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Teufel Leiter

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We've all heard stories about the atrocities of World War II, these often exceed our most vivid nightmares and are a terrible reminder of the inhumanity experienced during that dark time period.

It is unsurprising that many ghost stories and legends spread concerning the death camps, most of these stories are well-known and many have been documented but one legend is less known.

The legend of Teufel Leiter, which translates roughly as "Devil Ladder".

The legend goes that a group of officers in an undisclosed camp were involved in dark rituals as part of an on-going belief in the occult amidst some of the Nazi elites (despite Hitler dismissing it as nonsense). These officers seemingly had far more luck in their immoral pursuits than those before them and, if the story is to be believed, they managed to obtain a tool of torture that was unlike any the world had seen before.

It was said that a lone prisoner would be picked at random by these officers and stripped naked before being put inside a small chamber known as Teufel Leiter, the chamber spreading upwards into darkness with a ladder - the prisoner would have just enough room to climb the ladder and did so under threat of death: climbing higher and higher into the darkness as the smell of death and decay hung in the air.

The prisoner would continue to climb as the world around them got darker and darker, the chamber only allowing room for them to climb as that scent of decay and death became ever stronger - minutes became hours and no matter how far they climbed the prisoner would find themselves unable to reach the top.

Legend states the poor souls would be forced to climb until they succumbed to exhaustion or let go, plummeting to their deaths below. None would ever make it to the top, even those who braved the darkness for days on end.

Those in charge of Teufel Leiter would wait as long as necessary for the inevitable demise of the victim before a new one was selected at random from the many unfortunate souls put to work in the infamous camps, the bodies of those who had fallen before them being disposed of without further notice.

Efforts to uncover the legendary Teufel Leiter have proven largely futile and although still sought after by fringe historians and ghost-hunters alike perhaps it is for the best that Teufel Leiter remains hidden in the shadows of history, for whether real or imagined, the world is likely better off without it.

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