The Brennivin Ghost of Iceland
While visiting the Icelandic wonders museum, we learned about the infamous Brennivín Ghost, haunting the region where the original Icelandic Schnapps is named. Haunting the halls at Kolviðarhóll, who is the apparition of the Danish “Assistant” who worked in the Sunchenberg Store in Reykjavik. His job was to keep count of liquor in the store, and as a avid lover of the spirits, would travel by horse back to Kolvidarhóll and Marardalur to drink. He passed away in his bed while in Reykjavik. He apparently haunts the stores, halls, and the meadows on Kolviðarhóll.
The first recording of his apparition was two men the following winter from Suarnes travelling over the heath and stopping to sleep at the refuge hut in Kolviaarholl. As they entered the hut, heard chanting in the loft, and were greeted with a vision of a man sitting alone, striking, and elegant with a large top hat and wig, drinking a big container of brennivin. Other reports were as similar. The Icelandic Wonders Museum claims the ghost watches over them.
- “The Brennivin Ghost: One of many acquaintances Kolviaarholl was the Brennivin Ghost. He was believed to be the ghost of the Danish ‘Assistant’ Sunchenberg store in Reykjavik. He had the responsibility of counting the beverages in the store, but he was very keen on the beverages. It was his custom, summer after summer on holy days, to ride his horse up to Kolviaarholl and into Marardalur to consume a substantial amount of the libation. He thought that those trips were his greatest pleasure in life … Now, this man passed away in his sickbed in Reykjavik, but the following winter two men from Suaurnes went over the heath and were planning to sleep at the refuge hut at Kolviaarholl. When they opened the hut, they were shocked when they heard a chant up in the loft. The two men weren’t expecting anyone to be there, because they didn’t see anything outside that indicated that someone was there. When the two men went inside the house and up to the loft, the most surreal vision awaited them when they opened the hatch. On the floor, just by the window, there was a man sitting alone who seemed to be very mellow. He was striking to see and very elegant, with a large top hat and a wig, and was wearing clothes with silver buttons on both lapels. Between his feet on the floor, he had a biggish container full of brennivin, from which a sweet smell emanated. In one hand the man had a tin mug that he used to take brennivin from the container, and then he drank from the mug and tipped the rest of the brennivin back into the container. He looked roguishly at what he was doing. The two men greeted the strange man and made his see how surprised they were about his behavior and how well stocked he seemed to be with beverages. He didn’t respond to their greetings, but instead he extended one of his feet, on which there was a Danish shoe, and said a little verse with his dark voice. Then he stood up and swung out his hand with the bennivin mug. With that he disappeared in an instant with a bright glow, and the loft became dark. The two men felt uncomfortable and a little shaken, and ran down the stairs and out into the bright spring night, after whch they started to feel better. Needless to say, the two men continued over the heath until they reached Reykir in Olfus early next morning.” ~ museum sign in Icelandic Wonders Museum.