Road to Misthusum

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The old village of Misthusum has long disappeared with the inhabitant moving to other villages over the years giving up the old village. The village only had a few houses and they were all built on terps which is a small mound to give the house a little elevation over the surrounding area. This way of construction was common in the low lying area from the Netherlands up through Germany to the southern part of Denmark.

The location of the houses on a small mound helped give some protection against the winter storms which tended to flood the area on an infrequent basis. The mounds are only a couple of meters high so they only gave protection against the normal storms which hit every year. But rarely a much bigger storm hit the area – and it might even hit during high tide which will make the water level even higher. One such storm hit the area in 1634 and it pretty much destroyed the village of Misthusum along with many other villages – a total of 44 people drowned in the village which had only 10 farms.

Terps in the low landscape where the houses used to be

The devastation did lead to the total abandonment of the village – it was rebuilt and 1781 there was 13 families living in the town – but only 10 years later the last child was born in the village and in 1814 the villages was abandoned and nobody has lived there since then.

The destruction of the village wasn’t the only hardship the small village has endured. There was a road between the village of Hjemsted leading to the village of Misthusum. The local villages had a disagreement and couldn’t decide if the people of Misthusum were allowed to use the road which the village of Hjemsted claimed to own. The local representative of the king decided if the twelve men from Misthusum would stand on the middle of the road and swear they had the right to use the road they would be able to use the road in the future.

The last old house on the top of a terp

The men went to stand on the road and they swore they were standing on their own soil. But they had been up to a trick. They had filled their boots with dirt from their own fields – hence they were standing on their own soil even though they indeed didn’t have the right to the road. The village of Misthusum did get the right to the road – but all the men swearing they had the right to the road died under unfortunate circumstances shortly afterwards and they started hunting the grounds as ghost saying they had sworn untruthfully and had all gone to hell.

Terps in the marsk of Misthusum

A young girl decided she would try to save the ghost by preventing 11 men from killing themselves. She left the village and didn’t return until she had fulfilled her task. When she was an old woman she returned to the village and made the sign of the cross in front of the men and they disappeared never to be seen again.

To get to the old village of Misthusum today you have to follow a sign to the village and drive out along a very small dirt road – which is suitable for normal vehicles. The drive is pretty far and you might think you are lost – but just keep going you are on the right track in the middle of nowhere to the village. When you leave you have to backtrack along the same dirt road.

5 comments

  1. Only to ask – is there any joy in south Denmark? The landscape is bleak, weather is dicey, the people in the story are dreadfully unfriendly, even the ghosts don’t appeal, I am not sure why anyone would wish to visit such a morbid place. Do you?

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    1. It was a harsh life in the marsk in this area and people had to fight hard to survive. In the end they did give up on this remote village and left to somewhere else which is unknown at least to me. But it do tell something about the hard ships the people went through in denmark and the rest of Europe just a few hundred years ago to survive.

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  2. I need to explain just in case you are both surprised that I have clicked ‘like’. It is a plus point for your heroic efforts to write about the places close where you live, but most of the people, especially now, need something to lift their spirits. By the way, congratulation to your colleague for her perfect English, better than mine.

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