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Finding missing people by binding spirits 

A common spell in trolldom to handle missing people is to bind the spirit of the place where the person or creature have gone missing. Let´s say a person has gone missing around a lake. Then it is the Sjörå (The Lake or Sea Rae) who is to be addressed and magically bound.



One way to do this is to take three Alder branches of three different lengths. The shortest is inserted vertically into the water close to the beach so that it sticks to the bottom of the lake. Then the longest is inserted a bit further out and lastly the middle length one is inserted in between them. Then the Sjörå is addressed and told that she is now bound and will not be released until NN (whatever or whoever) has been released. Above is a picture of Graneby-Joak from Österbotten in the Swedish speaking part of Finland showing how it is done. (Picture taken by the famous folklorist Walter Forsblom in 1917).

This procedure is believed to force the spirit to release whatever they hold. Once the person, creature or item has been found the alder sticks are removed again with appropriate words of releasement and gratitude.

A similar procedure is done if a person or creature go missing in the woods. It consists by going to a road that goes through the particular forest and finds a tree on each side. A rope or string it then tied to a branch on each tree and the two is then pulled and tied across the road with words similar to those above. Once the person or creature is found the ropes are untied with words of releasement and gratitude.


Of course the trollkunnig person performing this must have a firm belief, a focused mind and authority enough to be convincing to a nature spirit.

 In modern days the methods are still employed with additional modern adaptations to people who disappear in urban areas. A similar trolldom can also be used on the spirit of living people in order for them to release something they hold. This can be unwanted emotions such as love, longing, hatred, envy and other things causing problems, it can be information they hold or it can be objects or items.


Written by

Johannes Gårdbäck

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