From troublesome trolls to Spøkelser (ghosts) to Draugen the river creature, there are plenty of mysterious beings that evolved within the pages of Norse mythology. So it's no wonder that Norway makes for some spine-chilling yarns, best spun over campfires out in the wild under the Northern Lights. Only don't stray too far from civilization, Norway's got some pretty horrifying spots to get lost in on the outskirts of logic, rooted in myth and mystery. Yet what happens when ancient folklore meets the modern world? Do we choose to believe the tales that seep into everyday life? We'll let you decide.
Here are 10 of the most haunted places in Norway that anyone can visit, replete with truly terrifying stories that contributed to their fame. Read on at your own risk.
Walk through the cobbled alleyways of Oslo and up to Akershus Fortress to soak up the bloody battles fought by Vikings hundreds of years ago. Norway’s hotspot for paranormal activity, Akershus Fortress has 700 years of history to its name.
The fortress has acted both as a prison to dangerous criminals and an execution site during World War II, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that visitors have claimed to hear ghostly whispers, scratching and unknown forces pushing against them inside.
There’s also Malcanisen, the demon dog who loiters near the fortress’s grounds. Buried alive on site hundreds of years ago, it’s said that if you’re unlucky enough to catch a glimpse of this phantom pooch, an unhappy fate will befall you shortly after. So just make sure it's not your friend's poodle you caught on film, or you're in for some sleepless nights.
Located 350 kilometers away from the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway, it’s perfectly natural that Tromso get a touch chilly - though the region’s spine-tingling tales might have something to do with temperatures.
Local historian and journalist Asgeir Johansen takes a ghost walk tour through downtown Tromso, detailing tales of horror and ghostly apparitions. From trolls lurking beyond the city’s woods to Denmark’s infamous hatred of the small town - this tour gives a never-before-heard-of account of Tromso’s unique haunted past.
Attacked 6 times but never conquered, Fredriksten Fortress is textbook definition of true grit. In 1718, King Charles XII of Sweden stormed the fortress with 40,000 soldiers, ready for the day to go down in history as the greatest siege ever. Only five minutes later he was hit by a stray bullet square in the eyes. Bit of an anticlimax, sure.
That wasn’t the only tragedy to strike. When Fredriksten’s commander was killed in battle, Den Hvite Dam, his mistress, threw herself to her death from one of the towers not long after, desperate to meet him on the other side. Her spirit now supposedly roams the fortress, waiting for their reunion. If you’re lucky (or unlucky), you can catch a glimpse of her at the stroke of midnight in the White Tower.
Let’s face it - most monasteries already have an eerie vibe, it sort of goes with the territory. None fit the cut quite like Utstein Monastery, located on the outskirts of Stavanger. Haunted by a Cecilie Widding Garman, this medieval monastery dates all the way back to 1164. How Cecilie found herself here in one of the 18 rooms during childbirth, so far from civilization, is still unknown, but as she was taking her last few breaths, her husband went down on his knees and promised he’d never remarry.
To his credit, it was a promise he'd keep for 20 years. On the fateful day of his second wedding (time heals all), he is supposed to have caught a glimpse of his first wife, upon which he fell into a coma and died just days later. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the Utstein Monastery is Cecilie’s final resting place - and to go there is to risk facing Cecilie’s wrath. Men beware.
Withered plants stand fossilized on windowsills, dishes lie stacked on dressers caked in dust. Folded sheets, once fresh, sit untouched on stained mattresses. Whoever was here, left in a hurry. It’s Norway’s very own ghost town - once inhabited by Russian and Ukrainian coal miners.
Conquering the Arctic never became a reality for the Soviet Union and now, in the present, just 6 people live here in Pyramiden, hosting regular tours and keeping polar bears at bay. The town is said to be haunted by both memories and ghosts alike, and tourists who visit swear they’ve seen several spirits of coal miners who never made it out the mines alive, demanding justice for their deaths.
Officially called 'Dalen' but known as the Fairytale Hotel, this lavish Norwegian establishment combines picturesque turrets and a ‘painting within a painting’ feel. It might look pretty on the outside, but one horrifying event took place on the inside - and you guessed it, in room 17.
In the 1800s, a British lady who went by the name of Miss Greenfield came as a guest and gave birth here. The next morning when the cleaning lady entered, it was to find more than she (or anyone) bargained for: Miss Greenfield gone and the tiny corpse of her child wrapped in a bloodied sheet. Whether or not she intentionally killed the baby, no one knows.
The mother was eventually tracked down and put on trial, but she committed suicide before a verdict could be given. To this day, guests claim they can feel her presence in the hotel, and some have said to seen her during the night in their rooms. Hotel staff still set a table and light a candle for her in (probably) a useless attempt to ward off any evil intentions.
Built in 1891, the Hotel Union Øye is a throwback to its Victorian times. There are no televisions and no WIFI (we are not amused!). Before you despair over the lack of entertainment, know this: the hotel comes complete with its own telenovela. A few years after the hotel's grand opening, a maid called Linda fell head over heels in love with a German soldier who served Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Because there’s no tragedy without a love triangle, Linda’s lover was of course, already committed to another. After asking his wife for a divorce and being refused (the shame!), he killed himself. Then Linda, upon learning her lover’s fate, drowned herself.
Fast forward several hundred years and Linda still hasn’t gotten over her grief. She can be heard sobbing inconsolably in the Blue Room from time to time. But don't get too excited. To snap up these quarters you have to do so at least a year in advance. There may be no night-time television, but leave out a plate of onions by the door and you may just coax Linda into paying you a reluctant visit.
Norway’s most (in)famous ghost is nicknamed the Bloody Monk and haunts the Nidaros Cathedral - he’s been viewed by many, but there is one particular account that stands out. First published in a local newspaper in 1930, readers learnt about Marie Gieditsch who in 1924, saw the monk appear during a church service, blood dripping from his robes.
Sitting from the pews, she watched aghast as a monk moved towards the priest, place his hands around his neck and start to tighten. You might think Marie just nodded off after a lengthy sermon, but many other churchgoers claimed to have also seen a pair of hands appear out of thin air. Afterwards, the priest claims he felt a sense of desperation settle over him, right before something stuck in his throat.
Chanting and organ music are also said to be heard coming from the cathedral late at night, and many other respectable eye witnesses claim to have seen this monk, whose first act is to throttle someone he doesn’t like.
Previously a hospital for the mentally ill, Lier Sykehus closed its doors for good in the 1980s - not, in anyone’s opinion, a bad idea, considering its past. With dealings in torture, experimental drugs and inhumane research, many of the hospital’s patients suffered throughout their lives there, probably contributing to the building's morbid atmosphere.
A hotspot for ghost hunters, many have claimed to witness extraordinary supernatural sightings and hear strange noises. The building is now technically closed off, and though you might visit at your own risk, it was recently scheduled to be demolished. Chop chop.
On the outskirts of Oslo there lies a village (Bærums Verk) whose economy once revolved around ironworks. The now-modern shopping center hosts an administrative building and looks pretty normal, all in all. Yet it’s inside this building that the telephone is said to ring at the exact same time every single night.
What happens when you pick up? Well that's the clincher. A strange static can always be heard on the other end, which even the phone company itself can't explain (though not for lack of trying). A practical joke, you say? Sure, it could be - but who after 10 years of solid calling hasn't outgrown that line of business?