Human Sacrifice in the Viking Age

Did the Vikings conduct human sacrifice? It is a sensational claim. Not only does it make for an intriguing field of study, but it also makes for fantastic media coverage. The idea of human sacrifice is not new to the study of the Vikings. While the evidence from the historical and archeological record supports the claim that Viking Age Scandinavians sacrificed human beings, we must tread carefully when considering the ubiquity of such practices. Here I examine the evidence for human sacrifice among the Vikings, and its implications.

Textual Evidence for human sacrifice in the Viking Age

Our best textual evidence for the practice of human sacrifice comes to us by way of the bishopric of Hamburg. As early as the 830’s, the monk Anskar embarked on a mission to the north to proselytize the Scandinavians. His journey took him to Upsala, in Sweden, where he made observations of the local culture, including some rather disturbing rituals involving sacrificial human beings. The chronicler Rimbert, who wrote about the life and mission of Anskar, relates to us the following testimony:

“At this time Upsala, which was about twenty miles north of Sigtuna, was the chief center of heathenism. It contained a gilded temple surrounded by a sacred wood on which the bodies of men and animals that had been sacrificed to the gods were constantly hanging.” – Life of Anskar, the Apostle of the North

A later bishop of Hamburg, Adam of Bremen, who also worked as a missionary in Scandinavia in the 11th century, and is best known for his title work Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, observed similar rituals in Uppsala, Sweden. In his description of the rituals, he describes the sacrifice as follows:

“Of every kind of male creature, nine victims are offered. By the blood of these creatures, it is the custom to appease the gods. Their bodies, moreover, are hanged in a grove which is adjacent to the temple. This grove is so sacred to the people that the separate trees in it are believed to be holy because of the death or putrefaction of the sacrificial victims. There even dogs and horses hang beside human beings.” – Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum

Another cleric named Thietmar of Merseburg described how the Danes met every nine years at the temple in Lejre, in Zealand, in the month of January to, “Offer to their gods 99 people and just as many horses, dogs and hens or hawks, for these should serve them in the kingdom of the dead and atone for their evil deeds.”

Accounts of human sacrifice in the written record have often been discounted as false propaganda against the pagan faiths during the Christianization of Scandinavia, and we must seriously consider the possibility. However, a disparate account from the Middle East, not in line with the motives of the bishopric of Hamburg, confirms the practice of human sacrifice in certain rituals. Ibn Fadlan’s encounter with the Rus, now one of the most popular sources on the Vikings in the East thanks to Michael Crichton, disputes the claim that the observation of Anskar and Adam of Bremen were slanderous. In his testimony, he wrote:

“The men came with shields and sticks. She was given a cup of intoxicating drink; she sang at taking it and drank. The interpreter told me that she in this fashion bade farewell to all her girl companions. Then she was given another cup; she took it and sang for a long time while the old woman incited her to drink up and go into the pavilion where her master lay. I saw that she was distracted; she wanted to enter the pavilion but put her head between it and the boat. Then the old woman seized her head and made her enter the pavilion and entered with her. Thereupon the men began to strike with the sticks on the shields so that her cries could not be heard and the other slave girls would not seek to escape death with their masters. Then six men went into the pavilion and each had intercourse with the girl. Then they laid her at the side of her master; two held her feet and two her hands; the old woman known as the Angel of Death re-entered and looped a cord around her neck and gave the crossed ends to the two men for them to pull. Then she approached her with a broad-bladed dagger, which she plunged between her ribs repeatedly, and the men strangled her with the cord until she was dead.”

That Ibn Fadlan met the Swedish Vikings known as the Rus on the Volga river, and that Anskar and Adam of Bremen also visited the Swedes, may point to the idea that human sacrifice was practiced more commonly in Sweden and further East. From the textual evidence, what we can say with relative certainty is that human sacrifice was indeed a practice, albeit it is impossible to say how widespread it may have been.

Archeological Evidence for human sacrifice in the Viking Age

Five wells dating back to the late 10th Century were discovered underneath a fort in Trelleborg, Denmark. Within them, archeologists found the mangled remains of various sacrifices, ranging from horses to dogs to humans. What makes this site of special intrigue is the fact that among the human sacrifices were young children aged between 4 and 7. Their presence raises more questions than it answers. Whatever the significance of the children’s remains, the site remains among the most valid pieces of evidence for the practice of human sacrifice in Viking Age Scandinavia.

