Interesting news for friends of Storsjöodjuret (The Great Lake Monster – often called Storsie outside of Sweden) – I found a rare press report from an old newspaper called Blekings-Posten yesterday in a digital media archive run by Kungliga Biblioteket (The Royal Library), dated to July 21 1857. This is by far the oldest report that I have dug up, the majority of the early ones usually dates to the 1890´s and there is quite a lot of them (as I discovered a few years ago, and made them public through the pages of RETROFUTURE). But this is an early one as it stands, beating the ones we have seen with nearly four decades.
The report in Blekings-Posten refers to an article in another newspaper called Norrlands-Posten (this existed from 1837), operated out of the town of Gävle and covering the Northern parts of the country, including this area (Jämtland County). This is interesting news as well since I have never seen a report in print in this newspaper before – in fact, I was not even aware of its existense. But this means that we could have many reports lost to the archives spanning quite a long time.
What is clear is that any researcher will realise that if you use the search word “Storsjöodjuret”, the earliest hits will be the 1890´s sightings. Nobody knows who came up with this name for the animal (whatever it may turn out to be), but it popped up around this time. I found this report using the word “Sjöorm” (or “Sea Serpent”), which is interesting.
The Government of Sweden declared a few years ago that all newspapers must be scanned and made public in a digital archive and this is now beginning to build up. No local newspaper has yet been added, nearly all found reports in this archive so far about Storsie has come from media in the Southern parts of Sweden. These reports usually refers to a local source. I know from a friend of mine that works in a library here in Östersund that some of the original newspapers (buried deep in local archives) are in a terrible state, and much may not even be possible to scan. This means that in many cases, the press reports that we can find today are from other parts of the country.
I also spotted an unknown article from Östgöta-Posten, dating back to August 19 1898, quoting a report from Jämtlands-Posten ( a local newspaper). The author in this one describes the local scene around 1851-1855 when he lived in the village of Ås, and all the sightings they had back then. Again, this goes back several decades, which is very interesting. This author did not use the word Storsjöodjuret for the animal, indicating that he did not like it.
These reports will see print in RETROFUTURE 7 – and I am very happy to add them in this issue so that they may live on for a long time.
(Picture shows a rare Storsie collectors item of unknown origin, spotted at an auction)