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Norway's New Passion: Ghost Hunting

Like many Europeans, Marianne Haaland Bogdanoff, a travel agency manager in this southern Norwegian town, does not go to church, except maybe at Christmas, and is doubtful about the existence of God. But when "weird things"—inexplicable computer breakdowns, strange smells and noises and complaints from staff members of constant headaches—started happening at the ground-floor travel office, she slowly began to put aside her deep skepticism about life beyond the here and now. After computer experts, electricians and a plumber all failed to find the cause of her office's troubles, she finally got help from a clairvoyant who claimed powers to communicate with the dead.

She's not alone. While Norwegian churches may be empty and belief in God in sharp decline, "belief in, or at least fascination with, ghosts and spirits is surging. Even Norway's royal family has flirted with ghosts, with a princess coaching people on how to reach out to spirits." As one Norwegian pastor said, "God is out but spirits and ghosts are filling the vacuum. Belief in God, or at least a Christian God, is decreasing but belief in spirits is increasing,"

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