At a royal center in Lejre, in Zealand, archeologists found two male skeletons with vastly different characteristics. The first skeleton was adorned with armor, weapons, and jewelry, and was laid to rest on his back. The second skeleton had been decapitated and was bound by the hands and feet. It is thought that this second skeleton was a thrall sacrificed alongside his master.

Another find in Denmark, at a site called Dråby, also contained two bodies in differing positions. The first, a woman, was buried whole with jewelry and other grave goods. The second skeleton was that of a man whose head had been cut off. The presumption is that the male skeleton was that of a thrall sacrificed to follow his mistress into the afterlife. The grave find has lead historians to conclude that both men and women could receive human sacrifices for their burial and that both men and women could be sacrificed.

There exist a litany of other such examples across Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, and as far away as Iceland, the Orkneys, and the Hebrides. Many of the suspected sacrifices are by no means conclusive, and therefore not concrete evidence. But ample evidence in the archeological record proves, to some extent, human sacrifice was indeed practiced in Viking Age Scandinavia.

Did Viking Age Scandinavians conduct human sacrifices prior to their Christianization? The evidence says yes, and the practice appears as gruesome as we might have imagined it. However, how widespread the practice may have been remains unclear.

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Do You Have Viking Blood?

Do You Have Viking Blood?

As Vikings gain popularity worldwide, the endeavor to link one’s ancestry to them is picking up steam. It’s no secret that the Vikings were prolific progenitors. They traveled far in search of riches, and often those they encountered were of interest to them in more ways than one. Their genetic material made its way into populations from Ireland to Russia, and they brought people from all those places back to Scandinavia as well. The Vikings spurred intermixing between communities across Europe more than any other group since the Romans. It’s no wonder so many people believe that somewhere in their family tree, there was a Viking.

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “Do I have Viking Ancestry?” Websites abound promising to reveal a user’s hidden Viking heritage through DNA tests, but most of them are merely swindling people out of their money and genetic data with misleading marketing. Additionally, even the most reputable services that analyze DNA only go back a couple of generations and ignore the broader movements of populations over the millennia.

The truth is, genetics as a field is still very young and very imprecise. To boot, the Vikings are not a genetic group. The word Viking describes those who left home to rove. Asking if you have Viking ancestry is no different than asking if you have Caribbean Pirate ancestry. It’s not a thing. But, if a service told you your DNA was matched to Viking Age Scandinavians, I would encourage you to dig deeper into their methodology and data sets. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not saying you don’t have Viking ancestors, only that you should be skeptical of results that confirm that you do.

If DNA tests won’t reliably tell you if you have a Viking somewhere in your family tree, how could you ever know? The short answer is you can’t for certain. But no one likes to hear that answer, and that’s why I have compiled a shortlist of my own estimates as to how likely you might be to have a Viking in your family tree based on what I know from the historical and archeological record.

Do you have Viking Blood? Here are my estimates (from a historian’s perspective) on how likely you might be to have a Viking ancestor somewhere in your family tree.

**DISCLAIMER: This article is for entertainment only. It is meant to serve as a starting point for curious minds to learn more about Viking history. If something you read here piques your interest, I encourage you to explore that topic in more depth. A great place to start is my selected bibliography, where you will find some of my favorite books on the subject of Viking history.

EN EBOOK PROMO

Iceland – 99%

Iceland started as a colony of Norwegian settlers seeking to escape the political turmoil in their homeland. Their history is preserved in the Icelandic Sagas, a body of documents that record the oral tradition of the Icelanders from the Viking Age. The Saga of Egill Skallagrimson, in particular, tells of men betaking themselves a-Viking, and from the sagas, one might glean that to sail as a Viking was almost a right of passage. Iceland also stands apart from other Scandinavian countries insofar as they remained wholly isolated through most of the medieval period. Their language is the closest relative to Old Norse. If you and your family are from Iceland, it is almost guaranteed someone in your family tree took a ship and roved abroad. 

Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden) – 80%

At the start of the Viking Age (~late 8th century A.D.) Scandinavia, roughly defined as modern-day Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, shared a common culture, as verified in the archeological record. These are the lands where the Vikings got their start. Over the three centuries we today call the Viking Age, Scandinavia diverged both culturally and linguistically, in part influenced by the foreign lands with which they had the most contact. The Danes preferred England and France and interacted heavily with the Saxons, Frisians, and Obrodites. Norwegians traveled the extra mile to Scotland, Ireland, and the Brittany region of France, and later Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland (America).

