Sea of Ghosts: Is This Beach in Iceland Haunted?

A haunting night at Stokksness, Iceland.

By: Eric Bennett + Save to a List

This is a photo I took in 2015 that still brings back some chilling memories. This beach, while undoubtedly beautiful, is famous for the amount of ships that have wrecked on its treacherous shores. There is also an abandoned viking village not far from the sand (apparently it's a movie set). We had been here since the afternoon shooting and by sundown there was not another soul on the entire beach. A strong wind had been blowing and it cleaned up all the sand and erased the few footprints left by visitors that day. After sundown, we went to sleep in our car, hoping to wake up to Northern Lights in a few hours. When it was about 11PM or so something woke me up and I saw a spectacular show of Aurora dancing across the sky through the windshield. I quickly jumped out of the car, threw on a jacket, and ran out onto the beach with my camera. It was just incredible, after about 10 minutes or so I went back to the car to wake up Mattdog. The show was spectacular and we were both excited, so we both ran off in different directions, chasing comps in the dark. I shot this photo and a few others, until I setup my tripod in a new spot, not yet knowing what was in front of me, I took a 30" exposure and waited for it to show up on my screen so I could see my surroundings. The photo came up on my screen and what I saw immediately sent chills down my spine. 

There were big, clearly defined, wet footprints, leading from as far as I could see, all the way right up to where my tripod was, and then stopping there. I turned on my headlamp and looked around me, no other footprints or humans were in site. I knelt down and looked closely at the massive footprints, they were definitely fresh. Mattdog walked over to me and I told him that something crazy had just happened. He said he knew I was going to say that, because he had a creepy feeling the entire night since we had gone to bed. I showed him the photo of the footprints and he flipped out. He explained that earlier he had not been able to sleep because he felt like someone was standing outside of the car watching us. We stuck together to try and take a few more photos, but we started hearing voices being carried around the beach by the wind. A dark, heavy feeling started to weigh us down and so we both ran back to the car and drove out of the area as fast as we could. As soon as we got back to the highway, the heavy, ominous feeling lifted off our shoulders and we immediately felt better. We drove down the road a bit to another spot and continued to shoot the Aurora there. 

I've done plenty of night shooting alone, and I have never been a superstitious person or someone that gets scared by the dark or ghost stories, but this experiences was like nothing else. 

Coincidentally, I was in a hostel in Panama later on in 2016 and an Icelandic filmmaker was staying in my same dorm room. We began talking about Iceland and places I had been. I told him about this beach and asked him if he knew of any other ghost stories. With his face in shock, he explained to me that he had just finished filming a documentary about this beach and how it is haunted. He says there have been multiple sightings by locals of a giant, hairy man, walking out of the ocean at night. 

You can read more of my articles and see more of my photography on my website,

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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