Nov 1, 2008

Blood turns (healing) water

Two things led me to a small forest about 2 km north of
Karl Denke's house.

First of all I was searching for the "Municipal Forest" mentioned by the forensic expert Friedrich Pietrusky in his report as the place of disposal of Denke's victims' bones. However there is no trace of such forest in the vicinity of the killer's house (this was also true in the 1920's as proves this old map). The closest one is located 2 km north. Probably too far for a killer to carry skeletal pieces, but still it intrigued me.

There was yet another reason to head towards this little forest. Friedrich Pietrusky mentioned in his report that the river Ohle (Oława) was about 150 m from Denke's house and suggested the killer might have poured the blood of his victims into its waters.

Denke's house is hidden just behind the trees at the left of the next picture.

And here's the same river photographed from the same spot but in opposite direction (towards the north):

One can notice in the background the municipal forest, mentioned in the beginning of this post.

By pure curiosity I followed the path of the river and entered the forest. Once there I made several pictures (e.g. the black & white above). Within minutes other people began to come to the forest. They carried empty jerry cans.

I followed one of them and discovered a water spring.

It is called Cyril's Spring and its water is believed to have special healing properties (although scientists didn't find anything to confirm that belief). Some come from as far as Wrocław (60 km) to stock up on that water.

It is unclear how the legend of the healing properties of Cyril's Spring started. The fountain was built in 1896 and soon became a sunday walk destination for the locals, as depicts this postcard:

Nevertheless the popularity of the spring before WWII was rather due to a nearby beer stall:

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