Meanwhile, the Swedes carved out vast swaths of territory for themselves in the East, established the city-states of Kyiv and Novgorod, and traded with the Byzantines. Not only did Viking Age Scandinavians influence the lands they roved, but those lands also influenced them! Not all Scandinavians left to go a-Viking. In fact, most probably did not. If you are from Scandinavia, you are very likely to have a Viking, or several Vikings, in your family tree.

Finland – 70%

Although the people who lived in the area known today as Finland were not part of the shared cultural boundary of Scandinavia at the outset of the Viking Age, they did over time work their way into the fabric of the Viking Age. Swedes trading with Constantinople relied on the Finns to provide the raw materials for trade, and Viking chieftains quickly learned that marrying Finnish princesses was a great way to maintain amicable relationships with them. By the time the city-states of Kyiv and Novgorod were established, many of the Vikings who participated in the eastward expansion were of mixed Scandinavian-Finnish ancestry. If you are from Finland, it is highly likely there was a Viking, or several, in your family 1,000 years ago.

The Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) – 70%

As early as the 7th Century A.D., Swedes from the island of Gotland started to move eastward. They established a colony at what is now Grobina, in Latvia, and that colony would help to facilitate the broader expansion of Viking activity in the eastern river systems. Graves from the Grobina colony reveal a shifting trend in the kinds of people who lived there throughout the 8th century. The younger the grave, archeologists have found, the more likely it is to be a warrior grave. Viking activity in the Baltic States remained steady well into the medieval period. Moreover, Sweden has continued substantial interaction with the region up to today, making it highly likely that someone from one of the Baltic States has an ancestor somewhere up the family tree who was a Viking.

The U.K. – 60%

In the 9th century, Danish Vikings carved out half of Britain for themselves in a territory called the Danelaw. Their capital was a thriving Norse city called Jorvik, today called York. In 1066, England was again invaded, this time by William the Conquerer. William brought with him Norman knights, a group of francophone Danish noblemen who could be considered among the last Vikings. The Normans ruled England and parts of France and Italy well into the high middle ages. If you are English, Scottish, or Welsh, you likely have an ancestor who was at one time a Viking.

Ireland – 60%

Before the arrival of the Norwegian Vikings, the Irish people were quite insular. They had few coastal settlements and spent the entire period from the fall of Rome to the early medieval period culturally frozen in time. When the Vikings arrived, they founded several coastal settlements in what are today Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, among others. By the time the Irish kings realized what was happening, it was too late. Ireland struggled for many years to rid themselves of the Vikings. Notably, the great kings of Leinster, such as Muiredach Mac Ruadrach, swore specific oaths to the church to help push back against the pagan invasion. In 847, the Irish scored several critical victories across the island, which forcefully expelled most of the Norse settlers from their lands, but fewer than two decades later, the Vikings returned. Scandinavian settlements in Ireland played the game of politics well and over the next century and a half they established themselves firmly in the Irish genetic pool, eventually becoming the aptly-named Hiberno-Norse. If you are from Ireland, there’s a good chance one of your ancestors was one of these debonaire pirates who settled Ireland.

Western France – 40%

Normandy is the obvious region of France one thinks of when invoking of the Vikings, but Brittany and Aquitaine were also heavily frequented by those who roved. In fact, the whole of the Brittany region was held under Viking occupation for three decades until the Bretons re-conquered it under the banner of Alain Barbe-Torte. If you are from Western France (Normandy, Brittany, Aquitaine), there’s a good chance you have a Viking in your family tree. If you are from Central or Eastern France, it is not as likely—the river systems in the Carolingian empire tended to be far more perilous than elsewhere in Europe.

Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus – 40%

Although the tribe of Swedish Vikings known as the Rus gave their name to Russia, the likelihood of having a Viking ancestor is far less there than in Finland and the Baltic States. When the Rus founded the city-states of Kyiv and Novgorod, they established themselves as rulers over the Slavs who comprised the vast majority of the population. If we are to believe the Russian Primary Chronicle (which is often dubious), the only Vikings who established themselves in Kyiv and Novgorod were noblemen. Therefore, if you are from Russia (on the European side of the Ural Mountains), Ukraine, or Belarus, there’s a chance you have a Viking ancestor.

