The Icelandic Ghost Manual: Don’t Disturb The Dead, Or Else —

The Icelandic Ghost Manual: Don’t Disturb The Dead, Or Else

Published October 11, 2019

The Icelandic Ghost Manual:  Don’t Disturb The Dead, Or Else
Lea Müller
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Anyone remotely interested in Icelandic folklore knows how to behave around hidden people, elves and trolls: avoid contact altogether. But there exists another, lesser-known species, which is just as wicked as the folk living in the barren rocks. Welcome to the world of Icelandic ghost.

Avoid the clash

It’s never a good idea to relocate big rocks if there’s any chance you’re on elf territory, but ghosts are equally averse to being disturbed. If a ghost finds you messing with their final resting place, they will very likely pay you a visit in your sleep. Take their in-dream advice to heart and immediately stop whatever it was you were doing to piss them off.

“To distinguish between a living human being and a ghost, spark a conversation on religion.”

But let’s say you’re uncertain whether you’re having a legit ghost encounter or your ghost-tale-infused brain is just fucking with you. Firstly, if the ghost in your dream is wearing a hat, be suspicious—they might be hiding their bare skull under it.

Since you’d never be so rude as to remove someone’s hat, you’ll need to steer the conversation toward religion to determine if you’re facing a human being or a poltergeist. If the person is incapable of pronouncing the Icelandic word for god (‘guð’) or names like that contain it (Guðrún, for example), you’d better run for your life. You are officially facing a ghost.

Appeasing the spirit

If you’re unlucky enough to have a ghost take up residence in your home, don’t be a brute. What you’ll need is a sensitive soul to seek out conversation with the spirit. Like all formerly-living creatures, all ghosts really want is to be understood. Unlike your very much alive flatmate that has failed to buy toilet paper for three straight months, ghosts deserve to be approached with empathy.

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