No place is free from a haunting on Iceland, not even the official house for the president known as Bessastadir were the ghost of a woman named Apollonia Schwartzkopf haunts the house after maybe have been the victim of poison.

Believing in ghost is nothing special or weird in Iceland. In fact, surveys shows that at least ten percent believes in the hidden people, otherwise known as elfs or Huldufólk. And no one is immune, not even the president of the country.

In the official residence of the president of Iceland at Bessastadir in Álftanes not long from Reykjavík, there is allegedly a ghost of a woman called Apollonia Schwartzkopf haunting the house, even to this day. 

Apollonia Schwartzkopf was a powerful and rich Norwegian woman who came to Iceland in 1722 after suing the governour of Iceland at the time called Niels Furhman for fraud after he tried to break his promise to marry her after being engaged for 14 years. At the time Iceland was a colony under the Danish crown.

The Danish man working as the governor on Iceland was condemned and had to have Apollonia Schwartzkopf staying with him at Bessastadir until she died under mysterious circumstances. 

Apollonia Schwartzkopf then came to Iceland and the wonderful house of Bessastadir to have Niels Furhman fulfill his promises as her husband as well as making him pay huge expenses for her as she was now lawfully his wife. But was it worth it though?

Poisoned by her Mother In Law?

Many sources of this story states that Apollonia died of a broken heart, although when looking at the details doesn’t seem very likely. The marriage with Niels Furhman at Bessastadir was not a happy one though, and according to all accounts they weren’t a good match in the long run. Sources say they didn’t sleep in the same bed or even dine at the same table together. She started to think that the mother in law was planning to poison her, something she confided in a man named Cornelius Wulff. 

Apollonia Schwartzkopf died not long after though under strange circumstances of an unknown disease after she ate some porridge she herself claimed to be poisonous on Pentecost day, or on 20. June in 1725 in some sources. Her Danish mother in law Karen Holm also lived with them, and it was believed that she had killed Apollonia Schwartzkopf with poison, although nothing was proven during the trial.

Haunting the President at Bessastadir

The ghost at  Bessastadir started to gain some attention when the influential people living in the house started speaking about her.

“I hear her at night, pacing the halls and going from room to room. Sometimes she comes up the stairs and walks in the corridors outside my room. And I say to her: ‘Please, Apollonia dear, be very welcome,’ ” the former president of Iceland and the world’s first elected female president, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, regularly told her visitors when they came to Bessastadir.


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Featured image: Wikimedia/OddurBen

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