The Pied Piper of Hamelin: Invention or truth?

The legend of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin” is known worldwide, having been translated into more than 30 languages. It is estimated that more than a billion people know it. Even in faraway countries it is often part of the school curriculum; it is particularly popular in Japan and the USA. Old documents and finds provide circumstantial evidence that 130 children actually disappeared from Hamelin on 26 June 1284. So is the legend fiction or truth?

Gernot Hüsam is a retired teacher and local historian. He believes he has solved the mystery of the disappearance of the 130 children from Hamelin. The area around the Koppenberg is wild and eerie. It is a magical place that was already used as a place of worship in pre-Christian times. Hüsam believes that young people from Hamelin met here regularly to celebrate boisterous, pagan festivities where the devil was involved. They were led by a colourfully dressed piper.

The wild goings-on went too far for the strictly religious Counts of Spiegelberg. The three brothers resided at Coppenbrügge Castle near the Koppenberg. Hüsam’s assumption: the counts and their mercenaries ambushed the youths and had them murdered. They hid the corpses in a cave, the entrance to which they filled in to cover their tracks. Hüsam believes he has found a hidden message on an illustration that confirms his theory. Read more about this eerie story here (in German)

The fact is, numerous composers, authors, painters and film-makers have dealt with this eerie tale. Victor Ernst Nessler’s opera “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” was successfully premiered in Leipzig on 19 March 1879. It is now almost forgotten.

Contemporary composers have also dealt with the subject. Hellmut Haase-Altendorf, Rainer Bartesch and Stefan Adam have written works under this or similar titles. The latest edition is now by the Austrian Otto M. Schwarz, published by Mitropa. The work can be performed in two different versions: purely instrumental (without narrator) – in which case the general pauses are to be kept short, or, with narrator – he speaks during the pauses but not during the music.

So is “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” a criminal case or pure invention. Maybe you can solve the mystery of the 130 missing children from Hamelin.

(Source: Wikipedia / planet-wissen)

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