Stikhokken - Atlas Obscura

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Sakskobing, Denmark

It might look like just a pile of sticks—because it is. But there's a dark history to how this stack got its start. 


Whenever the locals enter the forest of Hydeskov, they make sure to throw a stick onto a three-meter-tall, centuries-old pile of sticks in order to deter the ghost of a murdered forester.

The name Stikhokken literally translates to “stick pile.” Nobody knows exactly how long it has been around, but there is evidence that this distinct pile of sticks has been around since at least 1875. While these piles used to be more common all over Denmark, Stikhokken is the last surviving stick pile and may well be hundreds of years old—not bad for a pile of sticks.

According to local lore, a generally hated forester was killed by a poacher and left in the woods some time in the 18th century. Not entirely sad to see him gone, passers-by would throw sticks onto his body, thereby starting what would become Stikhokken. After treatment like that, the forester’s ghost started haunting the area and only adding a stick to Stikhokken will keep you safe from his ghost. Other versions of the story of Stikhokken don’t mention the forester but describe Stikhokken as a more general ghost-and-bad-luck-deterrent.

Over the years, Stikhokken’s size has stayed roughly the same. Though new sticks are added all the time, the bottom layers decompose and become part of the forest.

Know Before You Go

There is no public transport to Hydeskov and parking is on the side of the road.

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