A Ghost Story involving the Ancestor of Place

Apr 11th, 2018 | By | Category: Pagan People, Uncategorized


By Imelda Almqvist

Last night my husband came out with some interesting statements about ghosts:

“Ghosts are very positive because they enrich our lives and they weave together past, present and future”.

My best guess is that most people will not share his perspective!

In January 2018 I wrote a blog titled Ancestor of Place. Recent developments here may just involve the same ancestor of place I introduced in that piece. Let’s tell the story…

We have a house in Sweden. It used to be a working farm run by a man called Conrad. He built the house we live in with his own hands. In good Scandinavian tradition the bath house is a building separate from the main house. To have a bath or shower we walk across a “courtyard space” created by different buildings (one being a cottage from the year 1810 that I am turning into a school for my courses in Norse shamanism).

As our professional lives and the education of our three sons will continue to tie us to London for another four years or so, we cannot spend as much time here as we would like to. That means that our property is unattended (by living humans) for periods of up to six weeks during term time. However, we have strong evidence that an otherworld guardian patrols the place in good Swedish fashion!

As Scandinavian winters can be ferociously cold we have some concerns about water pipes freezing while they are not in use. One of the measures our builder suggested was making an inner (styrofoam) door for the bathhouse – to insulate the space and trap any heat generated by one small radiator (that we keep on a thermostat as a “frost watch measure”).

Our builder made this inner door and it’s is quite a massive thing. Last time we left here (in February) we manoeuvred it into place together as part of the locking-up-and-leaving procedure. The thing to realise is that we keep the keys to all the outhouses in the main house here. Only we ourselves have the key to the main house and the neighbouring farmer – so he can run checks and get in if emergencies occur. No one else has the key!

When we returned the weekend of Easter my husband unlocked the door to the bathhouse and, to our great surprise, the inner door had been moved (by about two meters). It was now leaning against the fire place in that same room! We said to each other: “Right… that is a bit odd but Christer – the farmer – must have decided to run some checks on the water pipes, or something….”

Later that morning Christer came calling. We asked him why he had moved the inner door. He said he had not been in that building at all – there had been no reason to enter. We showed him the inner door now leaning against the fireplace. It clearly had been handled with care – not knocked around or damaged. The expression on his face was something to watch!!

He went away and slept on the mystery. He returned with his dog the next morning and said: “It could only have been Conrad… no one else…” Now Conrad is that Ancestor of Place I wrote the previous blog about! He died in the early 1960s. We visited his grave last winter. (You can see a picture of his tomb stone in the Ancestor of Place blog!)

He had a workbench where he did woodcarving, exactly where our bath and shower are positioned now. Christer (the farmer) said: “He probably does not understand why the lay-out has changed and why his workbench is no longer there… the inner door did not exist in his time. Christer: “So he must have decided to move it, so he could get into his wood carving workshop!”

Swedish folk tradition tells us that the first person who lives on a farm (often clearing the land and building the house) or makes a fire there, becomes the guardian spirit of the property after his own death. People honour him by leaving out food and drink at certain times of the year (which we do) and attempt to live in a harmonious relationship with him, a relationship of mutual reciprocity. We honour his commitment to the place and in return he honours the fact that the times have moved on and that the farm cannot stay exactly the way it was in his time. Clearly this relationship throws up some mysteries at both ends!

This is the background that informs my husband’s perspective on ghosts (he is Swedish).

If you have had similar experiences with an Ancestor of Place I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment – thank you!

Imelda Almqvist


Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of Norse shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book Sacred Art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where Art Meets Shamanism) will be published in December 2018.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)


(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

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