Reykjavik Excursions Blog

Icelandic ghost story on Halloween

Happy Halloween

31/10/2018 Blog

The Deacon of Dark River 

Iceland has many ghost stories, and many are told to be real. Today we share the most famous one about the Deacon of Dark River (Djákninn af Myrká).
The Deacon of Dark River is from Myrká in Eyjafjörður in North Iceland. His name is not known but he was engaged to a woman named Guðrún, a servant lady to the priest at Bægilsá, other side of the river Hörgilsá.

The Deacon had a horse that he always road. He was gray with thick mane and was called Faxi.

Before Christmas the Deacon had plans on taking Guðrún to the celebrations at Myrká. It had been cold and snowing the days before and the river had been frozen for days. The Deacon took Faxi and planned on going over the river like before but that day the river had thawed and the ice broke and the deacon fell into the river.

The following morning a farmer spotted Faxi, all cold and wet and soon finds the The Deacon dead at the riverbank. He had a severe injury on the back of his head from the ice blocks in the river.

The Deacon was buried at Myrká the week before Christmas.

No one had gone to Bægilsá after the Deacon fell in the river so Guðrún had no idea of his death. She started getting ready for the Christmas celebration, waiting for his arrival on Faxi.

There was a knock on the door, but no one at to be seen. It was dark outside so Guðrún put on her coat in a rush and did only put on one of the sleeves but slung the other over her shoulder.
She then saw Faxi and a man, that she assumed to be the Deacon on back. She jumped behind him and they road of. Suddenly the Deacons hat lifted and Guðrún saw his bear skull! The moon came out from the clouds and the Deacon said:

The moon glides,
Death rides;
Can’t you see the white spot at the back of my head,
Garún, Garún?

Guðrún was frightened but said nothing. She understood what had happened, he was not able to say her name “Guðrún” or Guð/God. The road to Myrká where they stop at the Deacon say:

Wait here, Garún, Garún
While I take Faxi, Faxi,
to the fields, fields.

She stood there in the dark while he took the horse to the fields, but she noticed an open grave in the graveyard and ran to the church bell to notify others. At the same moment the Deacon grabs her, but to all luck he grabbed the sleeve that she had slung over her shoulder, rips it off and the Deacon falls in the open grave and the gravel fell over him.
Guðrún rings the church bell until the workers at Myrká come to help her. She was terrified and that night the Deacon hunted her in her sleep. And so it was for days. Guðrún could never be alone and the priest had to wake over her every night.
Eventually, a sorcerer from Skagafjörður was called to Myrká. He put a large rock on top of the Deacons grave and once the ghost of the Deacon appeared in the night, he rolled the rock on top of him and where he still is trapped to this day.
Guðrún is told never to have recovered from the ordeal. 

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