Some weeks ago, my brother hosted a sales event at an old mansion called Marjaniemi in Ruissalo, Turku, Finland. Afterwards, he told me that the hostess of the building had given the guests a “ghost tour” of the house.
Obviously, this sparked my interest, so I set up a meeting with the hostess in question, Laura Louko, and she gave me the same tour.
Here’s my “report”.
Thank you, Laura, for your time and hospitality!
(old photo of the porch)
The manor was built in 1857 by P.C. von Rettig, a tobacco factory owner. He lived and died a bachelor, and because he had no children to pass the villa on to, its ownership went to P.C.’s nephew Fredric, who lived there with his family from 1874 onwards. Fredric also later took charge of the tobacco factory.
Through the decades the manor has passed from one owner to another, but the basic structure of the building is essentially the same, despite a new wing being added in the 1900s.
During WWII, Villa Marjaniemi served as a communications headquarters where secret coded messages were received and decoded. There was a long antenna outside in the yard, masked as a tree branch.
People have lived and died there for over a century, and the place oozes the patina of an old manor from one of those classic horror films produced by Hammer Films.
On a snowy Winter day in early 2019, I arrived at Villa Marjaniemi to get a personal “haunted tour” of the premises. Laura greeted me with coffee, hospitality, and some eerie tales.
Without further ado, here are the stories she told me.
When I started working here around 2012, we employed three cleaners, who commuted to work from Artukainen, a borough of the city of Turku. They would walk in through the the back door.
One day, they were coming to work when they heard the sound of a piano being played really loudly inside the villa. The only problem is, there was no piano in the villa back then, and nobody was in here.
Two of them refused to come back here, and quit their jobs.
A few years ago, we hosted some sort of a sad event here, a funeral I think. I had let the staff go home already, so I was the only one here.
I went outside to take down the Finnish flag from the flagpole. As I was folding the flag, I happened to glance upwards, towards the third floor of the villa. That’s when I noticed there was a light on up there, I could see it through a window. It’s one of those motion sensor lights: it goes on when you walk in the room, and turns off when it doesn’t detect movement for a while.
But there was nobody up there to turn the light on, not even bats or some other animals.
Next thing I see, a light in the second floor goes on, then a light in the first floor! I was terrified and started shaking. It was like someone had walked downstairs from the third floor to the first, activating the motion sensor lights on his/her way. But again, there was absolutely nobody else in the villa besides me – I checked several times before and after the incident with the lights.
A while after that, something else happened.
We have several fireplaces here, and I had stored firewood for them in anticipation for an event we were going to host here. I kept the logs in my office.
I went away for a short vacation, and closed all the doors to the villa; nobody would be coming in during the time I was away.
When I came back to work, I found the logs scattered in front of the fireplaces around the house. Somebody, or something, had placed a portion of logs in front of each fireplace.
I never found out who had done it, or why.
We were about to host a memorial event for someone here, and we hired some workers to install lighting. They were young guys from a vocational school who were studying to be electricians.
As they were working upstairs in the third floor, tools suddenly started dropping off of a totally balanced, straight table. There were no massive tools being used that could have caused such shaking or anything like that – the tools just moved across the table and dropped off, without explanation.
Just as with the cleaners, some of these workers did not come back, either. We literally had to replace them.
Several people who have stayed in the upstairs rooms have reported hearing footsteps coming towards their room across the hall, and then feeling someone or something blow cold air on them.
(hallway connecting the guest rooms)
Several folks who live within a short distance from this villa have told me about seeing the lights go on in the house without anyone seemingly inside.
During WWII this villa served as the place where secret coded messages were received and decrypted. The cellar served as the office for this activity.
Sometimes I can hear the sounds of morse codes being sent with one of those machines they had for that back in the day, but of course, no such machines are down in the cellar anymore.
What’s your own personal view regarding the paranormal? Are you open to it or skeptical?
I’m fairly open-minded about these kinds of events. My experiences of this type are not limited to just Marjaniemi.
Years ago I was living in downtown Turku, and was pregnant. One night, my then-spouse went out, and I was alone.
I had an intense, very vivid dream where my spouse’s grandmother appeared to me, and said, in a loud voice: “So that’s how it’s gonna be!”
My heart beat like crazy for hours afterwards.
Also, years ago, I worked at a skiing center in Sweden. On several nights, I could clearly hear someone walking around in the hallways of the place I lived in, opening and closing the doors, though nobody was supposed to be in there besides me.
I’m not afraid of these phenomena. Though I do have to say that I prefer not to be alone at Marjaniemi after dark! (laughs)