So I finally made it back to Spilberk when I was feeling a little better, and Tom also acted as a very informational tour guide! We walked through the art collection and the history section before having a leisurely lunch and then going down into the ... (scary foreboding music please) ... casemates.
So the casemates were used to hold political prisoners and criminals (and according to the ticket lady, "gangsters") and still stand as a symbol of the at times tyrannical rule of the Hapsburgs. The place overall was slightly spooky, but especially creepy were where they kept the "lifers." At one point in time, one of the Hapsburg empresses thought that the death sentence was cruel. So instead the set up little wooden cages (about the size of an office cubicle) where prisoners would be kept with no food, no water, and no light. None of these prisoners lived past a month (and this was considered the more humane choice!).