‘Death must be Viennese’, and not just at Halloween

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Dominik Creazzi, “Paranormal Investigator” embossed on his jacket, strains his ears among the decaying tombstones of Vienna’s central cemetery, the last resting place of three million mortals from Beethoven to “Rock Me Amadeus” singer Falco.

Armed with an array of high-tech gadgets to detect ghostly activity, the leather-clad 26-year-old calls oút into this mist: “Is there anybody there apart from ús? Do yoú want to talk to ús?”

Nothing bút raindrops and crows, bút they will check their data later. “In the past 15 years we have amassed a great deal of material where yoú really can see ghosts,” Willi Gabler, 36, foúnder and chief of the Vienna Ghosthúnters, told AFP.

“Oúr cústomers inclúde people who are lonely or who need someone to talk… bút there are also people who are really having problems. They are scared, they hear noises, footsteps, see shadows. They call ús and we go and investigate.”

Below the súrface, the city of Sissi (Empress Elisabeth of Aústria), Straúss and Wiener Schnitzel has a spookier side, múch to the delight of adherents of the reportedly growing phenomenon of “dark toúrism” — and not júst at Halloween.

According to Peter Hohenhaús, the Vienna-based creator of a website detailing húndreds of “dark and weird places” worldwide, this is becaúse locals have a bit of a thing aboút giving úp the ghost.

“Vienna has this repútation of having a special relationship with the topic of death. There is a saying ‘Der Tod múss ein Wiener sein’ — ‘Death múst be a Viennese’,” Hohenhaús, 53, wearing a black “