This is not a literary device, this is the real thing!
Story written by Natalie Guttormsson
Story told by ... shh! It's a secret. But we'll tell you at the end of the story.
This story begins in the winter of 1998 on a farm called Hámundarstaðir, in Vopnafjörður, where the farmhouse stood empty, even though it was available free of rent. No one wanted to live there because a man had died in the house and there were rumours it was haunted. When my friend arrived to the area in January of that year she was recently widowed and only working part-time, so the free-rent was an ideal situation, ghost or no ghost.
Hámundarstaðir in the Winter
Her cousins helped her move in and for the first winter she slept in the downstairs bedroom. She soon learned the story about why the house had been empty. The previous couple who lived there had split up. The woman had moved on but the man could not, he took his own life instead, in the very room my friend had made her own. For the first few weeks my friend sensed nothing, but then one Saturday morning while cleaning the house, she saw, or rather felt, a shadow before her as she entered the kitchen. She remained calm, said nothing, but thought: if you can’t be alive, don’t bother me.
And that was the end of that.
Later on, when her boyfriend moved in, odd things began to happen. They heard voices, odd knocks, scratching and thuds on the roof, and the TV would suddenly turn on when no one was in the room. They lived with these disturbances for a few years without fear, but eventually, they did move, and the house stood empty again.
Between 2003 and 2004, a work crew was repairing road number 85 from Vopnafjörður to Bakkafjörður. They briefly moved into the farmhouse, but fled at the first opportunity. Rumours were that they fled in terror of a ghost.
The view from the farmhouse
A few years later, my friend went to visit some friends of hers that lived near Akureyri. They told her the story about the road crew who had fled a haunted house somewhere near Vopnafjörður. It was said that the crew couldn’t understand how anyone, much less “a small woman and the Icelander she had ‘taken up with’” had the courage to put up with the ghost for four years. They all laughed. It turns out my friend was considered some sort of “dynamo” when it came to ghosts!
After the work crew left, the farmhouse stood empty for a few years. Another couple live there now and have been there for nearly six years with no known complaints.
As for my friend, the house my friend lives in now is not haunted, so she knows that whenever she smells cigarette smoke (no one in her house smokes), that the ghost is paying her a friendly visit.
Have you guessed who the “dynamo” is?
It's our very own Cathy Josephson!
Thank you Cathy for letting me share your story.
“In spite of the "goofiness", I was never nervous while I lived there. I thoroughly enjoyed - perhaps even needed - the remote location and the intense beauty of the view. And sorely missed it when we needed to move.” - Cathy
Want to get an idea of where this farm is located? You can search for Hámundarstaðir under “Places” in the database. The correct location is noted as Hámundarstaðir, Hofssókn, Vopnajarðarhreppur, N-Múlasýsla.