The Mysterious Murder Case That's Captivated Iceland for Nearly 200 Years

It was the murder of the century in Iceland -but not a recent century. In March of 1828, Agnes Magnúsdóttir alerted the neighbors that the farmhouse where she worked, called Illugastaðir, was on fire.

When the rescuers arrived and extinguished the blaze, the scene was even worse than they expected. Inside, they discovered the bodies of Natan Ketilsson, the farm’s owner, and his guest, Pétur Jónsson. Though the two were badly burned, the rescuers could see it wasn't the fire that had caused their deaths: They'd been murdered. The men had been stabbed 12 times and bludgeoned with a hammer before the fire had been set with shark oil.

The authorities quickly arrested both Agnes and Illugastaðir’s other maid, Sigríður Guðmundsdóttir, as well as a young man named Friðrik Sigurdsson. Although the trio's motives were murky, local gossips suspected the crime had something to do with their romantic entanglements.

"Entanglements" was the word. Agnes was in love with Natan, who loved a married woman in a lengthy and public affair. But Natan also slept with 15-year-old Sigríður, which made Agnes jealous, and who knows what Friðrik thought of all that. Anyway, the case ended with two beheadings, which were the last executions in Iceland. All these years later, there are still many questions surrounding the murders that will never be answered. Read the story as we know it at Mental Floss.

(Image credit: Ragnachar)


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