The Netherlands – 30%  

The Netherlands, known in the Viking Age as Frisia, was heavily raided for centuries and colonized on multiple occasions by the Danes. Most famous was Rurik of Dorestad, the first Viking chieftain to receive an enfeoffment from the Carolingians. In the long run, however, the Carolingians maintained too strong a hold over the region, stifling long term settlement. If you are dutch, there is a small chance that you have a Viking grandpa.

Spain and Portugal – 5%

The coast of Asturias, an early medieval kingdom in the north of Spain, was attacked several times by the Vikings. What’s more, a Viking fleet successfully sacked Lisbon and captured Seville in 844, inflicting great fear in the Moors. However, Viking activity in Iberia remained sparse. Following the humiliating defeats at the hands of the Norsemen, the Moors quickly built up their navy, which successfully repelled Viking attacks in the second half of the 9th century. Hasting, a supposed son of Ragnar Lothbrok, partook in an infamous excursion into the Mediterranean, which ended mostly in disaster due to the strength of the Moorish fleet guarding the straight of Gibraltar. If you are from the Iberian peninsula, there’s a slim chance you have a Viking in your family tree.

Italy – 5%

There exists a single account of the Vikings reaching Italy. Led by the notorious chieftain Hasting, a fleet of 30 ships sacked the city of Luna with less-than-honorable tactics. They had meant to sack Rome but realized after taking Luna that they had made a navigational error. They did not colonize Italy, and so it is exceedingly unlikely that Italians have many Viking relatives. The reason Italy figures on this list is because of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. If you are from Italy, there is a slim chance one of your ancestors was a Viking and an indirect one at that.

The Balkans and Turkey – 5%

When the Rus attempted to besiege Constantinople, the Byzantine emperor was so impressed by their ferocity that he invited them to become his elite personal guard, later known as the Varangian Guard. The tradition of serving in the Varangian guard spread to all of Scandinavia, and it became a right of passage for Scandinavian princes and nobles to serve in it. The famed Harald Hardrada, widely regarded as the last Viking king, served in the Varangian Guard in his youth. Interestingly, the Varangian Guard persisted until the 13th century, long after the end of the Viking Age. If you are from the Balkans or Turkey, there’s a slim chance one of your ancestors served the Byzantine emperor.

Mongolia – .05%

Although the Vikings never traveled as far as Mongolia, the Mongolian Golden Horde did invade and occupy Eastern Europe for decades. During that time, they brought back their favorite new pets — blue-eyed and blond slaves. Today there is a recessive gene in Mongolia by which children are born with light hair and blue eyes. Since we know that Norse genes were present in the areas conquered by the Mongols, a tiny fraction of the population may have a Viking in their family tree. For that, of course, we have Genghis Kahn to thank.

Is your country not on this list? Leave a comment below, and I’ll add an estimate for your country.

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Do You Use the Word Viking Correctly?

Language matters, and how a person uses language significantly affects their worldview and how they perceive people, objects, and concepts. It is no surprise, therefore, that there are a growing number of people who are dismayed by today’s liberal use of the word Viking to describe a great number of things that the word initially did not. Historians have fought pitched battles over the origins of the word, and many an unsuspecting Viking history fan has been on the receiving end of the ire of the word’s purists. Do you use the word Viking correctly? Yes, and no. Here I will attempt to clarify the origins of the word, its various uses across the ages, and the evolution of its modern incarnation, specifically in non-Scandinavian languages.

The Origins of the Word Viking

This much we know for sure: the word Viking is derived from Old Norse. While its origins are not well understood, and historians are divided over where precisely the word originated, we do know the word began not as a noun but as a verb. The Saga of Egill Skallagrimsson, one of the most famous of the Icelandic Sagas, offers us one of the most compelling examples of the word’s original use (keeping in mind that the Icelandic Sagas were written centuries after the Viking Age). In his opening passage, he describes a man named Ulfr as a man who, “lá hann í víkingu og herjaði,” which translates (roughly) to, “he was roving and fought.” In the context of the passage, the word víkingu, or viking, describes an activity – roving – rather than the man.

Egill Skallagrímsson in a 17th-century manuscript of Egil’s Saga
Egill Skallagrímsson in a 17th-century manuscript of Egil’s Saga

Later in the saga, the word is used in a completely different way:

“With bloody brand on-striding
Me bird of bane hath followed:
My hurtling spear hath sounded
In the swift Vikings’ charge.
Raged wrathfully our battle,
Ran fire o’er foemen’s rooftrees;
Sound sleepeth many a warrior
Slain in the city gate.”

