31 - Byavisa, January 23rd 2007
KOPPERÅ: Kopperå can have many more inhabitants than assumed. Halvard Nordfjæran found nine in Verksgården alone.
He has never been in Verksgården before. He doesn’t know the house or its history. We have told him that we are going to Kopperå and that there is ”unrest” up there.
We pass Stageberg in Flora. – Now I have started to focus on the house we’re going to. I can feel movement on the stairs. There is a large room on the first floor. Sitting in the front seat, Hallvard Nordfjæran sort of zooms in the house but at the same time he seems remote. He breathes more heavily. – Now I’m being taken down to the basement. Now I feel the shivers of truth. This is a confirmation of what is happening. There is central heating in the basement.
A short pause. It is 30 km. to our destination.
- Now I’m receiving a grown man. Han has worked there. Still does, to put it like that. Now he is looking at me. In surprise. He knows we are coming. It doesn’t seem as if we will be received with open arms. A new pause for a few seconds. – Now I’m receiving others. Someone is making food. There are 2-3 children there. It feels as if there has been shooting. I sense soldiers who are marching.
We have turned off to Kopperåveien. By Verksgården we are met by Iver Botnan and his daughter, Birgit. He has worked at the foundry all his working life and lived in the house across from Verksgården. Birgit grew up in the village. For the past few years she has had responsibility for catering to arrangements in Verksgården.
Nordfjæran wants to know as little as possible about the house in which he is going to look for spirits so as not to confuse his own thoughts with his impressions. He starts by taking a walk around the house. Elkem's representative, Tom Ketil Karlsen, unlocks the door so we can go inside the house which was built in 1931, the same period as Kopperå Church. While Nordfjæran wanders around on his own, Iver tells about guests who have heard sounds from the upstairs like the swishing of a fishing rod in motion. The house was previously used by English and Swedish royals as a fishing lodge. Stories about strange happenings in the lodge have circulated for years. Doors bang closed and open by themselves. Some refuse to be closed. Footsteps have been heard by people who were positive that they were alone in the house.
Nordfjæran comes back to the living room and sits down. And focuses his eyes again. –Some people are sitting by the table by the window. They are grinning at us. In one of the bedrooms I met a couple in their 40’s. They don’t want to hurt anyone. They actually like being here. In the basement, I met a man in the boiler room. He mentioned the year 1943. He wasn’t small or thin but had a round face. Shorter than me. He knew that we were coming. There has been a lot of traffic through a hatch on the outside of the house especially during the war. I can also see men in uniforms. They follow a certain path and stayed here more than one day. It is here in the dining room that we find the center of the spiritual activity. Someone is standing by the fireplace. Over there by the chest, says Nordfjæran. His gaze is focused. He breathes calmly but audibly.
Nordfjæran makes another tour of the house. Birgit has been listening. Now she shares her experiences:
- Someone fools around with the stove. Once in a while I say quite firmly that he must stop. That helps. Once I saw a dark man’s figure go by in the basement. A door in the hallway is impossible to close. When I was about to serve some school children refreshments one day, the volume on the old radio went suddenly berserk. Up and down. I said that it had to stop. Then the sound came down to an acceptable level. Birgit tells about an incident when a woman who was there to help her couldn’t get into the wine cellar. She met an invisible wall in the door opening. Another person went right through without a problem.
- I have never been the victim of witchcraft, but no matter how many times we count there is never the right amount of cutlery when we set the table. Always one too little or one too many. Iver interrupts. Tells that all the pages in the guest book for the war years are cut out. Therefore little is known about what happened here from 1940 to 1945. Nordfjæran comes back for the third time. He tells us that the man in the boiler room has worked both at the foundry and on the farm.
- When he realized that I had come he received me courteously. Someone is here to put some wood on the fire. It’s a lively party. It is possible that guests here have experienced things upstairs like the feeling of not being alone or seeing shadows. Perhaps they heard someone in the basement or in the bathroom.
- Sounds like the scraping of chairs on the floor or the smell of tobacco can have occurred.
He sits beside the long table and stares at one of the windows.
- There are 4 people sitting by that table. They seem to be relaxed and enjoy music. They are probably servants. One of them is a wheeler dealer type, I’d say none of them has an A in Math. The man in the basement is dirty but a sympathetic creature. He gave me the impression that he’d like to move on. The couple upstairs are dressed in clothing from some decades ago. They are ready to leave. The uniforms I see are German. The man in the cellar suffered a quick and painful death.
Travelling assistance: Halvard Nordfjæran helps a well-dressed gentleman over to ”the light”.
- Do they have a message?
- They say that, to their surprise, there is a life after death. This is not unusual. The man by the fire place has a dark suit, white socks and black shoes. He is 180 cm. tall and has smooth hair. It looks like he has an assistent. Iver Botnan tells that the Germans took Nustadfoss during the war. They produced chrome for steel there. Verksgården was the headquarters for the German soldiers. – It is unwise to deny it when one experiences things. Then one becomes scared, says Nordfjæran.
From 1930 Verksgården had its own caretaker. The staff manager and his assistent were responsible for the lodge. The position of caretaker was done away with in the 1980’s.
Nordfjæran suddenly comes in telepathic contact with an older man with a limp in working clothes. He gets up and walks demonstratively dragging his left foot. Demonstrates a cap being lifted as a friendly greeting. – The man was grieving over something he had lost or never had. Iver Botnan becomes interested. – I recognize that. Can you get a name? – Yes, the letter R is a part of it, at least. – Then I know who it is. I’ll find out more about it, Iver adds.
Nordfjæran wants to help the total of 9 spirits he has localized in Verksgården, over to the other side – ”the light” as he calls it – with telepathy. Birgit suddenly feels very thirsty. She exclaims: - Uff, now there’s a terrible noise on the stairs. I hear heavy footsteps. Nordfjæran nods. He thinks the house will be more peaceful but says that new spirits might move in – for example, guests who come back here after their death.
We go outside. Botnan and Karlsen invite us on a guided tour of the village. The people of Kopperå were self-sufficient. They had their own hospital, train station, swimming hall, swimming pool, school, meeting hall and co-op store.
- The difference between rich and poor , high and low, was great. 600 persons worked here. The community resembled Sauda, says Botnan.
Our tour goes past the caretaker’s house, the manager’s house, the mess hall and administration building. Once there were cows, a duck pond and a stall with horses. Nordfjæran asks Karlsen to stop outside the manager’s house.
- There is a man watching us from the left upstairs window. Nobody lives here now? – No, there hasn’t been anyone here for years, confirms Karlsen. Maybe the population of Kopperå is much higher than the official numbers......
Activity: Halvard Nordfjæran found nine spirits in Verksgården in Kopperå.
Disappeared: Iver Botnan with the guest book where the pages from the war years are missing.Back to Top