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Expedition sets out to trap Norwegian 'sea monster'

Selma witnesses say the serpent has black eyes and a head like a horse  

August 7, 2000
Web posted at: 3:17 PM EDT (1917 GMT)

SELJORD, Norway -- Last year scientists recorded what the Oceanographic Institute of Bergen called "an unknown sound of a mammal." This year they're back, trying to catch a mythical monster they have named "Selma."

For the third time the expedition team GUST 2000 is searching for the creature in the Seljordsvatnet, near Seljord, a town whose coat of arms features a sea serpent.

They have returned with sonar and a specially designed serpent-trap. The trap is a labyrinth net, designed to catch a sea serpent baby.

  MESSAGE BOARD
 

In addition to the team with a trap and sonar, a second team is being placed up in the mountains in case Selma decides to make a sudden appearance on the surface.

In addition, a third team is diving, shooting underwater pictures and searching the bottom.

GUST 2000 members are also interviewing locals to get a picture of what Selma might look like should she appear. The common view seems to be that she has big black eyes, a head like a horse without ears, is black all over, and has a considerably thicker middle region that includes flippers. Locals suggest her length is between 3 and 12 meters (10 and 40 feet).

The serpent has been part of local folklore since the first "documented" sighting in 1750. There are some villagers who don't believe in Selma, but plenty of locals do think there is something in the lake.

Scientists are using this labyrinth net to try and catch a baby serpent  

Whether Selma is a monster eel, a sea serpent or just a flow of dark water, Jan Sundberg and his team believe that Selma exists in some form, and that she might be living with others of her kind.

"We're trying to catch a little baby, because we think there is a whole family here. It's a long shot, but we're trying," Sundberg said.

If they do manage to catch her, then a team of two biologists will come and take samples and her DNA.

Somehow one thinks that life will never be the same for this little Norwegian village if Selma turns out to be a reality. And if they can't find her, true believers will be no doubt be unfazed.

"Of course there's something in the lake," says one local resident. "It's something, but I don't know what. I've seen it myself."

Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Monster mysteries continue to baffle Europe
August 2, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Gust Zoology


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