A gigantic stratification of slate (132 meters above sea) impressively overlooks the Rhine near St Goar. Far below, the Rhine twists its way through a narrow valley which over centuries has been the site of many a tragic shipwreck. German poets have immortalized this place through their romanticized writings. As a result, various legend and lore has come about.
In one such story, it is said that from the top of this rock a ghost-like image of Loreley sang sailors to their doom. As they heard her fascinating, sad voice when they passed the bend of the river, they would become mesmerized with her, crashing their ships onto the rocks. This tale goes on to say that she was once a mortal girl who threw herself from the top of the rock into the Rhine because her lover proved her unfaithful.
Clemens von Bretano tells yet another tale in his novel “Godwi.” Here a ravishingly beautiful woman was cursed to attract men and thus bring about their undoing. Because she could no longer bear this tragedy, she threw herself off the highest point of the rock into the Rhine to put an end to the spell.
Yet another slightly different version of the story is found in a poem written by Heinrich Heine in 1824. He tells of a girl who combs her golden hair and lilts a little song with such a powerful melody that the sailors below, instead of watching out for shallows and wild currents look up to her and crash their boats against the rocks only to be dragged to the bottom by strong river currents which at this point is almost 100 feet deep. Thus their fate was Loreley’s song.