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In Lake Seljordsvatnet located in Telemark, Norway there is a creature known to the locals as Selma. Selma is described as a long snake like animal that is approximately 30 ft long. The first sighting of Selma dates back to 1750 when an attack on a small boat was attributed to the creature. The creature was sighted numerous times during the 1800 with the high point being an incident in 1880 when a woman reportedly cut the creature in half and the rear half returned to the water. The local left the front dead half on the beach to rot away and no samples were taken. Since 1750, there have been over 100 sightings of the creature up to and including the year 2000. Recently Selma has been featured in the international press. Some of those articles are listed below:

Monster mysteries continue to baffle Europe

The alleged monster and its possible eye

August 2, 2000
Web posted at: 6:28 PM EDT (2228 GMT)

(CNN) -- From creatures of the deep to massive mountain monsters, legends of shy prehistoric forms of wildlife persist throughout European culture and history.

The legend of Scotland's Loch Ness monster is easily the most popular and enduring.

But now Norway has a rival to the famed creature -- "Selma," a fabled serpent which has caught the attention of an international team of monster hunters.

A giant trap for catching the creature, reputed to be a cousin of the Loch Ness monster, has been set up in a lake in south Norway.

The 18-foot (6m) long tube-shaped trap, comprising a metal frame with nylon netting, is set to be lowered into Seljord lake in south Norway and will contain live fish for bait to catch "Selma."

Over the next two weeks, the team, which comprises seven Swedes, three Norwegians, a Canadian and a Belgian, will dangle the cage in the lake, about 110 miles (170 km) southwest of Oslo, at depths of up to 300-feet (91m) near where sightings of the monster have been reported.

Reports of a beast in the lake first surfaced around 1750, and most accounts agree it looks like a serpent with the head of an elk or a horse.

But despite perpetual reports of sightings, claimed photographs of the monsters and a number of attempts to scientifically prove their existence, the mysteries of Loch Ness and Selma remain just that.

In the case of the Loch Ness monster, the legend grows ever larger and more popular among the local community -- particularly because of the tourism it generates.

Whether it is that factor or similar enduring folklore, lake creatures are also becoming more regularly spotted throughout Europe.

The latest attempt to catch Nessie's Norwegian cousin follows other sightings in Scandinavian countries. Swedish monster spotters have been kept busy in recent years with a rush of stories about a similar strain of serpent.

Five years ago, a new legend was born in Lake Van, Turkey. Authorities recorded witness accounts of a monster-like dinosaur in the country's largest lake.

In 1997, pictures claimed to be of the reclusive lake snake were sent to England's Cambridge University and to renowned marine biologist Jacques Cousteau for analysis amid accusations of a bid by the nearby community to attract more tourists to the region.

Across the Atlantic, Canada has its own version of the mystery, the Ogopogo.

But it is not only slippery serpents that capture the imagination of monster spotters.

The Yeti, a hairy, oversized, man-like beast, is said to live in mountain ranges in Europe -- particularly the Caucasus range.

Russia has recorded more than 1,000 sightings of the Yeti and, according to London's Daily Telegraph newspaper, several dozen scientists gathered in Moscow in 1997 to talk through reported evidence of the monster, also known as the Abominable Snowman.

Claims of sightings of the Yeti are also common in Asia. In North America, a similar creature, the Sasquatch or "Big Foot" is part of common folklore.

Sightings and claims of proof of inexplicable beings are most frequent in the United States. There, expanding archives of films, photographs and now Web sites attempt to prove the existence of an array of fantastic wildlife.

But perhaps a lesson to nonbelievers comes from the South Pacific, where a giant race of squid, mythologized for centuries, turned out to be real.

After remaining elusive for many years, more and more of the creatures, some measuring more than 60 feet long, are being caught by fishermen off Australia and New Zeland.

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.

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."

When a mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey
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