Situated near Telemark, Norway, is Lake Seljordsvatnet, a twelve mile long and one and a half mile wide body of icy cold water that formed by glaciers during the last ice age. As far back as the late 1750’s reports of a large reptilian creature living in the lake have circulated around the region. Eyewitness reports, which today number over 500, generally describe the creature, dubbed Selma by the locals, as a 30 to 45 foot serpent like creature, resembling a large anaconda; some reports even include several humps on its back.
One early documented account of an encounter with Selma dates back to 1880 when a named Bjorn Bjorge, and his mother Gunhild, were said to have cut an attacking Selma in half. According to this report the lower portion of the creature squirmed back into the lake while the front half was left to rot on the shore.
Early one morning in the summer of 1918, with fine weather and a mirror like surface on the water, Karl Karlsson walked down to the bridge at Sandnes to try his fishing luck. Suddenly he saw a strange animal in the water closing in fast. It came so close and Karl Karlsson was so scared that he threw down his fishing rod and ran. He described the animals head as that of a horse. It was held about three feet out of the water. When the animal came within 150 feet of the bridge it stopped, sank straight down and disappeared.
That summer Torgil Bjorge found large meat-like chunks, like from a serpent like creature, floating on Lake Seljordsvatnet close to Sandnes. On another occasion he saw an animal on the beach resembling a crocodile, which quickly vanished into a pile of stones. Two years later, Eivind Fjodstuft went out on Sinnesodden to fish. It was an unusually warm, calm day with an unbroken surface. When he came to the point he saw a strange animal on its way out of the lake and onto the cliffs. It turned back when Eivind came towards it and slipped down into the water.
He described the animal as 15-20 meters long, narrowing and with a head resembling the head of a crocodile. The animal was black in color and had finlike feet at the front part, right below its neck. He saw no eyes or mouth, but the animal turned its head from side to side and seemed to scout and listen. When it discovered Eivind it quickly went back into the water again.
In 1996, two men were fishing around dusk on Lake Seljordsvatnet when the silence was broken by a sudden commotion in the water. A horse like head attached to a ten foot long neck rose from the water, the creature starred at the two fisherman from about 8 inches away before slowly submerging back into the water.
Early one morning in July, 2001, a father and son from Oslo, who wished to remain nameless, decided to take a quick walk down to the lake for a refreshing swim. When they were about 100 yards away they noticed something strange on the beach but assumed that it was either a fallen log or pile of old car tires that had washed ashore over night. The two stopped about 30 feet from the beach as they witnessed what they could only describe as a giant snake just at the waters edge.
The animal held its head towards the water unaware of their presence but as they watched the son stumbled, making a noise, and the beast turned its long neck around and stared at directly at them . According to these two witnesses, who are reported to be respected members of their communities, the creature’s head was as large as a calves. The encounter lasted roughly 10 seconds before the beast swung its head back towards the lake and glided into the lake. The two described it as having an enormous body, which was at least 30 feet long, and was as thick as a car tire.
Since 1977, Jan Ove Sundberg, president and founder of GUST, the Global Underwater Search Team, has been on the front lines of the search for Selma and many of Norway’s other so called Lake Monsters. Collecting first hand accounts of the creature as well as leading his team to the lake in attempts to located Selma using sonar and hydrophones.
In August of 2000, Sundberg led a team comprised of international researchers, along with two Norwegian molecular biologists, on a mission to capture a live specimen of the creature known as Selma. The team planned to use the COMET, Co-Operative Monster Eel Trap, a specially designed monster trap professionally made by InnFsik AS at Homnes outside Kristiansand on the coast of southern Norway. The trap was named as such to get around the fact that Selma, and creatures like her, are protected and illegal to catch, or so the Norwegian authorities claim.
The COMET was 18 feet long, 15 feet in circumference and has a cone like opening where the designers expected the catch to enter, attracted by the live fish that were used as bait. The creature would never actually reach the fish however, as they are sectioned by themselves and when any creature who enters tries to escape the trap its construction would not allow it to. The idea to use such a trap originally came from limnologist Dr. Atle Hindar at The Norwegian Institute of Water Research.
The plan was to use COMET to capture a juvenile serpent, between 3 and 15 feet in length, take DNA and other samples, then tag the creature and release it back into the wild. Molecular biologists at a Norwegian university, who where standing by, would then analyze the data in order to categorize the creature and determine its genus. Unfortunately the team and their trap came up empty, but they did get some interesting sonar readings during this trip.
Speculations as to what the creature really is have ranged from giant catfish, giant eels, prehistoric relics and giant anacondas. Although reptiles are not thought to be capable of surviving in waters as cold as Lake Seljordsvatnet’s, some have suggested that a form of reptile may have evolved to survive in such a harsh environment. With GUST leading expeditions to the lake almost every year, and their team of experts growing larger every day, it is only a matter of time before this prestigious crew of explorers brings the identity of Selma to light in an international spotlight, proving the existence of so called Lake Monsters to the world.
Although there remains no physical evidence to support the existence of Selma, videos and photographs of the creature have been presented by both members of GUST and lake residents which seem to indicate that there is something large and yet unknown living in Lake Seljordsvatnet.
In 1880 an unnamed woman was said to have cut an attacking Selma in half. According to this report the lower portion of the creature squirmed back into the lake while the front half was left to rot on the shore.
In 1996, two men where fishing around dusk on Lake Seljordsvatnet when the silence was broken by a sudden commotion in the water. A horse like head attached to a ten foot long neck rose from the water, the creature starred at them from about 8 inches away before slowly submerging back into the water.
In July, 2001, a father and son from Oslo, who wished to remain nameless, decided to take a quick walk down to the lake for a refreshing swim. When they were about 100 yards away they noticed something strange but assumed that it was either a fallen log or pile of old car tires that had washed ashore over night. The two stopped about 30 feet from the beach as they witnessed what they could only describe as a giant snake just at the waters edge.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Lake Monster
• Size: 3 – 45 feet depending on age
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Unknown
• Location: Lake Seljordsvatnet, Norway
• Movement: Swimming
• Environment: Cold water lake