It’s dark, it’s winter, you are huddled in bed in that strange, yet beautiful limbo just before sleep…then a crash! The sound of a door slamming in the house…
Yet all doors are meant to be locked and sealed. All family members are meant to be fast asleep. No burglar alarm has made a sound… what is going on?
If you live outside Iceland, how you react depends on who you are. The nonchalant may shrug it off, thinking its a seasonal draft, whilst the paranoid might grab the heaviest item near their bedside and skulk out in search of a home intruder.
If it is the night before the 18th of December in Iceland, however, the slamming sound tell those with any sense to bury themselves in their duvets and pray that the noise was nothing but a bad dream.
See Also: Folklore in Iceland
This is, after all, the night when the seventh Yule Lad descends.
Hurðaskellir, it seems, has a modus operandi he learnt from the oldest of horror tropes. In English, his name is ‘Door-Slammer’, and as this half-troll embarks on his thirteen day journey from Dimmuborgir over the festive season, it is all he intends to do.
Until the end of the month, he will sneak from home to home, reaching the furthest ends of the Westfjords to the bustling centre of Reykjavík, to break in and bang as many doors as he can in order to wake those sleeping inside.
Inspiring fear as quickly as he throws families into arguments (‘who woke me up at three in the morning?’), he retires back to his mountain home in North Iceland, satisfied that he’s caused as much trouble as possible.
With Hurðaskellir roaming the country along with his six other brothers, each wreaking havoc in their own way, Iceland is now in the full ‘swing’ of its Christmas traditions.