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Selma

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FRESHWATER MONSTER of Norway.

Images (59)

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 
land.

Distribution: Seljordsvatnet, Telemark 
County, Norway.

Significant sightings: Gunleik Andersson- 
Verpe’s rowboat was overturned in 1750 by a 
“sea horse.”

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 
its whistle.

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.

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