The Search for the Seljord Serpent by Davy Russell
POSTED: 24 August 98
From August 4 through August
18, I, along with 11 other participants from around the world, worked together as
GUST98 (Global Underwater Search Team) and searched
for a mysterious serpent which is said to lurk about in the depths of Lake Seljordsvatnet
in Telemark, Norway. This beautiful lake (RIGHT) is 14 km long, 1.8 km wide and 147
meters at it's deepest point.
Local legend says that a tunnel at the bottom of the lake connects it with the sea.
Eye witness reports dating back to the 1750's describe a 8-10 meter long serpentine
Some 100 plus eye-witnesses have been interviewed by expedition leader Jan-Ove
Sundberg. He suspects that many more has seen the serpent and have not come forward
to avoid ridicule
or damaged reputation. Since the lake is surrounded with roads and the shores dotted
with campsites, it is likely that if the serpent does exist, quite a few people should have
The team worked in shifts to keep a constant watch on the lake both day and night.
Underwater equipment such as side-scan sonar, echosounder, ROVs (Remotely Operated
Vehicles), a computerized navigation program, was used in conjunction with visual
spotters, cameras, and video cameras to look for the creature.
The 250 hour search wasn't as thorough as planned due to technical failure, bad weather,
and limited finances.
Despite the searches inevitable problems, some interesting, but inconclusive
discoveries were made. A total of 11 photographs of a strange wave were taken by the
expedition leader, Jan-Ove Sundberg. Twenty minutes of video footage taken by team
member Ulf Burman was also recorded of a large wake made by an unknown moving
object speculated to be beneath the surface of the water. GUST is not making any claims or guesses at this point as to what these
objects or waves are. All photographic data, along with sonar data, will be sent for
further analysis by professionals.
The GUST98 expedition was not the first to scan the lake for evidence of the Seljord
Serpent. And I'm sure it will not be the last. Although GUST98 did not find the serpent,
or conclusive evidence of it, they do agree that something mysterious is in the lake.
Maybe some future expedition will discover it; or perhaps some lucky tourist will be the
one who contributes incredible photographs. But until then, as Sundberg would say,
"The mystery remains".
Click here for the Lake Seljordsvatnet Serpent Expedition photo scrap book.