American researcher Cliff Crook is in "friendly pursuit" of Bigfoot. Canadian researcher
John Kirk is, as he put it during my interview with him in 1998, "searching for Ogopogo
purely for the pleasure we derive from looking for it". Myself I´m trying to prove Selma,
the Seljord Serpent and into the third year, I´m willing to try the rather controversial
method of trapping the creature.
Call me gullible or whatever you like, but I sincerely believe that Selma and her
relatives are down there. I have seen her performing on the surface. I have seen outlines
of her on an echosounder and a side scan sonar. I have heard her on our recently
introduced hydrophones. And some 500 witnesses to date are backing me and have told
GUST what they have seen of her, too.
However, Selma, like other monsters around the world, is uncooperative when
someone wants to prove them real, and I´m sure there are a number of perfectly normal
reasons for this, the most likely one being a lack of adequate resources and professional
personnel to handle the often very specialized equipment needed. We´re building up such
a qualified team right now, and it´s becoming more operational for every new expedition.
Pictures, video, or film footage are good and not as easy to fake as some sceptics are
telling us, but science requires a specimen alive or dead, and nothing less. With a
captured animal, probing scientists can get tissue, blood and DNA samples, can examine
them thoroughly, and catalogue them in the appropriate genus.
GUST2000 will use the COMET to try to capture a specimen of the Seljord Serpent.
COMET is an abbreviation for Co-Operative Monster Eel Trap. This name is used to get
us around the fact that these animals are protected and illegal to catch, or so the
Norwegian authorities claim. In reality, no animal unproved by science can be protected;
but we don´t want to lose the support we have in Norway, both from the public and the
Besides, a number of reliable witnesses have told us they have seen what they interpreted
as "monster eels", both on the surface and under it. Either they are right and the Seljord
Serpent is a strange eel species unknown to science; or there is a much stranger creature
in the lake that, at some stage during its metamorphosis, changes from an eel-looking
creature into a more established cryptid, i.e. a Nessie, Ogopogo or Storsie-type of
creature, thicker in the middle, with a long neck and a small or large head, etc.
COMET is professionally made by InnFisk AS at Hornnes outside Kristiansand on the
coast of southern Norway. It´s six metres long, 5 meters (15 feet) in circumference, and
has a conelike opening where we expect a catch to enter, attracted by the live fish that are
seemingly awaiting it further inside the trap. But a possible serpent will never reach these
fish since they are in a section by themselves; and when it tries to find its way out again,
Stein Uhleberg of InnFisk AS explained to us that common fish are unable to avoid
getting trapped in a fishing-net, but eels are too smart for that and require an eel-buck.
What we need to trap Selma is, of course, anyone's guess; but you´ve got to start
somewhere, and Stein Uhleberg thinks that COMET is a good beginning.
The idea to use a trap originally came from limnologist Dr. Atle Hindar at The
Norwegian Institute for Water Research. At my interview in 1999 for our CD-ROM,
"The Search for Selma", Dr. Hindar told me that this was what he would do if he were to
prove a serpent in Lake Seljordsvatnet, adding they had used fish traps to catch known
species that they wanted to examine further for one reason or the other.
COMET is meant to capture a baby serpent between 1-5 meters (3-15 feet) long. Two
molecular biologists at a Norwegian university are standing by to take DNA and other
samples. After that the creature will be released again into the lake. If this happens at
GUST2000, we can promise that we have the connections to let the entire world know
within 24 hours. Hold your breath!
Jan Sundberg is the President and founder of GUST (Global Underwater Search Team) and has been searching for the serpent in Lake Seljordsvatnet, Norway, since 1977, and will continue to do so in August 2000 with the sea serpent trap. For updates on this expedition, visit his GUST2000 Web Site. For more of his research on cryptozoology from around the globe, check out Cryptozoology.st.