Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Norwegian Ghost Folklore

The Draugen

The word Draugen is derived from the Norse “draugr” it is used traditionally to denote ghosts.

The Draugen is a wicked water ghost entity. They are said to be the ghosts of sailors or fishermen who lost their lives at sea. 

They then are doomed to haunt the waves. In these tales any man who takes to the sea dreads meeting up with this entity.

The Draugen is described as being monstrous in size covered in seaweed. He is seen only after dark during stormy seas. He is always seen rowing the remnants of his shattered boat. The legend states that the unlucky sailors that encounter him are first alerted to his presence by his terrible screams.

If sailors encounter the Draugen, it will drag their boats down to the depths of the sea and the men on board will all drown. Some of these unfortunate victims are then condemned to become Draugens.

There is only one way to escape this terrible fate. The sailor or sailors must reach the shore before the Draugen. But in one classic Draugen tale even though the sailor wins the race to the beach, the Draugen continues to pursue him.

This sailor out of desperation enters a dark churchyard and beseeches the spirits of the dead to protect him. Unfortunately, he is never seen again, but the next day the townsfolk find all the graves in this churchyard empty and covered in seaweed.

Today the Draugen is often associated with anything dark or mysterious about the sea. It is a well known mythical entity or “creature” from Northern Norway.

The Sea-Spirits

For almost 1000 years, it is believed "Old Norwegian Sea Chiefs" still haunt the furthermost coastlines of Norway’s remote isles.

All these spirits lost their lives at sea.

Their boats are seen rising out of stormy waves only to dip down again into oblivion.

It is believed if a person can catch a glimpse of these proud Norwegian forefathers it will bring them good luck.

But seeing them also brings sadness and a sense of loneliness, for these sailors, are doomed to search for a safe harbor to berth their vessels.

These tales always end tragically for the sea-spirits are never welcomed with open arms--so it is their fate to be always searching.

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