It’s a few months until Halloween and All Saints’ Day, but in Stockholm ghosts never rest, so why should we? With such an extensive history as Sweden’s, it’s no wonder that the capital has some specters in its alleyways.
Here are a few haunted places around Stockholm that you can visit year-round.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace – Photo credit: © Anders E. Skånberg
Most tourists are familiar with the Royal Palace, located on the northeast side of Old Town (Gamla Stan). It served as the royal residence for centuries, and is one of the largest palaces in the world, with a total of 1,430 rooms! The palace is said to be haunted by the so-called White Lady and the Gray Man. The White Lady, ‘Vita Frun’, is a harbinger of death and appears just before one of the members of the royal family die. King Oscar II wrote about her in his memoir: she wears a white dress and bears a long white veil, her hands wrapped in dark gloves and clutching a chain of keys. Numerous reports claim to see her walking through the halls, the clink of her keys causing a shock of dread.
Another specter of the palace, the Gray Man, ‘Grå mannen’, is said to appear before every ruler at least once in their reign. Some say he is the ghost of Birger Jarl, the founder of Stockholm, who built a 13th century fortress on the spot where the Royal Palace is now.
The Palace is fortunately open to the public, so you can visit he Royal Apartments for yourself. If you’re lucky, you might just be able to catch a glimpse of these elusive ghosts.
Slottsbacken, Old Town
The Palace of Scheffler
Schefflerska Palatset – Photo credit: © Holger Ellgaard/Wikimedia
In Swedish, a ‘Spökslott’ is a haunted house, and the most notorious of them all is the Scheffler Palace in Vasastan (hence the nickname’Spökslottet’). Built in 1690 by the merchant Hans Petter Scheffler of Silesia, it’s said to be the most haunted mansion in the city. Ghost stories date back to the 18th century, when witnesses report strange music and songs filling the air, and mirrors and windows shattering spontaneously, for no apparent reason.
Several stories shroud Scheffler Palace in enigma and dread. It is the site of buried treasures, hidden skeletons, murders, disappearances and inexplicable occurrences. A former owner, Jacob von Balthasar Knigge, was a devil worshipper who mysteriously disappeared in 1796. He was last seen climbing into a black carriage led by a coachman with horns and a tail, or so the tale goes.
At another time, a priest came to investigate the mysterious happenings and exorcise the mansion of its ghosts. It was no warm welcome he received — he was apparently tossed out through a window from the upper floor by an unknown assailant. He broke his leg and, out of fear, never returned.
The palace is also the site of many peculiar deaths — Gustaf Sandström, a well-known opera singer, committed suicide there in 1879. A young couple was murdered and bricked-up behind a wall in the basement. In 1907, an unknown grave was uncovered in the garden.
Unfortunately, you can’t visit the Scheffler Palace on Drottninggatan, the gates are usually locked to outsiders. In 1924 it was donated to Stockholm University and is currently used for storage of glassware, period furniture and art collections. Visitors can simply wonder on its mysterious history from afar.
Drottninggatan 116, Vasastan
Stockholm subway – Photo credit: © Anders E. Skånberg
Even Stockholm’s subway isn’t safe from urban legend. The Silverpilen or silver arrow is a now-discontinued silver aluminum train that ran from 1960s to 1996 as a backup train. While in operation, the train would sometimes run without passengers to the depot without a single stop — very odd indeed. Metro trains are typically green and therefore a silver one was unusual and may have given birth to the eeriness that surrounded the train.
These days, people report seeing the train in mysterious circumstances. Some say it’s been seen in abandoned tunnels. Others say that it runs after midnight in full speed, never stopping. Whenever it is sighted, the train is completely empty — or perhaps only carrying one or two ghostly passengers.
If ghosts perk up your interest, spring for the Stockholm Ghost Walk that runs virtually every night. For 90 minutes you’ll come face to face with spooky tales of murders, diseases, executions and assassinations. There are two tours, Old Town (Gamla Stan) that starts from Järntorget 84 and Södermalm hat starts from Mosebacke Torg 3. The tour guides go all out, dressed up in the finest Garrick coats, top hats and skull-topped canes. A worthy spooky evening for anyone.
Tyska Brinken 13, Old Town
So, do you dare to explore the best haunted places in Stockholm?