When I was a kid, my favourite ride at my hometown amusement park was the haunted house. It was built in 1967; all the skeletons looked like they were made out of popsicle sticks and it was hilarious. Then they shut it down and I cried. Then I moved to Iceland, where there are no amusement parks, but there is a ghoulishly delightful museum in the beautiful coastal town of Stokkseyri.
Draugasetrið, The Ghost Centre, is a spooky maze of folk tales and frightening tricks that simultaneously delight and scare the living poo out of you. The tour is guided by an ominous, disembodied voice on a head-set as you walk through various creepy settings, telling you traditional folk tales of evil spirits that couldn’t be quelled.
Then while you’re nice and distracted by the story of a broken milk truck or that two-headed sheep in the corner, some perfectly still object starts moving towards you and grabbing your arm! What the shit! Out of the twenty-four rooms and stories, number nineteen is the one least suitable for the faint of heart. I screamed like a hyena, and I am made of steel wool and whisky. Keeping your back against the wall is not even an option: things occasionally pop out of there.
Once your living daylights are extinguished and you make it out of the last room (an equally scary church), the museum is readily equipped with a bar to ease your nerves and let you mull over all the cool stories you just heard. You can also build some liquid courage before taking the tour, since that‘s where it starts too. I recommend it. Then you can head downstairs and see the mystical and magical world of the elves, trolls and northern lights in the Icelandic Wonders museum. Watch out for that little troll running about the place though. He may be made of burlap, but he’ll spill your wine.
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