Here the saga’s author uses the word as a noun to describe a group of people carrying out a specific action, which tells us the word may have also been used to describe the men whose profession it was to rove and fight. Jugglers juggle. Traders trade. Vikings viking.

Egill’s Saga may well be the last time the word was used in the medieval period. As the Viking Age came to a close, the profession of roving and fighting declined, and with it the use of the word Viking. Although modern Icelandic is the closest relative to Old Norse, Old Norse is considered a dead language. It evolved over the medieval period into the separate languages of Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic, and the word Viking did not make it into any of their lexicons.  It disappeared almost entirely for many centuries until it experienced a revival led by 19th Century historians from Western Europe.

Detail of a miniature from a 13th-century Icelandic manuscript.
Detail of a miniature from a 13th-century Icelandic manuscript.

The Revival of the Word Viking

The Romantic movement of the early 19th Century (1800–1850) developed an intrinsic fascination with the medieval period. Part of that movement saw a rapidly growing interest in a little-known, poorly understood element of early medieval history: the Viking Age. Historians flocked to the field with keen interest, seeking to shed light on this “dark” age. It is 19th Century historians who first demarcated the Viking Age between 793 A.D., the attack on Lindisfarne, and 1066 A.D, the Norman invasion of England. They were the first to study the sagas, search for writings about the Viking invasions of Europe, and begin to form a coherent narrative of the Viking Age. Through their efforts, Western Civilization rediscovered the long lost history of an enigmatic people who had plagued the early kingdoms of Britain and France, and whose origins they traced to Scandinavia.

During the romantic period, there had not yet been any ship burial discoveries and no archeological digs of any significance, so the primary sources they used had to be tracked down across Europe, many of them hidden away in age-old university archives, cathedral libraries, and private collections owned by Europe’s ruling class. Misconceptions about the Vikings abound in this early period of research, many of which persist to today. At the same time, a new political force took hold in Western Europe, one that would be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in the following century: the concept of nationalism.

Beginning in the mid 19th century, the governments of Europe, both nascent democracies and established autocracies, sought to bend the narrative of history to suit their political aims and confirm their legitimacy. In France, for example, the official national story was that modern France was the product of the Carolingian empire, a holy Christian institution that helped to stabilize Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. In England, the official historical narrative began with the Anglo-Saxon kings, such as Alfred the Great, to emphasize that the English monarchy had a long and rich history, one who had fought back innumerable invasions with the help of God. It is within the context of nascent national fervor that the study of the Vikings took shape. Not surprisingly, historians painted the Vikings as an enemy who threatened civilization and had to be defeated. The triumph of Christendom over “the ravages of heathen men”, as written in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, was regarded as a pivotal, divinely ordained achievement, exploited by the governments of Europe as a means to further prove the providence of their nations and to encourage national pride.

The fearsome enemy of Christendom, however, did not yet have a name. What then to call these invaders who attempted to thwart the Christian kingdoms of Europe? No one really knows where 19th-century historians, and later, society, picked up the word for use in non-Scandinavian languages. It may have been borrowed directly from the Scandinavians of the day, or perhaps taken directly from the Sagas of the Icelanders. Historian Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough explains in her book, Beyond the Northlands, that the first modern use in English of the word Viking was recorded in 1807. The word wasn’t reserved for the “men who roved”, but instead referred to the entire Norse world. It is, woefully, a product of the “us against them” mentality, and an unfortunate oversimplification and mischaracterization of a time and people we now know to have been far more complicated than previously acknowledged. From 1807 forward, the generalized use of the word dominated the histories and the arts of the 19th and 20th centuries and is by-and-large how most people use the word today.

Evaristo Vital Luminais - Pirates normands au IXe siècle
A 19th Century depiction of a Viking raid.

So, Do You Use the Word Viking Correctly?

It all boils down to effective communication. Who is the audience? What is their level of knowledge in regards to the Viking Age? Making clear your intent for the word is critical, and nowhere is this done better than in a recent book titled The Age of the Vikings, by historian Anders Winroth, in which he takes the time to make clear how he intends to use the word to his audience:

“The word ‘Viking’ is rare in the Viking Age sources, but in modern times it has become a ubiquitous but ill-defined label. The original sense of the term is unclear, and there are many suggestions for etymological derivations. In this book, I reserve the term ‘Vikings’ for those northerners who in the early middle ages raided, plundered, and battled in Europe, in accordance with how the word is used in Medieval texts. Otherwise, I refer to the inhabitants of Scandinavia as Scandinavians. The language they spoke is called Old Norse, so I have sometimes used the term ‘Norsemen.’”

