Wayside crosses near Waldrach

Anyone who crosses the meadows from Waldrach to Thomm and passes by the menhir will also passes by the "Zalzich", a former territorial demarcation in which two crosses stand next to one another since time immemorial.


According to legend, a dreadful accident took place here in ancient times. Centuries ago, when the winegrowing people of the region had to rely on precious natural fertilisers, water was the only resource left to ensure the necessary growth of the meadows. And this was at a premium even then. From April to June, the farmers would channel it to their meadows through small ditches. And in places devoid of even a trickle of water, an up to 20-cm-wide "Wässert" was created using a hayfield cutter. The lawn would be cut and lifted out with a hoe, creating an irrigation system, which was often several hundred metres long. Using the natural slope, this provided water to, and increased the fertility of the dry hillsides, on which only sparse scatterings of hay would otherwise have grown. The water procured in this way was very sought-after, so a very close eye was kept on it to make sure the waterway was not tapped into and channelled to neighbouring meadows.

A Waldrach farmer had set up his "Wässert" at twilight, and the water was soaking into his meadow. At this point, he noticed his neighbour in the distance, coming towards him with a hayfield cutter over his shoulder. The farmer wanted to stop his neighbour from draining his "Wässert", but didn’t know how to go about it. He hid behind a nearby hedge, took his white linen shirt out of his pants, pulled it over his head and sprang on his neighbour, crying "I’m a ghost!" However, his hope that the frightened man would run away did not eventuate. On the contrary: the ambushed neighbour was plucky. He wielded his hayfield cutter, shouting "If you’re a ghost, then go back to where you belong – hell!" and cracked his skull open. The would-be ghost collapsed, and the shocked neighbour realised the terrible thing he had done. He took to his heels that night and never returned to his native Waldrach. Since then, the ghost of the dead man haunts the hedges around the "Auf Zalzich" crosses at night.

The year 1663, inscribed on one of the crosses, may, however, also have another meaning. According to a document relating to the meeting of the Bailiwick Court Waldrach, dated 22 June 1630, the highest ranked bailiff was missing, because he had been "imprisoned for practising witchcraft". It is not known what became of him. It is likely he was burned for being an alleged "sorcerer". The well-known Witches Cross was erected in Kasel in 1663 as atonement for those innocently burned.  A wooden cross at the place of "Auf Zalzich" has been officially documented in Waldrach for the same year.

Öffnungszeiten: freely accessible

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