Photographs: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today
While exploring the town I now live in on the west coast of Finland, I came across a post on the Old Rauma Ghost Tour. I inhabited one of the centuries-old wooden houses in the old section of the city, and that made me curious to know if I could be surrounded by paranormal spirits. I booked two spots—one for me and my partner—immediately.
We reached the ruins of the old church in Vanha Rauma where our host, who introduced herself as Saana, was all set to startle us with her black robe. For a second, my imagination thought she is a spirit in the twilight.
By following the rules of physical distancing, we descended toward the east street renowned as the ghost lane by night. Saana explained that most paranormal activities have been reported happening on this street. She explained that the spirits in Vanha Rauma do not harm humans. But they do not like changes.
While crossing this lane we began hearing piano music, which gave a mysterious effect to the tour. Saana told a story of how kids could interact and see the spirits. Some kids had once described a ladylike spirit to her.
The kids had told her that one day when their family had decided to move from Vanha Rauma, and when their mother had started packing bags during the night, they were shocked by a loud banging of doors and drawers. The spirit, who was later identified as the Lady of Tekkala, had made her presence known. She didn’t like changes.
That reminded me of when someone took a shower in our house, we heard a loud banging of pipes.
What if the spirits didn’t like that we shower? (According to my husband, it was more likely that it was the basement’s heating system making noise.)
We moved forward and found ourselves standing at the lawn of the Church of the Holy Cross. Saana said that sometimes the church bell rang at odd hours. “The system is automated, and will not ring without a scheduled time,” she said.
My body felt goosebumps. I squeezed my husband’s hand so hard that he yelped.
While approaching our last stop, Saana led us along a street that seemed familiar to me. After a second, I realized that this road was actually leading to our house. I was praying that there wasn’t a story related to our place!
For my relief, she took a hard left, diverging from our street.
Later Saana said that the ghost stories were true based on her personal experience and interactions with the locals. Her theatrical narration of the stories, accompanied by her hand gestures and eye expressions, added interest in what she considered facts.
After the tour, the ghosts were still haunting my mind, so by the request of my editor, I called Mika Nikkilä, who has spent the best part of his life studying paranormal activity.
Nikkilä is the author of Suomen Aavemetsästäjät 1 and 2. (The Ghost Hunters of Finland.)
Nikkilä did remember hearing stories about the Lady of Tekkala.
But unfortunately, he said, he hadn’t had a chance to feel her presence yet.