Anyone who uses the word should be careful to define how they intend to use it, and to make clear the differences between its various usages. I, for example, use the word Viking more interchangeably because my intended audience is those people who are beginning to explore their interest in the Viking Age and who may not yet understand how its modern use differs from the past. However, in writing more in-depth histories, I focus my use of the word on the “men who roved.”

As always, for further reading, check out my selected bibliography.

 

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Viking Vlog 4: Who Were the Jomsvikings?

Viking Vlog 4: Who Were the Jomsvikings?

 

In this episode, I give a 10,000-foot view of the Jomsvikings, a warrior society from the Viking Age who have captured the imaginations of many around the world. I discuss what we know about them and why, and some of the problems historians have in verifying what we think we know.

As promised, here is a link to the Saga of the Jomsvikings, translation by Lee Hollander: https://amzn.to/3dNEn1c

As discussed in the video, if you have burning questions about Viking history, ask away in the comments below, and I may use your question for a future Viking Vlog.

If you’re interested in checking out my novels, click here: https://geni.us/LordsofWind Love my work? Consider supporting me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cjadrien

Newly Discovered Icelandic Saga Confirms Contact with American Bigfoot

Reykjavik, Iceland, April 1, 2020

Ari Olafsson had no idea his family had kept an original Icelandic Saga book all these years. “It feels surreal. My grandfather never showed me this,” Mr. Olafsson says. “We think we have them all, but I guess there might be some others here and there, in people’s garages.”

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Ari Olafsson

Olafsson, appointed the executor of his grandfather’s will, made the discovery while sifting through a storage unit of the deceased’s belongings. Seeing the age and style of the document, he immediately submitted a request to the National Museum of Iceland to verify its authenticity. Museum curator of ancient texts, Magnus Magnusson, spent two weeks analyzing the artifact and concluded it is a lost Icelandic Saga.

At first, I thought it was a fake, but when the aging analysis returned and confirmed it was produced in the 13th century, we knew we had something special in our hands.

“It’s an exciting discovery,” Magnusson says. “At first, I thought it was a fake, but when the aging analysis returned and confirmed it was produced in the 13th century, we knew we had something special in our hands.”

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Magnus Magnusson

While a newly discovered Icelandic Saga is cause for celebration enough, what Magnusson found in the text proved even more exciting. The story told in the document speaks of a voyage to Vinland, in America, and of something so unusual, it caused the entire team of analysts pause. 

“You know, we heard before in one document about the dark-eyed and hairy natives of Vinland, but we always thought it was about people,” Magnusson says. “In this story, they describe a man-like beast, half man and half bear, who lurks in the forest and steals children.”

When asked what creature he thinks the Saga is referencing, Magnusson said, “American Bigfoot.”

But then I read it, and it was there, clear as day. The Vikings saw Bigfoot.

“I don’t believe it,” says historian Bjorn Kjartansson at the University of Reykjavik. “Bigfoot? It feels like a joke. But then I read it, and it was there, clear as day. The Vikings saw Bigfoot.”

Eiríks_the_Red_saga
Newly Discovered Saga

Magnusson read for us the passage in question: “They roam the forests and watch us from the trees. They are not bears, and they are not Skraellings. The skraellings fear them and worship them, and they call them The Great Ones. The Great Ones have stolen two of our children, we believe to devour them. At night they howl like wolves to the moon. Some nights, they throw stones at our houses. Bjarni saw one clear enough one day. He saw a beast tall as a mountain and eyes black as night, with hair like a wolf’s mane covering its whole body. So horror-stricken was he, Bjarni took his family and his ship, and sailed from this place.”

“There’s more,” Magnus says, “but the translation needs work.”

When asked for further comment on the discovery, and whether his ancestors had seen the American Bigfoot, Ari Olafsson said, “I don’t really care, as long as I can make some money off of it.”

The implications of the new document are astounding. Did the Vikings encounter the famed Bigfoot in North America? Is Bigfoot to blame for the failure of the Vinland colony? Does it really steal children to eat them? Magnusson has vowed to continue his research and hopes to answer all these questions.

Article originally published on APRIL FOOL’S DAY!!!