Draugarétt (Ghost Fold) – Húsafell, Iceland - Atlas Obscura

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Draugarétt (Ghost Fold)

Though they may seem like simple stones, these rocks represent a ghostly legend. 


Just off the road that passes the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls lies a small circle enclosing more than a dozen rocks. But look closer and you may see the faces of 18 spirits on their way back to the underworld.

Snorri Björnsson was the pastor of Húsafell from 1756 to 1803, but prior to that he served as a priest at Hornstrandir. He seems to have left on less-than-friendly terms, since a local legend tells of how other sorcerers, who were enemies of Snorri, raised the dead and sent their ghosts to kill him. But Reverend Snorri could turn his reputed superhuman strength not only to the physical labor of lifting heavy stones but to the metaphysical as well; he drove the ghostly assassins into the ground of the Húsafell churchyard and sent their spirits back from whence they came.

It is this legend that local artist Páll Guðmundsson memorializes in his work Draugarétt (Ghost Fold). The artist, born in 1959 in Húsafell where he still lives and works, is renowned for his sculptures crafted from local rocks, including a stone harp used by Sigur Rós. On the rocks within the enclosure he depicts 18 faces sinking into the earth, representing the ghosts’ descent into the underworld.

Know Before You Go

Draugarétt is accessible from Route 518.

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