; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, September 15, 2014

Icelandic Lake Serpent Most Likely Non-Cryptid

I posted an article about this a few weeks ago...namely, that a 'commission' in Iceland confirmed that the Lagarfljótsormurinn does exist:

Lagarfljótsormurinn, the giant serpent rumored to inhabit the Lake Lagarfljot near Egilsstaðir in East Iceland truly exists, as announced on Saturday by the majority of a 13-person truth commission established in 2012 by the Fljótsdalshérað municipal council.

The commission was given the task of determining whether a video of the alleged monster shot by Hjörtur E. Kjerúlf, which went viral, was authentic and whether he was entitled to a prize of ISK 500,000 (USD 4,300, EUR 3,300).

“I was told about the commission’s conclusion and I’d like to say that I’m extremely pleased to confirm that the majority of the commission was right,” Hjörtur told austurfrett.is.

While concluding that Hjörtur’s video was authentic, the commission determined that a photo shot by Sigurður Aðalsteinsson, who had also made claim to the prize money, did not show the actual serpent.

Hjörtur shot the footage through his kitchen window at farm Hrafnkelsstaðir in Fljótsdalur early one morning in February 2012.

The video was originally posted on the website of national broadcaster RÚV and, after Iceland Review reported on it, reposted multiple times.

The video has now been watched approximately 8 million times and has prompted film crews from abroad to come to the lake in search of the serpent.

Former mayor of Austur-Hérað promised the prize in 1997 to the person presenting evidence of Lagarfljótsormurinn’s existence.

After Hjörtur and Sigurður made claim to the prize, the truth commission was established.

“I’ve long since lost sight of whether its establishment was serious or a joke but we were given the task of taking a position and finish this project,” the commission’s chair Stefán Bogi Sveinsson commented.

The commission also recommended further studies of Lagarfjótsormurinn. - Iceland Review

Back in February 2012, people were calling the creature the 'Icelandic Worm Monster':

Footage was captured of an obscure phenomenon yesterday which appeared to be swimming in the glacial river Jökulsá í Fljótsdal, east Iceland.

People speculate whether this may be the notorious snake-like monster Lagarfljótsormurinn, which is said to reside in the lake Lagarfljót.

The video was taken by Hjörtur Kjerúlf and posted on ruv.is. or cut / paste http://youtu.be/8OmyyHyya64

Lagarfljótsormurinn is Iceland’s equivalent to Scotland’s Loch Ness monster. It was first mentioned in sources dating back to 1345. According to legend, it was at first a tiny worm which was placed on a ring of gold to make the gold grow.

When the owner of the ring returned she noticed to her great terror that the worm had grown immensely but not the gold. She tossed the ring and worm into Lagarfljót where the worm continued to grow.

Whether Hjörtur’s video is indeed evidence of the existence of the legendary monster is debatable; skeptics believe it shows a torn fishing net which blew into the river where it froze.

When the river cleared itself of ice the net came loose and the “worm” wriggled its way through the water. - icelandreview

In Icelandic Folk and Fairy Talesfolklorists May and Hallberg Hallmundsson describe one origin tale of the beast:

At one time, long, long ago, there was a woman living on a farm in the Lagarfljót district, close by the stream where it broadens into a lake. She had a grown daughter. Once, she gave her daughter a gold ring.” The woman instructed her daughter to catch a snake and keep the gold ring underneath it in her linen chest (as, apparently, one did long ago in rural Iceland). She did so, “but when the girl went to look at her ring again, the snake had grown so large that the chest was beginning to come apart. Then the girl was frightened and she picked up the chest with everything in it and threw it into the lake. A long time passed, and gradually people became aware that there was a serpent in the lake, for it was beginning to kill both people and animals crossing the waters.

As I mentioned in 2012, Lagarfljótsormurinn may actually be a Frilled Shark (pictured above)...a fish known to inhabit some areas of the eastern North Atlantic. I believe this fish made it's way inland from the Atlantic and that there is a breeding population in Lake Lagarfljot.

According to Elasmo Research, the Frilled Shark is thought by some cryptozoologists to be responsible for certain ‘sea serpent’ sightings, the eel-like Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) certainly looks the part. Featuring a strange lizard-like head, ruffled throat, long, serpentine body and tiny fins, this strange shark might well explain many reports of sea serpents were it not for two inconvenient facts: it rarely grows longer than about 6.5 feet (2 metres) and almost never visits the surface. But recent research is revealing that the Frilled Shark is a fascinating creature in its own right, every bit as wondrous as any imaginary beast.

Named for its six pairs of collar-like gills with frilly edges, the Frilled Shark combines many unusual features. Unique among sharks, the Frilled has its first gill slit continuous across the throat. Its long jaws are terminal (at the end of the head, rather than underneath as in most sharks) and armed with some 300 trident-shaped teeth arranged in about 25 rows. The skeleton is deceptively simple and poorly calcified, probably an evolutionary response to its nutrient-poor deep-sea habitat. Its body is elongate with a low dermal ridge along each side of the belly. The pectoral fins are relatively small, there is only a single dorsal fin, the caudal fin is continuous with the long axis of the body and it has only the merest hint of a lower lobe. Lastly, the pelvic, dorsal and anal fins are located far posterior on the body, resembling the flights (wings) on a throwing dart.

Iceland: Land of the Sagas

Icelandic Folk Legends: Tales of apparitions, outlaws and things unseen

Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth

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