The beautiful town of Montreux on Lake Leman (also known as Lake Geneva) in Switzerland had been beckoning me for years. I’d driven past and taken the train on my way to ski and to spend summers in the mountains with friends, tormented by its splendour. Then, a few years back, one summer, I finally got to visit and, it didn’t disappoint. The lake is truly captivating with miles of lakeside promenade to explore and enjoy and, I couldn’t fail to be impressed by its piece de la resistance – nestled on its eastern shore is the Chateau de Chillon. It is simply stunning with romantic turrets perched on a huge rock which is lapped by the lake water.
It was late last year however, just months after my mum past away and soon after I received news of my first book contract with CarinaUK when I had an extremely vivid dream. In it I saw a woman in a medieval dress with a rope tied to her waist and being dunked in water and hauled out and back again. The rope being hauled by a wooden-framed contraption and a guard standing at the doorway to a lake or some body of water, operating it. This poor woman was desperately gasping for her breath and her life. Of course it woke me and I wrote it down and the spirit of Agnes-Francesia was created.
At this stage I had no idea where this had taken place. I hadn’t visited the Chateau on my first visit. However, once I began researching, I discovered that the Chateau de Chillon did have a rather haunting history from around the 12th century. I had to get back there and I returned this year. I found this area of Switzerland had a particularly high number of sorcerers and witches hunted and imprisoned then tried and burned. This woman was just one and wanted her story told. The sad part is, from research I gathered, many of the men and women accused of witchcraft were not even guilty. They were tortured by being dunked until they gave names of others who they believed to be witches. Of course, if they didn’t know any they gave a name to save themselves. Any name. Thus, once accused, authorities, guards and normal folk were so superstitious about being cursed by one of them, there was rarely any redress or way of proving innocence.
And so, I’d like to thank this lady for haunting my mind that night and hope it gives her some peace and satisfaction that her story has been shared. I also hope you, readers of The Chateau, enjoy it!
To purchase The Chateau: