It was a favourite walking place for Goethe and he used the setting for one of Faust's memorable scenes where he is taken by the devil up the Brocken (the highest peak in the Harz mountain range) where he "watches a wild night of revelry with witches and other evil creatures".
When Goethe climbed the Brocken, it was before the hordes of tourists and he reportedly found it a lonely experience. "So lonely, I say to myself, while looking down at this peak, will it feel to the person, who only wants to open his soul to the oldest, first, deepest feelings of truth."
The dense forest and mountains are often shrouded in mist and clouds which lends a mysterious atmosphere that contributes to the reputation as a legendary home to witches and devils.
The witches are said to have arrived on broomsticks where they dance around a huge bonfire and worship their lord the devil who then bestows them with new magic power.
Closer to the truth may be that these witches were just poor pagans who were forced by Charlemagne to convert to Christianity. They kept their pagan religion secret and went to the uninhabited mountains shrouded in hoods and masks to protect themselves as they worshipped their gods.
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