Monday 3 August 2009

Icelandic lake monsters.

There are stories of lake monsters in Iceland going back centuries. Here are two :

Kleifarvatn Lake Monster

Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland, situated in the southern part of the peninsula. The lake is quite isolated and can only be reached via a track. The barren, volcanic surroundings of the lake are unusual and haunting . It is 97 meters deep. After an earthquake in 2000, the lake began to diminish, and 20% of its surface has since disappeared. Consequently it varies in size during the year. Char from Lake Hlidarvatn were released into the lake in the sixties and have thrived quite well and people go there to fish. According to local folklore , a monster in the shape of a worm and the size of a medium sized whale occupies the lake. Because of the lake’s isolation little evidence is available ,however it is not the only worm like creature reported in an Icelandic Lake.

The Lagarfljot Worm

Lagarfljot, also called Lake Logurinn, is situated near Egilsstaoir, in Eastern Iceland. The lake covers approximately 20 square miles, is roughly 15 miles long, 1.5 miles wide and has a maximum depth of about 336 feet. This is an icy freshwater lake. According to legend, a giant worm lives in the lake. The story goes that it was originally a harmless earthworm. A local girl once put it on top of her gold ring to make the gold grow, the worm grew too and the girl threw it into Lagarfljót along with her ring. The worm has lived there ever since, guarding the gold. The worm is first mentioned in the Icelandic Annals of 1345. The locals said when a hump surfaced out of the river, it was thought to bode great news.

There are numerous sightings recorded since, many of them in the 20th century and mostly by people who have generally been considered to be good solid citizens.

In 1963, Sigurður Blöndal, head of the National Forrest Service, witnessed a long streak that moved along the water, rising and falling above the water level.

In 1998, a group of students and a teacher from Hallormsstaðir School, located along the river, witnessed a similar mysterious stationery long snake-like streak in the river. The sighting lasted for over ten minutes.

In 1983, contractor Valdimar Benediktsson led a group of men assigned to furrow telephone cables in the ground in East-Iceland. When the farms on one side of Lagarfljót were done, the cable had to cross the river to continue on the other side. A specially strengthened cable had been ordered for this task, wrapped in a thick hose made of steel wire and engineered so that it wouldn’t wind or kink, but lie straight on the bottom of the lake from one bank to the other. Here is his story:
“When we initially went out on the lake to perform depth measurements, we noticed a mysterious mass that was lying under a hollow bank at considerable depth on the eastern side of the lake. The mass seemed to be organic and moved around as we performed the measurements. That fall we started the project. I had a very capable group of men working on this, and we had been working on furrowing cables all summer around East-Iceland. We used boats and prams with special cable trestles to do the job. When the job was done and we tested the connection through the cable, it turned out it was broken. We had the instruments to locate the failure, and it turned out to be where we had witnessed the mysterious mass earlier. When the cable was pulled up, it became clear that something was out of the ordinary. “This cable that was specially engineered so it wouldn’t kink was wound in several places and badly torn and damaged in 22 different places,” Bendiktsson says. “I believe we dragged the cable directly over the belly of the beast. Unless it was through its mouth.”

Mysterious isn’t it.? I have been unable to find anymore recent sightings but the last one certainly is a strange tale. So a large eel like creature that eats cables or was it snagged on rocks? In view of the type of cable they would have to be very sharp rocks.

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