Sweden is the country with the worst cryptozoological climate I have found so far. We are Sweden, rational, scientific Sweden with the Nobel Prize and all that. How dare you assume there could be creatures out there not known by The Holy Science?!
Yet in the olden days, folklore and folk beliefs were extremely rife here. Just imagine the good old days when the legacy of Odin was law .
The Northland part of Sweden was the last to be integrated and converted to Christianity. The Asatru lived on up here for much longer and we fiercely resisted being forcefully converted. We may have chased an apostle sent from Bremen in Germany and stoned him to death after he destroyed some of our heathen altars and knocked over a few stones of blood sacrifice. This happened in 1060. We may also have done the same with a tax collector from Sweden proper in 1317 for daring to consider us a part of Sweden they could squeeze extra income from.
Eventually we were incorporated into Sweden proper but I think many of us in Northland still feel that the heathen savage is still in our genes, even though he’s suppressed by a thin layer of civilization.
In the good old days, trolls, giants, sea monsters and gnomes were not fiction but creatures to be considered, no matter what sort of life you lead. Seafaring was dangerous, not only because of the risk of bad weather. There be monsters, everyone knew this. Every time you set sail you ran the risk of the ship being pulled under by any of the many sea creatures lurking under the surface, sea creatures such as the Kraken.
For the stay-at-home house wife several measures had to be taken to minimize the risk of getting on the bad side of the skrymt, the oknytt. (Collective names for the “beside-beings”) Hot water couldn’t be thrown out outside after doing dishes unless due warning was given first. A scalded gnome was a bitter gnome who could cause all manner of problems. Keeping the gnomes and other oknytt happy was key to living a prosperous and peaceful life. Rewarding the house gnome with food, pieces of clothing and such would ensure his continued help and good graces.
The trolls stayed near mountains, forests and sometimes wetlands and they were not above kidnapping a human child or young woman. In cases where a bergtagen (lit. “mountain-taken”) person returned they would not be the same. They would suffer from melancholy and always long to return to the mountain. If they weren’t constantly watched they were likely to wander off into the woods never to be seen by humans again.
The giants were mountainous and seem to have been the ancestors of all oknytt. They were said to be able to hide by assuming the form of a part of the landscape, such as a rock or mountain and they could stay in this disguise for centuries. How surprised we will be when Kebnekaise, our tallest mountain rises up revealing it was a descendant of Ymir all this time…
After having scanned Flashback Forum for weeks, blocking a million users with nothing to add but evil, immature remarks, clicking on a few hundred links only to discover 95% of the no longer work, reading every post in the marathon thread by spjuit, close to 2500 posts, as well as other threads, I can now finally report on what seems to be the troll situation in Sweden today.
Judging by how people describe what they have seen there seems to be two main types, possibly three, that could possibly fit the troll denomination. One has been mentioned in international blogs before, like Phantoms and Monsters. It’s Quasi, or the potato troll.
Quasi (short for Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame in Victor Hugo’s novel) is a creature described as ranging from a bit over 3 feet up to close to 6 feet in height, dark in color with a large upper body mass, no neck, hunched over and short, with relatively skinny legs which it moves very fast, making the creature run much faster than its bulky exterior would seem to permit.
Quasi is described to be not only very fat but also somewhat lumpy, like a potato.
The potato troll has been seen spying on pigs, it’s also been stealing vegetables from a garden. One user indicated that it might have attacked a young horse.
The main witness, user name spjuit, who drew the first composite sketch of Quasi has seen the critter on at least five different occasions, four of which were during the winter season. Additionally she has seen glowing eyes from the edge of the forest on a few occasions. She perceived them to be yellow while her mother saw them as red. Whether these creatures with the glowing eyes are potato trolls or something else is unsure. Other witnesses however seem to indicate that the potato troll does have glowing eyes, even though spjuit didn’t see that in her encounters.
The first time spjuit saw the Quasi was when she was little and one was seen spying on the family’s pigs. Once she saw it running across the road and disappearing behind a stack of timber. On one occasion she met it on the road on a winter night with a full moon. Thinking at first it was her friend that she was going to meet she called out, at which point the creature quickly ducked into the ditch and seemingly disappeared.
Once the driver of the bus spjuit was on had to swerve to avoid hitting one of the creatures darting across the road. Unfortunately spjuit has not been able to get a hold of the bus driver since he normally doesn’t drive the bus that traffics that area.
The last time she saw it she was inside and noticed it through the window climbing over a snowbank.
The most peculiar thing of all about the potato trolls is that they don’t seem to leave any footprints at all.
Another type of troll people seem to be seeing makes even less sense, judging from its description. Yet there are several sightings describing the same thing so I must mention it. It’s the moose butt troll.
