Asylum-seekers in Sweden fear refugee shelter is haunted

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STOCKHOLM (AP) — Thirty-five asylum-seekers have asked to be relocated from a refugee housing facility in southern Sweden because they believe it's haunted by ghosts, officials said Wednesday.

The asylum-seekers were spooked by flickering lights and noise in the plumbing system at the facility in Grannaforsa, a small village in Smaland province, said Magnus Petersson, a local manager at the Swedish Migration Agency.

Petersson said 35 of the 58 people living in the shelter came to the agency's office in the nearby town of Alvesta on Tuesday, demanding to be relocated. They reluctantly returned to the shelter at the end of the day after being told there were no ghosts — and no alternative housing available — Petersson said.

"I know that in their faith there is a different view on spirituality," he said. "We were responsive to them but somewhere you have to use your common sense and believe in science."

Sweden has received a record 150,000 asylum-seekers this year, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The large influx has left the Swedish Migration Agency scrambling to find housing, including in remote villages surrounded by thick forest and roaming wildlife.

Hamid Alojaili, a Syrian resident of the Grannaforsa facility, told local newspaper Smalandsposten "we are sure" that the building is haunted.

"Doors are getting reopened by themselves," he said in English in a video clip posted on the paper's website. "And there is no one outside."

Many get the feeling they are not alone even in the bathroom, he said, adding that the residents would rather stay in tents than in Grannaforsa "because it's too dangerous to be there."

Stefan Johansson, a co-owner of the facility, said it was built in the 19th century and was long used as a home for disabled people. During World War II, it housed German deserters.

Johansson said there are natural explanations for all the things that frighten the asylum-seekers.

"It's an old house and the doors maybe are a bit crooked," he said. "Sometimes there are cracking noises in the pipes."

The flickering lights were caused by glitches in electrical switches, he said.

"We have explained all this to them. How much of it they took in I don't know," Johansson said.

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