviously they know. 


My informant is a 23 years old girl who was born in Bologna, Italy, and whose paternal grandfather was born in a village on the Tosco-Emilian Apennines-where the mentioned town of Monghidoro is located-, which was, during World War 2, one of the major Italian war fronts. As a matter of fact, many towns and villages ‘hosted’, or better, were occupied both by German and American troops, and many are the legends, memories, beliefs and events related to war times people of the place remember. 


My grandmother as well was born in those areas, so I got to know some  war-times’ stories myself as well. However, I had never knew about this particular legend, which my informant told me over a lunch.


This legend surly holds a significant value, both historically and folkloristic-ally speaking. It is in my opinion the perfect example of something taken from history and later transomed, for a reason or another, into a folk-piece. The aesthetic of belief plays, here as well, a significant role, it being the engine which makes the legend propagate through time: when people -even people coming from other cities- hear this story and its legendary value from residents of the place or from the surrounding area, they are immediately indirectly warned against buying that house, and this is the reason why it has never been inhabited since the disastrous events of World War 2. Many are, in fact, the people who search vacation houses in that area, and this would be a perfect, beautiful and convenient choice. Yet, still there is, with to tenets or occupants. 

In second place, another interesting point is the emphasis my informant puts on the fact that no one wants to talk about it: there is a sort of code of slice related to it, which, somehow, recalls the concept of homeopathic magic, in the sense that, if you do not talk about this and you completely dissociate yourself from it, you cannot be touched or affected from the bad energies the place emits. Plus, it is also a form of protection against the bed memories the people of the place have related to the war and specifically the Nazi occupation of the territory.