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Rutschkana, Storsjöodjuret.

The Great Lake Monster

Does it really exist? In spite of more than 200 observations over the years, no solid evidence has been found to prove that the Great Lake Monster exists. Nor that it doesn’t…
Records from as early as the 17th century tells us about the existence of a great monster or creature in the lake. The painting below shows how the artist Harald Millgård experienced his encounter with the monster in 1935.

 

 

The Great Lake Monster has its own exhibition at Jamtli. You can listen to people’s stories of their encounters with the monster, you can get to know the history of the company which was founded in Östersund in 1894 in order to capture it, and you can read all about how it came to be protected by law in 1986.
In Jamtli’s archives, there is a large collection of tales, newspaper articles and other material for those who wish to learn more about this mysterious creature.

Fångstsax.
Attempts to capture

This large trap was used in the attempts to capture The Great Lake Monster in the end of the 19th century. A whole pig was used as bait. The attempt failed, and the current theory is that the monster only eats fish.

An ancient history

The Great Lake Monster (or one of his cousins…) is depicted on the Frösön rune stone, made some time between 1050 and 1080.

Storsjöodjuret.
The Great Lake Monster at Jamtli

The Great Lake Monster at Jamtli is a kind creature. Many children and adults have laughingly gone down the slide through the monster’s belly, to the exiting exhibitions below.

Ester Rehn’s story

An example is Ester Rehn’s story, published in “Jämtlands Tidning” on August 12th, 1947:
“I was only 18 when I saw it, and now I’m 71, so it’s been a long time since it happened. But I remember everything as clearly as if it was yesterday. I lived in Sörbyn then, and one day my sister Karin, three years my senior, and I were going down to the shore to do some laundry. My sister stopped to close a gate, and then I, who walked ahead of her, saw something, which I first thought was a boat that came through the water with great speed from the direction of the bridge to Östersund. I yelled out to my sister to come and look at the boat, but when she reached me it was so close that we saw that if it was a boat, it was upside down.
With tremendous speed the object drew closer, and we were soon convinced that it had to be an animal. In the lake, just outside where we were standing, the beast stopped, and my sister , who was fast and not easily scared ran down to a stone in the lake and yelled:
‘Come on you ugly beast, I’ll give you.’
And she threw rocks towards it and she was so close that several of the rocks hit the water very close to the creature. But then it got angry, you could see it in its eyes which were large and rolling. It moved quickly towards my sister, who leapt back onto the shore, and I climbed up into a birch tree, you could never know if the beast would get up on land. How you can manage to climb a birch with completely smooth bark is incomprehensible. But when you’re young you can do almost anything.
So there I was, and you couldn’t ask for a better view. The beast was approximately three meters long and grey as an elephant, with smooth and hard skin. Its head was the size of a large jug and it had some bumps on its back. In its terrifying wide mouth its tongue went up and down in an intimidating way, its eyes were rolling as I’ve said, and its ears were also large and standing out. It seemed to have a tail with enormous strength. We only saw the upper part of it, but its back was broad, and I’m sure it wasn’t a snake, as it later has been claimed. For four hours – between eight and noon – the beast stayed there, and Karin threw rocks at it, it came back, she ran, and then it withdrew a bit again. But then it finally disappeared and we could start doing the laundry. We were very frightened when we walked back home in the evening through the darkness with our two heavy buckets filled with laundry. When our mother asked us if we were tired and hungry and wanted some food, we couldn’t answer her because we had gone all pale with horror…”