You’ve arrived in Iceland, you get off the flight, buy beer at the duty free, pick up your hired car and begin to drive. In less than half an hour you find yourself in an enchanted land covered with columns of smoke, geothermal activity so strong you can boil an egg in it — smelling of sulfur and a ghost. You’ve arrived in Gunnuhver: the home of the charming Gunna.
If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive on a day with clear skies and minutes before landing you will be able to see the great columns of smoke coming out of the peninsula of Rejkyanes. And if you are really lucky you will only see the columns. If you’re not, and you have the misfortune of spotting Gunna from above, then this means your trip to Iceland will be nothing like you imagined.
According to the legend, inside Gunnuhver, one of Iceland’s most famous geysers, lives the spirit of Gunna, a woman who was wronged by her evil landlord and therefore sought revenge. And I really do not blame her, who hasn’t wanted to seek revenge on an evil landlord? So the story goes, she took vengeance and it wasn’t anything like egging his house or covering it in toilet paper.
It’s not really clear whether the fight started because of an increase in rent, a stolen pot or an unexpected leak. Butlegend says the fight was between Gunna and Vilhjálmur Jónsson (one of the most powerful landowners of those times) was so bad that Gunna flipped out and lost it.
Time passed and Gunna died without being able to fully take her revenge. The day after her funeral Vilhjálmur Jónsson was found dead in the house he lived in with his wife, his body was blue and all his bones were broken. That same day when his body was being transferred to the town church, Gunna’s enraged spirit appeared, wanting to take Vilhjálmur’s soul to hell, but she failed in doing so. The next day Vilhjálmur’s wife appeared dead in their house. From then on on, days passed and more inexplicable deaths happened, all of which took place around the farm where Gunna used to live.
The rumour amongst the neighborhood was that anyone that saw her spirit ended up dead. The situation was untenable, and with no ghosthunter around, the inhabitants of the area called on Erikur, a priest from around the area, who specialised in paranormal activities. All of this reads very much like a series you’d find on Netflix.
It’s not very clear what Eríkur did in order to trap Gunna’s spirit inside the geyser forever. It’s something about tying Gunna’s spirit with a rope and throwing it inside the great columns of smoke that emerge from the Rejkyanes peninsula, trapping her amongst the fog and vapor. Sentenced to an eternity of gawking travelers that arrive in their hired cars, take photos to post on their blogs and instagram accounts.
An increase in the geothermal activity of Gunnuhver has been detected in the last few years. It's become more aggressive and more frequent, so much so that work has had to be done on the platforms from which viewers can observe these geysers. Is Gunna trying to tell us something?
Only 30 minutes from the airport seperate you from her. Keep your eyes peeled, Gunna is lonely and searching for a companion.
In the 3rd episode of ‘The Mythic Guide To Iceland’ - Gunna tells us her story, be sure to click on the link below in case you’ve missed it.