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Home > Archives > Cryptozoology > Trapping Selma

Trapping Selma
Norwegian expedition tries the controversial method of trapping a lake serpent.
by Jan Sundberg
POSTED: 28 July 2000

An illustration of COMET, the trap being
used to attempt to capture the serpent
in Lake Seljordsvatnet, Norway. COMET
is manufactured by InnFisk AS, Hornnes,
Norway. - 2000, GUST/Erik Knatterud.
American researcher Cliff Crook is in "friendly pursuit" of Bigfoot. Canadian researcher John Kirk is, as he put it during my interview with him in 1998, "searching for Ogopogo purely for the pleasure we derive from looking for it". Myself Im trying to prove Selma, the Seljord Serpent and into the third year, Im willing to try the rather controversial method of trapping the creature.

Call me gullible or whatever you like, but I sincerely believe that Selma and her relatives are down there. I have seen her performing on the surface. I have seen outlines of her on an echosounder and a side scan sonar. I have heard her on our recently introduced hydrophones. And some 500 witnesses to date are backing me and have told GUST what they have seen of her, too.

However, Selma, like other monsters around the world, is uncooperative when someone wants to prove them real, and Im sure there are a number of perfectly normal reasons for this, the most likely one being a lack of adequate resources and professional personnel to handle the often very specialized equipment needed. Were building up such a qualified team right now, and its becoming more operational for every new expedition.

Pictures, video, or film footage are good and not as easy to fake as some sceptics are telling us, but science requires a specimen alive or dead, and nothing less. With a captured animal, probing scientists can get tissue, blood and DNA samples, can examine them thoroughly, and catalogue them in the appropriate genus.

GUST2000 will use the COMET to try to capture a specimen of the Seljord Serpent. COMET is an abbreviation for Co-Operative Monster Eel Trap. This name is used to get us around the fact that these animals are protected and illegal to catch, or so the Norwegian authorities claim. In reality, no animal unproved by science can be protected; but we dont want to lose the support we have in Norway, both from the public and the authorities.

Besides, a number of reliable witnesses have told us they have seen what they interpreted as "monster eels", both on the surface and under it. Either they are right and the Seljord Serpent is a strange eel species unknown to science; or there is a much stranger creature in the lake that, at some stage during its metamorphosis, changes from an eel-looking creature into a more established cryptid, i.e. a Nessie, Ogopogo or Storsie-type of creature, thicker in the middle, with a long neck and a small or large head, etc.

COMET is professionally made by InnFisk AS at Hornnes outside Kristiansand on the coast of southern Norway. Its six metres long, 5 meters (15 feet) in circumference, and has a conelike opening where we expect a catch to enter, attracted by the live fish that are seemingly awaiting it further inside the trap. But a possible serpent will never reach these fish since they are in a section by themselves; and when it tries to find its way out again, it wont.

Stein Uhleberg of InnFisk AS explained to us that common fish are unable to avoid getting trapped in a fishing-net, but eels are too smart for that and require an eel-buck. What we need to trap Selma is, of course, anyone's guess; but youve got to start somewhere, and Stein Uhleberg thinks that COMET is a good beginning.

Lake Seljordsvatnet, Telemark, Norway.
Read about the 1998 expedition
to find the Seljord Serpent.

- 1998, Davy Russell.

The idea to use a trap originally came from limnologist Dr. Atle Hindar at The Norwegian Institute for Water Research. At my interview in 1999 for our CD-ROM, "The Search for Selma", Dr. Hindar told me that this was what he would do if he were to prove a serpent in Lake Seljordsvatnet, adding they had used fish traps to catch known species that they wanted to examine further for one reason or the other.

COMET is meant to capture a baby serpent between 1-5 meters (3-15 feet) long. Two molecular biologists at a Norwegian university are standing by to take DNA and other samples. After that the creature will be released again into the lake. If this happens at GUST2000, we can promise that we have the connections to let the entire world know within 24 hours. Hold your breath!

Jan Sundberg is the President and founder of GUST (Global Underwater Search Team) and has been searching for the serpent in Lake Seljordsvatnet, Norway, since 1977, and will continue to do so in August 2000 with the sea serpent trap. For updates on this expedition, visit his GUST2000 Web Site. For more of his research on cryptozoology from around the globe, check out Cryptozoology.st.

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