Thursday, December 4, 2014

Did Norwegian Trolls Really Exist?

The dense rocky forests and jutting fjords of Norway seem to be the ideal setting for a magical creature that turns to stone if it encounters elusive sunlight.

Norway love and appreciates their trolls and put them on lots of souvenirs and signs. But, is there anyone who believes that trolls might actually exist?

Trolls are part of Scandinavian lore and they are pretty much similar to ogres. They are often described as stupid, dirty, and huge. And, the reason they say there are large rocks all over Norway is that, trolls had encountered the sunlight. They are often described as shapeshifters that are capable of going invisible and sneaking into places without needing use doors and windows. Their hiding places are considered to be under rock croppings and cave-like areas. 

When I was a child, my father was a Thorvaldsen from Norway. The family changed their name in the late 1920s after coming to America. He used to tell me great tales of the most troublesome and stupid trolls and sometimes even kind ones. I was a child in the era of troll dolls, so imagine my obsession!

In that interesting way that I study Native legends, the legends of the trolls intrigue me because - they are giants and they cannot handle sunlight. This has been reported often and the Cherokee spoke of the moon-eyed people they had to drive from the lands in North Carolina, "white" people who could not tolerate sunlight. In ancient times, trolls were reportedly giants and over time stories made them smaller and smaller.  Repeatedly, we hear legends of Native people around the world, encountering giants, and having to outsmart them. 

The movie, "Trollhunter" (one of my favs) is a great concept. But, are there people out there in the woods of Scandinavia seeking such creatures?  

Is there a troll curse?

The Troll A petroleum drilling platform has had a few accidents. Odd ones too. 

In one incident, a worker was being airlifted by helicopter because he was ill. He opened the emergency door and jumped out 2000 feet to his death.

Another worker was hit by a steel beam being swung by a crane. 

Trolltunga (Troll's tongue): 2300 feet above a lake, this jut of rock is terrifying to look at, much less to climb upon.

The legend of Torghatten Mountain in Norway - 

Hestmannen, a troll, was chasing a beautiful virgin. When he realized he could not catch her, he shot an arrow to kill her. The troll king, Somna, threw his hat into the air to block the arrow's path at the maiden. The hat turned into a mountain with a hole in the middle. 

In actuality, it is said that the ice age created the crevice. 

My Norse people definitely have a great sense of humor about their legends -

Want to take the family for some troll fun? Norway has a Troll Park, Hunderfossen! Tucked away in Lillehammer, this park includes fun rides, and when the sun sets, the Trolls and other creatures of the forest come out to play... You can watch the fairytale show, Trolls, theatre, seasoned with Rock/Folk music, lighting and mystique.

The longest cave in Norway is called (drum roll) "Trollkjerka" or Troll's Church.

Might the troll legends come from actual giants who did inhabit the lands thousands of years ago? 

BRUSTED (Von) was 8 feet in height. This Norway giant was exhibited in London in 1880. 

Norway has an ancient legend of Jotunn, a giant race.  J«ętunn (Proto-Germanic *etunaz) might have the same root as "eat" (Proto-Germanic *etan) and accordingly had the original meaning of "glutton" or "man-eater", probably due to their enormous diet because of their size. Once again, an ancient legend of people-eating giants!!

There have been finds of the giants in Norway, as they have been all over the globe. Did the very legends and religions base themselves on explaining this "master" race of "god-like" giant beings? Did these beings seem to do magical things? Interestingly, the trolls are depicted with body hair and the Paiutes reported the red-haired giants their ancestors' encountered were hairy all over. 

(above: Bronze-Age cave drawing of a figure with horns - a figure that was drawn in that era around the world)

Do trolls exist presently? Well, if trolls are a creature designed in a legend to explain an ancient race of giants, they likely did exist. And, if today's race of "Bigfoot" beings around the world are the descendants of such a race, then they do still exist. 

Norway has its own reports of Bigfoot. 

In other words, today's Sasquatch might just be the trolls of yore.

More info:
Do trolls exist? 
Norwegian troll hunting
Troll history
Post about a supposed troll footprint
Scariest Troll place on earth!
All about spooky Norway
Troll footprintGreat post on Scandinavian Trolls

Lots of info on the kinds of trolls

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