Plunge into a mysterious realm as we set out today in search of the secrets of the Devil’s Mill (German: Teufelsmühle), the 908 meter high local mountain of the village of Loffenau in the northern Black Forest, Germany.
To the regular hiker, this peak may seem unremarkable, blending in with numerous others in the area that all offer ample opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature. Here, for example, the view from the summit, which on a clear day reaches as far as the French Vosges Mountains, is magnificent, and nice paths invite you to take extended walks.
However, on closer inspection, there seems to be more that in turn captivates people like me who are drawn to the subtle remnants of ancient civilizations whose existence has long been obscured by the mists of history.
Accompany me and exercise your own discernment.
As you make your way up a narrow path towards the summit, an exhilarating challenge awaits. A skillful maneuver around a protruding rocky outcrop on the steep slope becomes necessary to ultimately reach the breathtaking Devil’s Chambers. For a brief moment, this ledge offers exceedingly limited space, leaving you in close proximity to the precipice until you successfully navigate the turn. A sign cautioning hikers to enter the chambers at their own risk is not without reason. As I later discovered, the access from the path above proves to be both easier and less hazardous.
The Devil’s Chambers were formed as nature sculpted away layers of softer rock beneath a robust sheet of vibrant red sandstone. Presently, this upper layer serves as the ceiling of the cavern, gracefully upheld by two splendid columns.
As I stand beneath these arches, absorbing the gloomy atmosphere, it is no surprise that this structure was once associated with the devil. However, there are no visible signs of early human settlement or religious activity in this area and although these shapes may appear artificial, I have no doubt that they are of natural origin. I have a slightly different perspective on this matter at the summit, though. But more on this later in the post.
It is said that the chambers once served as a shelter for smugglers and poachers who were up to mischief in the area of a historical border which runs nearby along the summit plateau.
Situated slightly to the side, above the chambers, lies a charming little waterfall. It gracefully trickles over a vertical cliff, eventually meandering as a small stream into the gorge below.
Atop the summit of the “Devil’s Mill,” a rugged path leads its way southeast through the forest along the ridge. That pathway, seemingly paved over and over with rocks, invites exploration.
The most extraordinary aspect, however, lies adjacent to the path. Repeatedly, you encounter sizable boulders that, despite official assertions to the contrary, do not seem to have been naturally shaped. These formations are purportedly remnants of ice age rock deposits, created through the erosion of fine materials and the subsequent movement of the topsoil. There are no rock faces up here from where the blocks could have broken off.
See for yourself. What are your thoughts? Doesn’t it bear a resemblance to the ancient megalithic remnants found across the globe?
The name Devil’s Mill comes from an old legend. In it, the bizarre boulders lying around everywhere and inexplicable in their origin, become the building blocks of a stone mill house erected by the devil.
According to this legend, there was a miller who was unhappy with the efficiency of his own mill in the valley. He expressed a desire for the devil to construct a better mill for him on the mountain above. The devil, upon hearing his plea, proposed a sinister pact. In exchange for the miller’s soul, the devil vowed to erect the mill within a single night, completing it before the first cockcrow in the morning.
They entered the pact, and the devil set to work, and that very night he picked up the miller to inspect the finished mill. However, the latter realized that a crucial stone was still absent and called the devil’s attention to it. Subsequently, the devil went to retrieve the final stone. But just as he was about to place it, the rooster crowed from the depths of the valley.
Consumed by anger from losing the bet, the devil hurled the stone into the mill, obliterating everything in its path until not a single piece was left standing upon another.
And this consequential act still bears its mark up there to this very day, so people say.
Perhaps you are unaware, but both in Germany and France, there are numerous ancient pagan sites, both officially recognized and unrecognized ones, that are situated along historical borderlines. It is intriguing to consider the possibility that these boundaries were intentionally aligned with such ancient cult sites.
Also here, at the Devil’s Mill, an old border exists as previously mentioned.It delineated the boundary separating the Kingdom of Württemberg and the Grand Duchy of Baden., dating back to a time when Germany consisted of distinct and sovereign kingdoms.
Apart from wayside crosses, Marian shrines, and other Christian symbolism, this often serves as a significant indication to me that a place holds great importance.
Is there a kernel of truth in the legend of the Devil’s Mill? Could there have once been a structure perched up there? While it is certain of course that it wasn’t constructed by the devil, is it possible that it was built by an ancient civilization, whose majestic remnants can still be found today scattered across the globe?
During the Middle Ages, enigmatic pagan sites, whose origins and significance were not understood, were often attributed with fearful reverence to the devil; or on purpose by the Catholic Church to keep curious people away.
Map & Video
Checkout some hiking trails in the area.