Sweden's Migration Agency has forced the refugees to return to the house. Photo: TT
A group of Syrians have fled in terror from a refugee centre in southern Sweden after a succession of strange, inexplicable happenings left them convinced it was haunted by ghosts.
Thirty five of the 38 refugees housed at a centre in Grännaforsa, a small village in Småland, took refuge in the offices of the Migration Agency in the nearby town of Alvesta on Tuesday, after the incidence of strange activity increased.
“In the last three days it has been getting worse and worse with these ghosts,” Hamid Alojaili from Syria told Sveriges Radio at the centre in Alvesta.
“We are too scared. Last night nobody slept at all, neither the kids nor us.”
Magnus Peterson, head of the Migration Agency in Alvesta, told the local Smålandsposten newspaper that the refugees' complaint was “surprising”.
“We have had no indications that there would be problems with ghosts before,” he said.
“We are taking this seriously, and believe that we can explain the events. The ghosts may in fact be wild animals which have got into the garden. The refugees come from a different culture with spiritual beliefs.”
Alojaili said that one of the refugees' children had reported seeing a ghost soon after their arrival.
“He opened the room and he saw something on top of the table, and when he tried to find out what was that thing, that thing jumped under the table and disappeared,” Alojaili said.
“At the beginning we thought it was only our kids who were giving us stories, but then we adults started hearing sounds,” he continued.
He said that doors in the house were inexplicably unlocked, the fire alarm would go off for no reason, and that refugees frequently heard the showers or toilets being used, only to discover that there was no one inside them.
“These kids they didn't eat since yesterday, they didn't drink, they are unable even to go to the toilet. It is the same for the ladies. Everyone is afraid,” he said.
The refugee added that when the temporary residents complained to the local Swedish person managing the refugee centre, they admitted that it was haunted.
“He said, ‘Yes, but it's a good ghost, it is not a bad ghost. We know about it, and even in my house we have one. These good ghosts, they clean up after you. They don't do anything bad to you.'”
Peterson said that the refugees had returned to the centre on Wednesday, after the Migration Agency told them that no alternative accommodation was available.
“Everything went calmly, some had gone back earlier,” he said. “There was no problem. They want to find another accommodation, but it is impossible.
Stefan Johansson, a co-owner of the facility, told AP newswire that the building had been constructed in the 19th century and that its creaky piping may have alarmed residents.
“It's an old house and the doors maybe are a bit crooked,” he said. “Sometimes there are cracking noises in the pipes.”
The flickering lights were caused by problems with the electrical wiring he said.
“We have explained all this to them. How much of it they took in I don't know,” he said.