- Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
- N 51° 21.016′ E 005° 13.678′
Ghosts, and goblins, and ghouls, oh my!
There’s nothing like a spine-tingling ghost story around Halloween. If you’re in the mood to be spooked, check out our bewitching Geocache of the Week, Zwarte Kaat en de Hellenendse Bende.
This meandering Multi-Cache is based on the bone-chilling Dutch tale of Zwarte Kaat, the conniving leader of a notorious band of marauders. According to legend, Zwarte Kaat, so named for her raven black hair, kidnaps the child of a well to do family living near the medieval state of Brabant. She flees with the child and brings him up as her own son.
Eventually, her dastardly deeds catch up with her; the child is returned to his family and Zwarte Kaat executed. Because she can’t be buried under the traditional marker of the cross as an outlaw, a shrub is planted above her resting place. Over the years, it grows into a gnarled tree, the Heksenboom, which looms ominously over the burial plot of the witch below.
This geocache takes cachers to the various important locales of the legend, including the setting where the child was stolen, the church where he was baptized, and the final resting place of the infamous witch herself.
Cache owner Galileo Galilei started geocaching 15 years ago, and created this cache as an homage to his wife’s birthplace, the village of Bladel.
“My favorite thing about geocaching is that you discover a lot of new and beautiful places, even just around the corner, places which you would not have detected without geocaching. In the first years I did a lot of multis. My children were still young and it was a good way to encourage them to join us walking in the woods.”
Although the story dates back to the 16th century, core samples date the Heksenboom tree itself to just 1890. It’s gained prominence in recent history as well, and has been named as the 2019 Dutch Tree of the Year!
Regardless of the truth behind the tale, this cache is worth the walk. Clocking in at just over seven kilometers (a little over four miles), it’s easily completed in an afternoon. Once you earn your smiley, sit a spell at the large picnic table beside ground zero for a quick bite, or head to the nearby inn which dates back to the time of Zwarte Kaat herself.
Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.