Yule-time Ghost Stories: Glámr the Icelandic Draugr, and 13 Candles

Did you know ghost stories used to be told on Christmas – that is, at Yule-time? It was a tradition popular in Victorian England (think Dickens’ A Christmas Carol), but it also goes back much farther.

In fact, today’s story goes all the way back to 13th-century Iceland, a time not so distant from the Pagan days of that island. It tells of a kind of Scandinavian revenant called a draugr. You can hear clear echoes of Beowulf and such tales. And yet, this is also a Christmas story. Like most of the Norse sagas, it took final shape after the conversion to Christianity, but still preserves a clear Pagan folk flavor. This is the story of Glámr the Icelandic Draugr.

Plus, as a bonus, author Andre Sólo, who has written here before, shares an original Christmas ghost story of his own writing called 13 Candles.

You can also listen to last year’s Christmas special with ghost stories from Japan, Sweden, and Appalachia.

Finally, if you support the show, you can get your portrait drawn in the time period and culture of your choosing. Check it out at http://www.patreon.com/deadideaspod.

Have a Haunted Holidays everybody!


Dead Ideas is a podcast delivering history with humor. We explore ideas once believed to be true, but no longer. Each dead idea is explore in all its glorious eccentricity. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast apps, or at deadideas.net.

The Author

B. T. Newberg

B. T. Newberg:  Since the year 2000, B. T. has been practicing meditation and ritual from a naturalistic perspective. He has served as Education Director for the Spiritual Naturalist Society, where he created an online course in naturalistic spirituality (including Naturalistic Paganism!). His writings can also be found at Patheos and Pagan Square, as well as right here at HP.

He also hosts a podcast called Dead Ideas: The Podcast of Extinct Thoughts and Practices. It explores ideas once believed to be true, but no longer.

Professionally, he was an ESL teacher for 12 years and now works in customer service. After living in Minnesota, England, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea, he currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and cat.

After founding HumanisticPaganism.com in 2011 and serving as managing editor till 2013, he now serves as advising editor, and feels blessed to be a part of this community.

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