The Ghost of Maeshowe

Activity: KE and Outreach activitiesTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Public lecture/debate/seminar


All those hillocks and fairy knowes, the ancient burial mounds – what is inside them? One thing is for sure: They are no ordinary piles of soil and stone. The mounds are alive. It is said that in your grandfather’s father’s time, folk in the parish saw strange lights over the mound at night, a magical fire. They knew then that a great treasure was hidden in the mound. But who would go and fetch it? Last time anyone tried such a thing, out in Evie it was, six cows and six family members died within a year. The Hog Boy does not easily let go of his gold. There are stories of heroes of long ago – Grettir the Strong, and Hromund Gripsson – who braved the mound, went in, and fought the Hog Boy for his treasure. And a hard fight he put up, too. A pursuit for real heroes. This talk explores folklore on “inhabited” mounds and treasure, from the Norse period into modern times. The most famous among these is the great Maeshowe, broken into in the 1150s by aspiring heroes seeking treasure and adventure. Who was the ghost they expected to fight?
Period20 Feb 2016
Event title6th Papay Gyro Nights Festival
Event typeExhibition
LocationUnited KingdomShow on map


  • Folklore
  • Folklore Orkney
  • Folklore Norse
  • saga literature