Gammelfleisch, commonly known as “The Swamp” or Der Sumpf, is a forested wetland located along the Regnitz River found in Bavaria, Germany. The name is derived from the German word Gammelfleisch, which means “rotten flesh”. It was named for the smell that permeates the air, which was noted by former locals to smell similar to rotting corpses. While the land around Gammelfleisch is typical of a swamp climate, it has gained notoriety in popular culture for the strange and almost haunting occurrences that plague the area.
Before 1973, Gammelfleisch was just a large swamp with no real significance aside from being directly along the Regnitz River. No one paid much attention to the swamp as most of the inland paths lead away from the swampy area. The residents of the nearby town usually left the swampy area alone as there were no significance in taking interest in the swamp. It wasn’t until 1973 that a group of 5 teenage boys decided to stray from the path and traversed into the swamp. They headed into the middle of the swamp and played in the water for hours. As night grew closer, the boys became exhausted and as they were heading back towards the path they came from, one of the boys fell into the water. The other boys tried to search for him but all they were able to hear were the sounds of bubbles creeping away from them and the rustling of the trees behind them.
Lukas Muller, one of the boys who were able to get of the swamps, told authorities in the local town of what had happened. The authorities quickly rushed inside the swamp with a medium sized group of people in an attempt to save the boy. As the night grew into the dark hours, more and more members of the search party disappeared. It wasn’t until the sun starting rising that the search party finally gave up. However, because of that night things around that common swamp started to change.
Former locals of the land around Gammelfleisch have been noted to hearing loud wailings coming from the centre of the swamp land. The wailings are especially notorious for increasing in volume as the night continues on into the later hours. Along with that, many would agree that the sight of the luscious green forestation have started to become brown and dead. The water around the area itself has also started to have a grim dark sheen to it. The swamp started to have an ominous feel to it which caused a lot of concern to the locals. All these changes within the swamp happened almost immediately after the night of the search party. It only took but a week for the swamp to completely change into something strange and eerie. Most of the locals could not stand the constant haunting of the rotten smell and the random wails at night, causing them to relocate to a different area further away from the swamp.
Gammelfleisch then received its name after those events. To this day, there are no inhabitants of the land or any areas near that land due to the smell and constant wailing. Many scientists and thrill-seekers travel to Gammelfleisch with the intent to figuring out what caused the drastic change but many could not endure the foul odors of the land.
Former locals believe that Gammelfleisch is now haunted by the spirits of those who were lost which could explain the smell of rotten flesh and the constant wailing. Those spirits may be trapped in that swamp. Many believe that the teenage boys angered the water spirits, who were used to the seclusion, as being the main reason that the swamp land changed so much. According to local folk tales, the water spirits might be keeping the bodies and souls of those lost within the swamp as a form of punishment for bothering them.
It has not yet been reported as to whether anyone has made it to the middle of the swamp, and if they have then it might be very likely that they were not able to make it back.