In February 2017 the Swedish Society for Parapsychology announced the launch of a study into ghostly experiences occurring in domestic dwellings. See:
It will be interesting to see the responses this elicits and how its results will compare to earlier surveys.
The European Human Values Study (1980-1983) found that up to a third of the population in some Western countries believed they had been in touch with a deceased person, with a European average of 25%. Interestingly, the lowest percentages came from the Scandinavian nations, with Norway at 9%, Denmark 10% and Sweden at 14%.
That there might be greater openness in Sweden to reporting ghost encounters in the 21st century is a possibility following publicity given to alleged hauntings at the Royal Palace on Lovon Island, Stockholm. In a TV programme transmitted on SVT, Sweden’s national broadcaster, on 5 January 2017, Queen Silvia spoke openly of her belief in ghostly presences at the royal residence, a UNESCO world heritage site dating back to the 17th century.
Previous claims of hauntings at the palace have been made by members of the Swedish royal family. In 2010, newspaper columnist Herman Lindqvist reported that King Carl Gustav XVI had told him of his belief that the palace might be haunted by at least two ghosts. The King stated he normally gave non-committal answers to people enquiring about ghosts, but privately he conceded that there was much that was not understood and acknowledged the possible presence of two ghosts in the castle. Previous monarchs – though not himself – had seen the figure of a ‘grey man’, described as small in stature and wearing an old-fashioned coat with hood. Reputedly, this figure had appeared to all the kings who living, at the palace, the oldest part.
The White Lady – A harbinger of death to Sweden’s Royal Family
Also reputedly haunting the castle was a White Lady type apparition, seen by adjutant. This is one which perhaps the royals might not wish for as in European-wide traditions White Ladies attached to palaces, castles and family seats from Ireland to Germany are often (though not invariably) considered to be omens of a death in the family.
These traditions are associated with palace, including claims that the White Lady was seen by Princess Eugenie in 1871 a few days before Queen Louise, wife of Charles XV of Sweden died in March 1871. She also supposedly heralded Oscar II’s death in 1907 and that of Crown Princess Margareta in 1920. The apparition is believed to be a medieval noble woman, variously identified as Agnes of Orlamunde (13th century) or Agnes of Meran or Percheta von Rosenberg (both 15th century).
However, judging from the broadcast in January 2017, the current view of the Swedish royal family is that the ghosts are positive, with Queen Silvia stating: “There are small friends … ghosts. They’re all very friendly but you sometimes feel that you’re not completely alone” adding, “It’s really exciting. But you don’t get scared.”
The view that ghosts are a fact of palace life was corroborated by Princess Christina who describes “a white female figure,” and says that “there is a lot of energy in this house and it would be strange if it did not take the form of apparitions.”
Other activity at the palace is reportedly concentrated upon the guest floor, where foreign heads of state and other distinguished guests usually stay. Employees of the castle, especially those serving as caretakers in this area report strange sounds, like someone moving furniture around. This occurs in rooms known to the ushers to be empty. Strange thuds have also been reported. Former witnesses included the former Dutch Queen Juliana was visiting and staying in the guest floor, she was so startled the very first night she refused to sleep there another night.
The programme on SVT resulted in international attention on the palace and its stories, covered in Time, International Business Times, France 24, Deutsche Welle and the Daily Mail.
Sweden’s’ Borley Rectory’ at Borgvattnet ?
Other stories that have featured in the Swedish media have included the haunting of the premises of a horse riding club at Norrkoping and stories of a haunted hotel, formerly the home of a priest at Borgvattnet, in Jamtland, 75km from Ostersund) reputedly haunted since the 19th century. Reputed phenomena include sounds of footsteps, apparitions, doors opening and closing by themselves and a rocking chair from which people sitting in it are violently ejected. Various guests and residents are reputed to have fled the building on account of their experiences, leading one to wonder if at Borgvattnet we have the equivalent (in reputation at least) of England’s Borley Rectory, alleged the site of unrivalled paranormal activity between 1863-1939.
Interesting studies of spontaneous cases in Sweden were also published in the 1970s see Liv efter doden? (1973) by Nils O. Jacobsen, M.D.
The Guardian 3 Jan 2017
Time magazine 3 January 2017
‘Vita damen skrämde upp kungens adjutant’ by Herman Lindqvist in Aftonbladet 17 April 2010
Jacobsen, Nils. O (1973) Liv efter doden? Zindermans Forlag, Gothenburg. Published as Life Without Death On parapsychology, mysticism, and the question of survival by Nils O. Jacobsen, M.D. (translated from the Swedish by Sheila La Farge) (1975) Turnstone Books, 1974.
Borgvattnet Rectory see: