Storsjöodjuret (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈstuːʂøːuˈjʉːrɛ], literally "The Great-Lake Monster") is a lake monster reported to live in the 300-foot-deep (91 m) lake Storsjön in Jämtland in the middle of Sweden. The lake monster was first reported in 1635 and is the only one of its kind in Sweden. When the only city located by Storsjön, Östersund, celebrated its 200 year anniversary in 1986 Storsjöodjuret along with its offspring and nest became protected by law, a law which was revoked in 2005.
It is popularly referred to as Storsjöodjuret whereas odjur is a Swedish word for "monster", literally "unanimal" (a name first recorded in 1899), and storsjö is a compound of the Swedish words stor (big, or great) and sjö (lake) which would closest translate to "great-lake". Sometimes it's simply called Storsjödjuret, which translates to "The great-lake animal" instead of unanimal.
In the local dialect, Jamtish, it has been named Storgläffs'n "the great yelper" by a locally known poet, this is however not a popularly used name. In the English languageStorsjöodjuret is usually called Storsie, similarly to Nessie, though the names Storsjö Monster (also spelled Storsjoe where the character ö is unavailable) and the literal translation The Great-Lake Monster are used. Its latin name is Hydogiganta Monstruidae Jemtlandicum roughly meaning "The Gigantic Jamtlandic Water Monster". It has also been called Storsjöormen "The Great-Lake Serpent".
Storsjöodjuret is described as a serpentine or aquatic reptile with fins across its back and the head of a dog. It is reported to measure approximately six meters long, and some accounts describe it as having several humps.
"A long, long time ago two trolls, Jata and Kata, stood on the shores of the Great-Lake brewing a concoction in their cauldrons. They brewed and mixed and added to the liquid for days and weeks and years. They knew not what would result from their brew but they wondered about it a great deal. One evening there was heard a strange sound from one of their cauldrons. There was a wailing, a groaning and a crying, then suddenly came a loud bang. A strange animal with a black serpentine body and a cat-like head jumped out of the cauldron and disappeared into the lake. The monster enjoyed living in the lake, grew unbelievably larger and awakened terror among the people whenever it appeared. Finally, it extended all the way round the island of Frösön, and could even bite its own tail. Ketil Runske bound the mighty monster with a strong spell which was carved on a stone and raised on the island of Frösön. The serpent was pictured on the stone. Thus was the spell to be tied till the day someone came who could read and understand the inscription on the stone."The first description of a sea creature in Storsjön was made in a folklorist tale by vicarMorgens Pedersen in 1635.
Another legend was written down by the prolocutor Andreas Plantin in an inquiry in 1685.
"It is said that beneath this [rune]stone lies a dreadfully large head of a serpent and that the body stretches over Storsjön to Knytta by and Hille Sand where the tail is buried. The serpent was called a rå and therefore shall this stone be risen. Since no one peacefully could cross [Storsjön], the ferryman and his wife states, along with many others, that in the last turbulent time this stone was tore down and broken in two. As long as this stone laid on the ground many strange things occurred in the water, until the stone was risen and assembled anew."
The runestone both texts refer to is the Frösö Runestone, the northern-most raised runestone in the World. However while a large serpent is indeed pictured on the stone there is no reference about it nor "Ketil Runske" in the text itself, which instead tells about Austmaðr, Guðfastr's son's christening of Jämtland. Though it has indeed been broken in two pieces.
Common interest in the creature was sparked first in the 1890s. After several sightings, an enterprise of locals was founded to catch the monster, even drawing the support from king Oscar II. Since then hundreds of monster sightings have been made. No scientific results have been made, but the supporters have never lost their faith.
In 1986, the Jämtland county administrative board declared the Storsjöodjuret to be an endangered species and granted it protected status. However, it was removed from the list in November 2005.
FRESHWATER MONSTER of Sweden.
Etymology: Swedish, “Storsjö monster.”
Variant names: Storsie, Thelma.
Physical description: Serpentine. Length,
10–45 feet. Width, 3–4 feet. Shiny skin, greenish
to grayish. Round head like a cat’s or a dog’s,
3 feet wide. Reports from the nineteenth century
describe a horselike head with a long, white
mane. Large, dark eyes. Long, sail-like ears (or
dorsal crest) that it presses back against its neck.
Long, flickering tongue. Neck, 8–10 feet long.
Multiple humps. Two pairs of stumpy legs or
fins. Powerful tail.
Behavior: Most active in the summer. Swims
swiftly, perhaps as fast as 45 miles per hour. Said
to make a wailing or a rattling noise.
Distribution: Storsjön Lake, Jämtland
County, Sweden. Sightings have primarily been
in the narrow arms of the lake south of Frösön
Significant sightings: Around 1839, Aron Andersson
and others at Hackås watched a red-gray
animal with a head like a horse’s and a white
mane swimming away from the shore.
Marta and Karin Olsson were washing clothes
on the beach near Sörbyn on October 13, 1893,
when they saw an animal’s head rising and falling
in the water. After Karin threw some stones at it,
it swam swiftly toward the shore. The women ran
but saw the animal submerge eventually.
In 1894, amusement-park owner Maria
Helin and other citizens of Östersund formed a
company to try to capture the animal. Even
King Oscar II made a financial contribution.
They constructed a jetty into the lake and hired
a Norwegian whaler, harpoons at the ready, to
watch for any activity. A huge trap was set under
the jetty, and large hooks were baited and
placed at various points around the lake, but the
company met with no success. The trap and
other equipment are in the Jämtland Museum.
On July 14, 1931, Anders Bergqvist and
Jonas Hansson saw two humps in the water at
Anna Rahm observed a gray animal, 9 feet
long and with a powerful tail and large ears, at
Åssjön on August 12, 1947. Its tongue moved
up and down threateningly, and its eyes rolled.
On August 10, 1983, Carina Johnsson took
photographs of a large, swiftly moving animal in
the bay of Brunfloviken.
An alleged embryo of Storsjöodjuret was
found on the shore on June 18, 1984. It has
been at the Jämtland Museum since 1985.
Gun-Britt Widmark took a video of a 33–39-
foot animal in July 1996 while he was boating
On August 8, 1997, Elin and Cecilia Hemreus
saw the animal’s head and one arched loop
of its body from only 30 feet away while they
were swimming near Tippskar Island. The head
was horselike, with two black eyes on the sides;
the neck was about 6 feet long. The body had
large, round scales like armored plates.
A woman in Brunflo saw a serpentine monster
swimming 90 feet offshore in July 2000. It
was 20–25 feet long and golden with a blackish
(1) A floating log.
(2) Ducks or other waterfowl swimming in
(3) A large fish, possibly a Wels catfish
(Silurus glanis), which grows up to 16 feet
and is found in Scandinavia, Russia, and
Eastern Europe. The largest wels in Sweden
weighed 132.5 pounds and was caught in
(4) A misidentified boat wake.
(5) An unidentified species of seal is unlikely,
since the lake freezes over in the winter.