Year: 1974. When I was stationed in Germany at Merrill Barracks in Nurnberg, Germany, I had a Sergeant Major that thought the world of me. To this day, I could never understand why he liked me so much. At one time, he had me as his personal driver. He didn’t like the way I drove his jeep and fired me as the Sergeant Major Driver. There was a time, that the Sergeant Major took me and a few other soldiers to the Swiss Alps and I had a soldier take a picture of me with the Sergeant Major. Come to find out, the Sergeant Major had that photo displayed on his desk. Perhaps, he thought of me like a long-lost son. One of the best things the Sergeant Major did for me was asked if I wanted to ride along with him to Bologna, Italy. The Sergeant Major’s wife ran a restaurant in Bologna.
Here was my chance to go to Italy for free. Of course, I accepted. When we got to Bologna and met the Sergeant Major’s wife, she prepared a big bowl of spaghetti, all the bread I wanted to eat and a glass of wine. Come to find out, the patrons of her restaurant only spent the equivalent of 29 cents for a bowl of spaghetti. I am not sure how much Lira that would be, but I do know that bowl of spaghetti was cheap and delicious. After this dinner, I was on my own. I found a night club called “The Dome” and being a single guy, this was the place to party at. It was customary for the first few songs, that the women would go on the dance floor and dance with each other. The men would stand around the dance floor and if a girl smiled at you, you could go down on the dance floor and dance with her. By the 2nd song, an Italian girl smiled at me, and we danced the night away. Of course, I couldn’t speak a word of Italian. I had two Air Force guys help me to translate and before I knew it, I had 3 new friends, the 2 Air Force guys and the Italian girl. During our conversation, I mentioned since I was in Northern Italy, I wanted to see Torrechiara Castle. The Italian girl said she would only be too happy to take the 3 of us tomorrow and that it was a 1.0 hour and 30 minutes away from the city of Bologna. In 1974, I wasn’t a paranormal investigator yet, but I sure was interested in the paranormal and I heard that this castle was very haunted.
The next day, the 4 of us headed out. Made some nice stops along the way, including having a nice Italian lunch. When we arrived at Torrechiara Castle, I marveled at the castle’s beauty and architect. The castle looked majestic on the hilltop and somewhat foreboding. Our tour guide gave us a nice run down of the history of this castle. He told us about the romance between the noble/Count Pier Maria Rossi and the gorgeous Bianca Pellegrini. Special Note: At one time, I worked under a manager named Debbie Pellegrini at the California Department of Health Services and our tour guide told us that all Pellegrini(s) are related under one house. The tour guide also explained that the Count is seen walking on the Rio delle Favole, which is a road leading to the entrance of the castle. The tour guide says that a tourist was walking on this road and heard the disembodied voice of a woman saying: “nunc et semper”, which means “now and forever.”
The love of the Count and Bianca was so strong, that in the Golden Room of this castle, which was built in 1448 thru 1462, frescoed on the ribbon binding the interweaved hearts bearing Bianca and Pier Maria initials. Bianca is also seen wandering around the castle hallways and she is known to tap on tourist’s shoulders. A woman tourist once saw Bianca standing behind her as she gazed into a mirror.
Pier Maria Rossi is known as The Magnificent, he was a condottiere which is equivalent to a Captain. He was also a Count of nearby San Secondo. The Count oversaw and fought alongside the Sforza during their local battles for power when the Parma area was under the authority of the Duchy of Milan. The tour guide said at times you will hear the sounds of battle. The tour guide believes that these were ghostly soldiers that continue to fight over territory and power. The Torrechiara Castle was built for one person and that person is Biana, according to the Count. Castle Torrechiara’s named derives from the word “torchio” which means the machine that presses grapes and olives. The land where the castle stands is known for winemaking and the production of olive oil from there many olive trees.
There are two other ghostly sightings at this castle. Hunters near the Parma area have seen the animal spirits of 3 wolves and a Marsican Brown Bear. Two hunters walking in the Parma area heard rustling in the nearby bushes. To their surprise they saw the large bear side-by-side with 3 wolves. The bear and 3 wolves acted like they were going to attack. The hunters steadied their rifles only to see the bear and 3 wolves vanish before their eyes. The tour guide said on one particular night he was walking down the hallway and saw 3 children running down the hallway laughing and skipping. As he approached the kids to see why they were in the castle after closing hours, the 3 kids walked through a door and vanished. The kids were wearing renaissance type of clothing. The tour guide believes that these may be the Count’s ghostly children. I asked the tour guide if he thought the castle was haunted by anything evil. The tour guide said that he felt the spirits of this castle were very happy and that the Count and Bianca’s love is immortal and continues into the afterlife.
Paul Dale Roberts, HPI’s Esoteric Detective
Halo Paranormal Investigations