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▶ Finland Ghost Story

Emma Lindroos

In 1885 poltergeist activity flared up in the village of Ylöjãrvi, approximately 15 kilometres from Tammerfors (now Tampere) in Finland. 71-year-old Efraim Martin, his 77-year-old wife Eva and their 13-year-old servant girl Emma Lindroos lived in a small three-room cottage there. It was assumed that the poltergeist activity was centred around the young girl.

For approximately two weeks during January 1885 the house hold suffered such poltergeist activity as doors rapidly opening and closing, spontaneous damage to walls and furniture, objects inexplicably flying through the air, and even a sheep found in the cow stall with all its legs tied together. There were also unknown voices. The phenomena occurred at all times of the day and night, and many sightseers were drawn to the location because of them.

At the end of January, Emma Lindroos was taken away from the family as she was suffering from tuberculosis; she died a few months afterwards. On her departure from the house the polter geist activity stopped, not to return. The extraordinary twist to this story followed in March 1885, when the Martins and Emma Lindroos were prosecuted, on the grounds that they caused the poltergeist, in league with the payers of darkness, to help sell brandy. An analysis of witness statements was published in Psychische Studien in 1922 and reported by Alan Gould and A.D. Cornell in their book Polter geists.

The statements included the following: Gerhard Grönfors saw a pair of shoes moving on the floor, one shoe after the other. The witness believed the phenomenon was being caused by an unknown force. The following day Grönfors saw thin pine boards hopping and dancing around each other and two bread sticks dancing and striking each other. Another witness saw this too. Sexton Lindell witnessed a stool thrown upside down, a basket of pinewood thrown at him and plates on a dining table smashed against each other.

Amanda Lindell, the sexton’s wife, confirmed her husband’s claims and saw shoes flying from the corner of the room, and plaster falling from the walls. Karl Lindholm saw a candle holder flung against the door and believed this was caused by an invisible force because of the way it moved through the air. Helene Punala confirmed Lindholm’s sighting; she was sitting beside the table where the candle holder had taken off and knew that no one had thrown it. The prosecution failed and the accused were acquitted. The authors’ own analysis of the trial was that possibly ‘this trial was to some extent at least a put up job, instigated so that the Martins, who seemed to have been much respected locally, could clear themselves from malicious gossip’