• Sweden's news in English

Swedish house sold with skeleton in closet

Caroline Bursell · 17 Aug 2011, 14:21

Published: 17 Aug 2011 14:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

An exposed grave covered with glass and the remains of a medieval Russian church sit idly beneath the five-bedroom property that just came on the market, in Visby, the island's capital.

“The man is resting in consecrated, sacred ground so his soul definitely rests at peace,” Leif Bertwig, the real estate agent in charge of the sale, told The Local.

Therefore no ghosts are listed in the realtor’s description.

“If any prospective buyers would be worried that he will haunt the house they have nothing to fear,” Bertwig said.

However, according to Bertwig, the buried man probably doesn't originate from Sweden, but most likely from Russia, as he lies in the remains of an ancient Russian church.

However historically valuable the silent houseguest may be, Bertwig thinks that his underground presence will not affect the final price of the property, with bidding starting at 4.125 million kronor ($652,000).

“It’s definitely not a negative thing, more like a curious detail. Buyers will more likely be attracted to what the house looks like and how it’s built,” said Bertwig.

Bertwig thinks that it is nice that the house has received a lot of attention from Swedish media but pointed out that old medieval ruins are not at all uncommon on the island.

“There are several historical remains of buildings in Visby, and I have come across many during my 33 years as a realtor here,” he said.

The cellar housing the old church ruin and the skeleton are inaccessible from the house itself but are reached through a closed off entrance shared by the four adjoining properties.

Lucky owners of the venerable villa will be able to have their morning coffee in the garden whilst enjoying a chat over their tranquil tenant’s tomb.

“The living room is just above the chancel of the Russian church and the 800-year-old individual resting in a glassed crypt is actually outside the housing unit. He is under the patio,” Bertwig explained.

Evidence uncovered during excavations in the 1970s show that people have lived in the area for at least 4000 years, classifying the discovery as truly historic land worth safeguarding by the state.

To house owners, this means that they can’t change much about the property.

Story continues below…

“It is protected, which means you are forbidden to do anything. Residents can’t alter the foundation or change anything below ground as it would be against the law, and visits cannot be made without respect and caution,” said Bertwig.

Though not allowed to interfere with the skeleton’s secluded slumber, Bertwig told The Local that prospective residents are more than welcome to take advantage of the skeleton’s presence by taking in the significance of history below their feet.

“They could bring down a few tables and some chairs if they wish. For those who enjoy history it makes for an exceptional opportunity to get right into the Middle Ages,” Bertwig told The Local.

Caroline Bursell (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:49 August 17, 2011 by jacquelinee
Cool! Wonder if there is a ghost thrown in for free too?
15:19 August 17, 2011 by conboy
I think they found the ex-missus
23:46 August 17, 2011 by axiom
way koool !
23:50 August 17, 2011 by Smallnose
At least the seller is open about it, this transparancy is typically Swedish. In Sicily one buys a house and the seller doesn't tell you there is a skeleton laid brick in the wall. Or in Belgium in your garden.
Today's headlines
Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Forgotten Ingmar Bergman script to be made into a film
It's thought the script was part of an ill-fated collaboration between Bergman (left) and Federico Fellini (right). Photo: AP

Written in 1969, the script is 'up to the standard of his best', according to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Sweden's consumption footprint 'among the worst'
Trucks transporting goods on a Swedish highway. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden has been criticized for its unsustainable consumption of the planet's resources in the latest edition of a major WWF study.

Video: How to be Joel Kinnaman for a day
Kinnaman with one of the camera rigs that will allow people inside his head. Photo: Tele2

The Swedish Hollywood actor will strap a camera to his head, stream it live and allow viewers to interact with him this weekend.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
How Stockholm's cold climate boosts creativity
Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Do long, dark winters actually make Swedes more creative and more productive? We spoke to Stockholm startups to find out.

Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available