For Americans, October 31 is just Halloween. For Protestant Germans, though, it is Reformation Day—the anniversary of the date on which, by tradition, Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. The only problem is: the story perhaps never happened that way. For over four decades, scholars have been debating the issue. (Even official town and museum websites have taken conflicting stances over the years.)
To be sure, Luther dated the document 31 October, but there is no hard evidence that he actually nailed the theses to the door—though this was the common practice for scholarly disputations. In any case, any door to which Luther might have nailed anything is long gone: the church was destroyed by cannon fire in 160, during the Seven Years' War, and the building we see today therefore dates from only 1770, with additional restorations from the end of the nineteenth century. The bronze doors that now bear the text of the Theses were created only in 1858.