FRESHWATER MONSTER of Norway.
Etymology: Coined by Jan-Ove Sundberg.
Variant name: Seljora.
Physical description: Length, 13–160 feet.
Black. Head like a horse’s or crocodile’s. Long,
thin neck. Mane sometimes reported. A pair of
front flippers. One to five humps.
Behavior: Turns its head from side to side.
Swims swiftly. Makes a snorting or growling
sound under water.
Tracks: Leaves a furrow in the snow 15 inches
wide and 12 inches deep when it ventures on
Distribution: Seljordsvatnet, Telemark
Significant sightings: Gunleik Andersson-
Verpe’s rowboat was overturned in 1750 by a
About 1880, Bjorn Bjørge and his mother,
Gunhild, encountered a 3-foot lizard that they
believed was a juvenile lake monster. It swam
toward them as they were washing clothes, and
Gunhild swatted it with a stick, killing it. Part
of it stayed on the beach for months because no
one dared come near it.
Around 1920, Eivind Fjodstuft was fishing at
Sinnesodden Point when he saw a crocodile-like
animal emerge from the lake and climb a cliff
face. It jumped back in when he approached.
On the west side of the lake at Svarvaren in
May 1963, Torje Lindstøl watched an animal
with a deerlike head and long neck about 150 feet
off the shore. After about ten seconds, it sank into
the water, showing a portion of its back.
In August 1963, Walther Berg saw a 30-foot
animal resting on the surface of the lake.
In September 1969, divers Arne and Alf
Thomassen conducted a search for Selma and
found some odd grooves on the lake bottom, as
if something heavy had been moving there.
On July 5, 1977, Jan-Ove Sundberg obtained
a strong underwater signal with a Simrad EL-38
echo sounder. Twice, the sonar indicated a large
target that approached his boat swiftly at a
depth of 60 feet and halted only 30 feet away.
Two days later, the sonar picked up three huge
objects moving underwater on parallel courses.
On July 6, 1978, Sundberg took some dim
Super 8-millimeter footage of an animal that
was swimming toward the shore at Sinnesodden
in the twilight.
Kari Aakre and her family were driving west
along the lake to Seljord in July 1995 when they
saw three animals churning up the water in the
lake. One was only 150 feet from shore, while
the two others were about 600 feet away. Other
drivers stopped along the road to watch as well.
All three animals submerged instantly when the
tourboat Fjoellguten II came into view and blew
In 1998 and 2000, Sundberg recorded peculiar
sounds in the lake using sophisticated, underwater
hydrophones. He described the noise
as “a cross between a snorting horse and an eating
pig.” His GUST 2000 expedition also obtained
an echo sounder sonar recording that indicated
two 60-foot animals were swimming a
few yards above the lake bottom.
On August 8, 2000, Erik Knatterud glimpsed
what seemed to be a reddish-brown head in the
middle of the lake. It submerged before he
could photograph it.