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Exploring the most haunted places in Norway

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Exploring the most haunted places in Norway
The Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim is famous for a certain ghostly resident, known as "the monk." Photo by Free Nomad on Unsplash

Despite being most known for its stunning natural beauty, Norway also has its share of spine-tingling stories and spooky legends. From ancient castles to remote islands, the country boasts a number of haunted places that will send shivers down your spine.

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When visualising Norway, most people conjure up images of its deep fjords, pristine wilderness, mesmerising Northern Lights, and its rich Viking history.

Yet, not as many are familiar with the darker, more eerie side of this Scandinavian nation – a realm brimming with spine-chilling legends intertwined with what some locals refer to as "haunted" places scattered across the land.

Munkholmen Island, Trondheim, central Norway

Nestled just off the coast of Trondheim lies Munkholmen, a tiny island with a storied past.

Over time, the island transformed into an abbey, then a formidable fortress, then a prison (you can take a guided tour to find out more).

As one might expect from a place with such a tumultuous history, Munkholmen has become a source of tales of the uncanny.

READ MORE: 24 hours in Trondheim: Everything you should see and do

Among these tales, one prominent ghost is said to be the restless spirit of Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld. This infamous prisoner endured an 18-year sentence on the island, and his ghostly presence is believed by many to still roam its historic grounds.

Today, Munkholmen has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving into a popular summer tourist destination. From May to September, boats ferry eager visitors to the island.

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Akershus Fortress, Oslo, eastern Norway

When it comes to Norway's haunted locales, few places rival the eerie reputation of Akershus Fortress in Oslo.

Guarding the capital's inner harbour for centuries, beneath the castle's exterior lies a darker narrative filled with tales of bloodshed and the supernatural.

For a significant span of time, sections of the fortress served as a prison, incarcerating some of Norway's most notorious criminals.

The sentences meted out often involved gruelling physical labour, and the prison became infamous for its use of chains and harsh solitary confinement as disciplinary tools.

Over the years, reports have emerged of ghostly whispers and mysterious scratching echoing through the fortress's corridors, despite the fact that the fortress's prison ceased operations in 1950.

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Munkholmen isle

Munkholmen Island, located just outside Trondheim, has a fascinating history, and aside from being a tourist magnet, it's also popular among locals in the summer. Photo by Erlend Ekseth on Unsplash

Old Lier Asylum, Buskerud region, southeastern Norway

The doors of the old Lier Psychiatric Hospital opened in the 1920s, marking the beginning of a chapter in Norway's history that is as haunting as it is tragic.

Over the decades that followed, from the 1930s to the 1960s, this institution ventured into "experimental treatments" that would send shivers down the spines of anyone familiar with its dark history.

As with any place steeped in a history of profound human suffering, the mental hospital has garnered a reputation for being haunted by the tormented souls who were once trapped within its confines.

However, many of the old structures have since been razed to make room for new housing developments.

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Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, central Norway

The Nidaros Cathedral, Norway's most significant cathedral, stands proudly at the heart of Trondheim.

Within its hallowed walls resides a ghostly resident known far and wide as "the monk." The tale of this spooky figure dates back to the 1920s when it was first sighted by Bishop Marie Gleditsch.

Bishop Gleditsch's account described an apparition with a gruesome, blood-soaked gash adorning its throat.

Since that fateful encounter, reports of unexplained phenomena have become a regular occurrence within the cathedral.

Late at night, whispers of inexplicable chanting and haunting organ music were allegedly heard through the cathedral.

However, it's worth noting that this most famous ghost has not escaped controversy. Some historians have challenged the authenticity of the monk's presence, asserting that there is no historical connection between monks and the Nidaros Cathedral.

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Old Nes Church, Nes, Viken, eastern Norway

Dating back to the 12th century, the old Nes church has had a quite tumultuous history. Ravaged by Swedish invasions in the 16th and 19th centuries, the church endured a turbulent past.

Despite its resilience, the decision to abstain from reconstruction was made, and the church's ruins have since become a versatile venue, hosting events ranging from picnics to concerts.

Surprisingly, given its history, there are no accounts of apparitions within the church's walls. However, there exists a collection of other eerie experiences reported by visitors.

These encounters include sensations of pressure on the chest, impediments to movement, electronic equipment malfunctions, and fleeting glimpses of shadows and figures vanishing around corners.

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