The forthcoming Storsjoyran Great Lake Festival on July 27-29, 2006, will have the local “president” Ewert Ljusberg of Jämtland making his annual speech to the region, again marked by a new imaginative and spectacular entrance.
According to John Gammon’s June 17, 2006, Pollstar article, the idea is to top last year’s stunt:
In 1996 [Ewert Ljusberg] rode in on a seven-ton elephant, which was making a guest appearance while en route from a Spanish to a Swedish circus, but he topped that in ’99, when he tried to float down in a huge air balloon.
He missed the main 20,000-capacity square at Ostersund (where the event is traditionally held), got snaffled on a nearby building and ended up shouting his state of the union address from the rooftop.
This year, he’s planning to sail into the city across the great lake that borders it, on the back of a model of the huge monster that lives beneath its waters.
The monster in the lake, similar to the world-famous one that’s supposed to be swimming around in Loch Ness in Scotland, is the subject of remarkable tales that the locals spin for visiting tourists.
Even more remarkably, the tourists seem to swallow the stories hook, line and sinker and spend hours poised on the lake shore – camera in hand – waiting for a ripple on the surface.
(Storsie, the Swedish Lake Monster, is not to be confused with the Stronsay Beast, above, a Long-Necked Sea Monster, first sighted on September 25, 1808, lying on rocks at Rothiesholm Head, in the southeast of Orkney island.)
Well, of course, despite the tone of the news reporter, the locals, as well as the tourists, tend to have some hope in seeing Storsie, because so many have before them. As I mention in my and Patrick Huyghe’s book The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, there’s a long serious tradition at the lake. First recorded historically as having been sighted in 1635, Storsie, the Lake Monster from Storsjo, this deep mountain lake in central Sweden, has been seen at least 150 times by 450 people. It has been a topic of scholarly and scientific interest ever since.