Gunnuhver, the mud pool ghost

  • Gunnuhver is a highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents on the Reykjanes peninsula
  • Gunnuhver is a highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents on the Reykjanes peninsula
  • Gunnuhver is a highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents on the Reykjanes peninsula
  • Gunnuhver is a highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents on the Reykjanes peninsula

In the Icelandic nature, everything has a name, every mountain, every valley, every canyon, fissure or even crack.  And almost behind each name is a story. The most southern tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula is a spectacular place to visit. A highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents boiling practically under your feet – if you dare to walk the wooden planks crisscrossing the area. Indeed, here is where you find the biggest mud pool in Iceland, Gunnuhver – or Gunna hot spring.

The hot spring got its name from one troublesome ghost, Gunna.

Just before dying the woman Gunna had a fight with the local sheriff, Wilhelm whom she hated. When she died, their dispute had not been solved. Still, Wilhelm attended her funeral. Suspiciously the next day he was found dead; his body bruised and blue, his bones broken. His remains were taken to the Útskálar church where the priest, Gísli, had to fight Gunna the ghost throughout the night as she was determined to drag the sheriff to Hell.  Gunna the ghost did not succeed and went absolutely bonkers. Wilhelm‘s widow suddenly died an unexplainable death, people traveling the peninsula got lost, died or went mad. Everyone knew Gunna was to blame. She refused to stay dead – and was quite visible. Life on the Reykjanes peninsula became unbearable.

Finding a way to get rid of the ghost

Finally, two farmers, with some spiritual knowledge, decided to get the priest at Vogósar, Erik, to bust the ghost. Knowing Eric would be reluctant, they decided to bribe him with quite a potent poteen – which he was known to like a tad too much.  After listening to their plight, the priest gave the farmers a rope with a knot on one end. He told them to give the unknotted end to Gunna; the knotted end would trundle and drag her to a place where she would get stuck forever. The farmers did as they were told and the last sighting they heard of Gunna the ghost was when she plunged into the hot spring. They declared her dead, the peninsula became safe from her misconducts and gave the hot spring her name so everyone would know where Gunna met her final fate.

Gunnuhver in the Reykjanes peninsula, not far from the International airport in Iceland was once a beautiful little hot spring.

A few months ago Gunnuhver started to change its mood and became a bit angry and aggressive. The hot spring became louder and started to expand to a larger area. In a few days, Gunnuhver had consumed part of the platform intended for viewing its beauty and started to splash hot clay and boiling dirty drizzle all over the place. Although a bit calm these days, the former pretty little hot spring is considered quite dangerous. As we can see, there are still photographers that are prepared to take the risk on some of the platforms that Gunnuhver has not consumed, yet.