The original aqua vitae
Man has always been dependent on water. For transportation, travel, food, health and survival.
Water is the basis for all life. It is where we all began.
Water quells our thirst, it feeds us. To put it simply but also literally, water floats our boats!
But there is another side to water. Like it gives life, it can also take it away.
People drown in water. Ships get crushed by waves of water and the crew is never seen again.
And, the depths of the water may give birth to creatures so unknown that they will only be referred to in whispers by the fire at night.
Everything is a monster as long as it’s shrouded in mystery and anonymity. This is why monsters always dwell in the dark. It’s not because monsters prefer the dark, it’s the dark that makes them monsters in the first place.
When a monster in brought into the light we give it a proper name and learn something about it. And now it’s a monster no more.
Take the Kraken. Vikings and fishermen and sailors have since sea travel began reported seeing a gigantic monster coming from the depths and sometimes dragging large ships down.
Modern man of course recognized this to merely be a figment of the imagination of those unwashed and decidedly loopy vikings, and scoffed at the idea of such a gigantic, tentacled beast.
Well, at least until several giant squids were caught…
I live in a province called Hälsingland/ Helsingia in Sweden. It’s an area positively brimming with myths, lore and legends. It’s even one of the two places in Sweden where Bigfoot encounters have been reported. (Which I would LOVE to write about here, but since they occurred in the 80’s I can’t find anything about them online. All I have is a few people on a forum referring to them… But I shall persevere!)
We also have at least three lakes known for having sea monsters living in them.
I find it very interesting that these three lakes are in such relative close proximity to each other. With smaller bodies of water in between.
The rounded top of Northern Dellen is the remaining crater of a meteorite-strike approximately 90 million years ago during the cretaceous era. (Dinosaurs, remember?)
A special type of mineral was formed in the explosion following the crash, a variety of andesite called dellenite. Black around Northern Dellen and reddish brown around Southern Dellen. This is the only place in Sweden where this mineral exists.
After the last ice age, about 10 000 years ago, the Dellen lakes were part of a large sea bay. The land was 250 meters (820 feet) lower then, since it had been weighed down by the ice masses. But the land rose, and still does by 0.10-1 cm per year, and an earthquake creating a 65 feet tidal wave finally cut off the connection to the sea approximately 2000 years ago.
The greatest depth in the lakes is supposed to be about 220- 230 feet, and the waters in the lakes are very clean and the fish are plentiful.
The Gryttjen lake is supposed to house a beast, for some stupid reason dubbed “Gryttie“.
Just for the record I would like to express my discontent with naming Swedish lake monsters in a way that would make them more easily pronounceable for non-Swedish speakers. Adding the -ie at the end in the style of Nessie makes them seem like copycats, like they appeared AFTER Nessie, which is not true and takes away from from their credibility. IMHO.
The Gryttjen monster has been more extensively studied than the Dellen one. The monster is reported to have been seen at least since the mid 1800’s.
The lake was supposed to be 118 feet deep, but in the 1940’s a 100 meter (328 feet) sounding line was used to measure the depth and in several places that wasn’t enough.
In 1985 the Gryttie group was formed and has since investigated the lake in several ways. In 1987 a type of robot called “Lady bird” was used. It moved around on the lake floor using continuous tracks and sent images to a monitor on shore. No new information was collected from this endeavor.
In 1988 an underwater camera with propellers and remote controlling technology was used. This time they recovered images of what might be a “lip scale” from a Sirenia-type animal.
In 1992 a so-called side scan sonar was used. This time a 4.5 meter (14.75 feet) long object was found at 4.5 meter depth that could not be explained away as being gas or schools of fish.
The current working theory is that the beast may be a type of cold water type of Hydrodamalis, a sort of sea cow. While the Steller’s sea cow may be extinct, there could possibly be an, as of yet, undiscovered species living in the lake.
I find this to be a valid theory, unless of course the beast in question bears any resemblance to the Dellen one. In which case it looks absolutely nothing like a sea cow. I have been unable to find any information about the appearance of the Gryttjen monster.
Sightings and description
July 12, 1985 Alf and Barbro Hult were out in their motorboat on lake Dellen when they saw behind the stern of the boat a neck and a head rise approximately 6-7 feet out of the water. It moved very fast and later appeared again so close to the boat that the Hults were able to count its vertebrae.
The color of the head was said to be grayish-white while the body had the color of a “wet elephant”.
“Today’s sensation is a report that the monster in Dellen has been seen for the first time this year. A timber rafting team in Southern Dellen, close to Norrbo, witnessed a few days ago the monster in question from a fairly large distance, when it was seen moving at impressive speed, heading straight for their raft. At first they thought it was a motor boat, however it seemed a bit low, but soon enough they realized that it had to be the mysterious lake monster that appeared several times last year.
Expecting a fine catch, the whole rafting team got ready with pike poles in hand, but were pitifully duped by the secretive beast. When it realized it had been spotted it disappeared into the depths after a lot of forceful splashing and tremendous snorting…
… The day before yesterday some peaceful younger anglers were exposed to the intrusion of the beast, which ended in them fleeing the scene. First they experienced some powerful thuds coming from under their row boat. Soon thereafter a terrifying head appeared only a few yards from them, but it disappeared as quickly as it had come.
But after this the perches were left in peace, since the anglers quickly rowed the boat ashore to safety.”
– the daily local newspaper July 31, 1926
Hoping for a glimpse
Water covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface. Yet we know very little about it. Water has the distinct downside of being three-dimensional whereas the land, though it has ups and downs, can easily be described more or less in 2D. Right, left, backwards and forwards. In the water you also need to add up a down which significantly complicates navigation.
Also, in Sweden, lake water tends to be murky and visibility is very poor.
In a little while I’ve been promised a trip to these lakes. Naturally I’m hoping the beasties, having anticipated my arrival, to come running out of the water to me so I can scratch them behind their ears. Assuming they have ears.
But, as the realist I also am, I concede that with 50.5 square miles of water surface in the Dellen lakes alone, the chances of that happening might only be 50%…. Lol.
Anyway, I will update this post with photos after I’ve been there 🙂
Niente. Nada. Nichts.
Well, today I went to all three lakes and for some absurd reason I didn’t get to scratch the beasties behind their ears…
But good golly were the lakes ever beautiful!!!
I saw nothing but painfully pretty nature around the Dellen lakes. Lake Gryttjen I didn’t get to see as much of since parts of it were sort of dammed up and inconsiderate people had built summer homes around it so it was impossible to get close to the larger parts of the lake. In the part I did get to see however, everything looked calm, except for some weird log or rock or something a ways out in the water. There was a red “something” on top of the log/ rock that I concede COULD be a plant, but it looks too uniform in color.
The funny part is that I meant to make a joke to my dad as we were driving away by pointing to the log/ rock and saying “Wow! There’s the lake monster!”, but as we left I couldn’t see the thing…
I think the red thing looks sorta like an alien crab or a weird hand or something.
Well, anyway, here are some pretty pics for you!