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Vampires Iceland

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The Source:

Andreas Heusler & Fr. Ranke (transl.):
"Die Geschichte von Havard aus dem Eisfjord"
in: "Fünf Geschichten von Ächtern und Blutrache"
Thule v.VIII, Jena, 1922

William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson (transl.):
"The Story of Howard the Halt (Havardar Saga Isfirdings)"
in: "The Saga Library", vol.I, London, 1891

W.A. Craigie:
"The Icelandic Sagas"
Cambridge University Press, 1913

The Case:

In Isafirdi there is a woman called Thorgerd who lives on a farm called Bakka. Her husband Thormod has died but comes home every night to sleep with her. She needs someone to put a stop to that. So a man called Hafard suggests that his son Olaf will help her.

So Olaf Havardson goes to the Bakka homestead and sleeps in a bed near the door, using an animal skin as a blanket. The undead Thormod walks in and starts pulling at the skin. A long fight follows, first inside the farm, then outside. When Thormod trips over a piece of wood, Olaf finally gets a chance to deal with the draugr and puts an end to its undead existence.

The Date:

I found that Olaf Havardson was a real person who is reported to have been killed around the year 1000.

The Place:

Isafjord, Isafjordur or Isafirdi can be found on a peninsula in the North-West of Iceland.

Possible Follow-up:

You could start by finding yourself a copy of the "Havardar Saga Isfirdings". The story has been translated in many languages so it should not be too hard. I have found that some translators sometimes change the names of people and places. So it is always nice to have the original version as well.

© 2014 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed November 2014

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