Akershus Castle is a medieval castle in Oslo, Norway
Norway sports an abundance of supernatural legends and eerie ghost stories. For many years, parts of Akershus Festning served as a prison for some of Norway's most notorious criminals. The sentence often involved grueling physical labor, and the prison was notorious for using irons, chains, and prisoner isolation as disciplinary techniques.
Over the years, there’s been several reports of whispers and scratching along the fortress hallways, and several guards have noticed weird anomalies – like the sensation of being pushed – while alone on duty. The prison at Akershus Festning was closed in 1950. For 700 years, the castle has guarded the capitals inner harbor and has never in its history been breached by a foreign hostile force. This, however, does not mean that blood hasn’t been shed in its dim corridors and beyond the high walls. Slavery at Akershus was established quite quickly after the order was put into operation in 1730, already in 1739, but only after the fortress was taken out of active military use in 1815 it was extended to a major penal institution. From the 1820s, slavery took over several buildings and became the most important activity on the fortress.
Those who ended up at the slaves were prisoners who had been convicted of serious crimes but who had escaped the death penalty. Among the prisoners who sat at Akershus, there are many names that are known in the past, such as the masterpiece Ole Høiland, Gjest Baardsen and Lars Danger from the Kautokeino Revolution.
The prisoners were put to work hard on the fortress, or if they were sick or old to work in the workshop. Steinhoggeriet was an important workplace, and several of the prisoners became highly skilled rockers. Among other things, the lions on Løvebakken outside the parliament were made by a prisoner at Akershus. They could also be taken out of town to work, including roadworks. The prisoners were then hired by the city or private. Those who trusted could work with private individuals outside the fortress.
The laboratory kitchen was built as a lonely prison in 1836.
Prisoners lived in large dorms. From the 1840s, new thoughts came into the penalty system. The aim was to isolate the prisoners from each other so that they could not adversely affect each other. Such solutions were not implemented at Akershus, and in the second half of the 19th century, it was protested that young offenders were placed with hard-barked criminals who could teach them. A "lonely prison" was built in 1836, but these were punishment for prisoners who broke rules and not a common place for prisoners.
In 1854 the word slavery was abolished, and instead, the prison was called Akershus penal office. The large dorms were partly retained, but they began to take in primarily former convicts, while first-time sons ended up at the Botsfengsel or elsewhere. Work in the fortress continued as before, but it eventually stopped working outside the fortress area. Although still a military area, the Akershus Fortress is open to the public.