So I’ve mentioned before that I’m writing a ghost story all November. I’m going to do my best to turn it into a gothic novel. It’s just that there’s very little by way of mansions and such in Finland. Even less so in the area I’m basing the book; Savo. Anyway. So this book has me thinking about ghosts and ghost stories.
So in Finnish folklore, there are different väki aka “fairies”. Please read that word with the appropriate disdain. Väki is both magical power and also a variety of supernatural creatures. There’s the väki of the hearth which includes sauna elves and the magic of the home. Väki for fire, earth, water, air, storms, and so on. And there’s also Kalman väki, the power of death.
So kalman väki obviously includes the ghosts of the dead. And also the power wielded by the dead and those who work with the dead. How many times do you think I can fit the words “the dead” into this blog post? Anyway. Kalman väki also includes creatures that have never been humans but are nonetheless drawn to the dead of humans.
As far as ghosts go, there are two kinds. There are the ones that live around the graveyard that may follow you home and make you sick and then there are the other kind. The other kind of ghosts just exist in the world and can help you or hurt you depending on their whims and how you treat them. There’s another type of ghost that will basically only manifest for mass on Christmas night, led by a ghostly pastor.
And that’s kind of the kind of thing that I’ve been missing from the ghost stories I’ve been reading lately. All the ghosts seem to be very malevolent or helpless. And for my part, there’s a lack of ghosts just trying to live their afterlives. Seeing a ghost that is spending some time in their moment of death can be and should be traumatic to a living human. No malice required on the ghost’s part. There are just so many ways that ghosts can be scary that don’t necessarily require them to be evil. And I’m excited to explore them!
An example of those kinds of stories is about a restaurant named Kappeli here in Helsinki. There’s a story that stuff moves around on its own in the cellar all the time. Glasses get knocked over, doors open and close on their own and chairs get put up on the table. Supposedly, it’s the ghost of Josef Wolontis, who was the restauranteur there at the turn of the century. He’s simply trying to keep the order of the place. And that, I think is the stuff that I want to explore. Especially since it’s going to be the deceased of the family. I foresee many juicy family fights.