The moose butt troll is described as approximately 4-5 feet in height and looks like the back side of a moose, or Eurasian Elk if you want to get technical. As one of the witnesses put it:
“Imagine a moose and chop off the back part, make it black and cover it with fluffier, longer fur and then have this back end run around, that’s how it looked.”
Other witnesses corroborate this description and simplify it further by saying it looked like a “hairy ball with legs”.
Unlike the potato troll the moose butt troll seems to have longer legs and takes large strides. It seems to have a particular fondness for clear cut logging areas but has also been observed in the woods.
A possible third type is described by user sm93. She is a young woman who has taken over the family farm in the eastern part of northernmost Sweden. The community in which she lives has 62 inhabitants and is quite remote.
Neighbors, the closest one living one kilometer away, began to find that their cows had been let outside during the night despite everything being bolted down properly in the evening. Another neighbor came by to ask if she had borrowed anything since things like shovels, hoses and old milk containers had begun to go missing and never turning up again.
About two weeks after the first reports of strange goings-on sm93 awoke one night to the horses snorting in the stable. She looked out the window and noticed that the lights in the stable were on and that 3 of the 4 horses were outside in the paddock. She got dressed and rushed outside to see what was going on. By the time she got there the light in the stable was out and all four horses were in the paddock. Beyond the paddock she heard rustling in the gravel and looked up to see a creature, about 6’ 3” tall, with incredibly long, thin but muscular legs, an oblong, hunched over body, long arms with long, thin hands, a head placed directly on the body and big ears high up on the head. The creature was a greyish brown color and looked dirty and veined. The torso seemed to be covered in fur but not the arms or the legs. As the creature noticed sm93 it grunted, flapped its ears and leaped forward. After that it ran very fast away from the farm and into the woods.
Sm93 was understandably shaken but was distracted when she smelled smoke and turned to see flames coming from the hay loft. She called the fire department but before they arrived the stable had burned to the ground.
The cause of the fire was deemed to be an overheated wire. Was the creature trying to help?
About 6 months later a neighbor who had previously found his cows let out at night had his barn burn down. Again the cows had all been released so all that was destroyed was the building and the things in it. The cause of this fire was deemed to be arson and a worker on that farm was convicted.
Who released the animals?
In folklore gnomes have always played the role of the animal caretaker but gnomes are described as 2-4 feet tall, not 6’ 3”. The hairiness of the torso also seems to fit troll more than anything else. Maybe it’s a variant of the potato or the moose butt troll?
So, theories, ideas, speculations and more theories?
OK, here’s one: Visible light makes up about 1- 1.5% of the electromagnetic spectrum.
It ranges from red via orange, yellow, green, turquoise and blue/indigo to violet/purple. If we think of the electromagnetic spectrum as linear, then it begins with radio waves, continues through microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and all the way up to gamma rays/ cosmic rays and then we imagine if it would be possible that certain individuals may have the ability to see a slightly wider spectrum of visible light. Maybe some people can perceive waves a little to the “left” of red and/or a little to the “right” of purple? Even among people with normal vision the ability to perceive nuances and hues differ between males and females and between different individuals. Women are generally better at distinguishing colors. I found a cool online test on how well we see colors here. Apparently I have perfect color vision.
Certain women (apparently only women can have this) may be tetrachromats( see links below), meaning that their eyes have four types of cone cells (cells that perceive different wavelengths of light, such as colors) instead of the usual three, leading to the ability to perceive 100 million color hues instead of the normal one million.
So, a person able to perceive one hundred times as many nuances as a regular person, are they also able to see infrared and ultraviolet? And these weird creatures roaming around just outside our normally visible spectrum, can they be seen by these tetrachromats? If so, is it a coincidence that most sightings of ghosts and other strangeness are made by women?
And let’s not forget children. Children are said to be able to see things grown-ups cannot. It is known that as we age we lose the ability to hear the really high and the really low notes. Could children possess better hearing and/or an ability to see a broader spectrum than we can?
My second theory is a bit vaguer and full of question marks still. It has to do with brain wave frequencies. Perhaps these beings that seem to have lived beside us since times immemorial can only be seen when the frequency they emit is met by a certain brain wave frequency of the beholder?
And who’s to say that all of the “beside-beings” are all able to see each other or us? Maybe Bigfoots can see elves but not gnomes? Maybe fairies can only see other fairies? Maybe it’s the same for them as it is for us, sometimes they can see and sometimes not.
These theories are the only ones I’ve been able to think of that would allow the “beside-beings” to be physical and not ultra- or interdimensional and yet be able to dissipate into thin air as they are sometimes said to do. Unfortunately it doesn’t explain the lack of foot prints made by things like Quasi.
And the color test: http://www.xrite.com/online-color-test-challenge