By Yoav Tirosh
The Historical past Channel has two widespread reveals – Historic Aliens and Vikings. Each are something however historic, and but they each problem the viewer to rethink the ways in which they strategy the previous. What would occur should you mixed the 2? Is it attainable that UFOs visited and interacted with the Vikings? And the place would we discover these encounters?
It’s no secret that the Icelandic sagas – often summed up as “farmers got here to blows” – are ample with paranormal and supernatural encounters. It’s also no secret that ever because the well-known 2017 New York Occasions article discussing UFOs (unidentified flying objects) and the latest US congressional listening to on UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena), folks have been treating this matter with much less eye-rolling and extra curiosity/concern. Nonetheless, I confess that I might not have thought to interact with this matter at a extensively learn venue similar to Medievalists.web had I not most just lately secured postdoctoral funding for the subsequent three years; hopefully by the top of that interval this text will both be forgotten or vindicated. That being mentioned, when writing this text I handled it extra as a considerably light-hearted thought experiment; the entire scenes I focus on have been handled as fulfilling literary features inside the narrative and a few have even been tied to spiritual motifs or practices.
Alien abduction in Eyrbyggja saga
One scene within the paranormal-heavy Saga of the Folks of Eyri (Eyrbyggja saga) stands out particularly when discussing UFOs. One night time, the younger Gunnlaugr walks dwelling alone from Katla the Witch’s farm, and is discovered bloodied and unconscious close to the door of his home. Accusations fly excessive, with one other native witch referred to as Geirríðr being accused of “night time driving” Gunnlaugr like a mare. Afterward the witch Katla confesses to inflicting Gunnlaug’s accidents, and she or he is stoned to dying.
This looks as if an open and shut case, definitely nothing that will catch Fox Mulder’s (of The X-Recordsdata fame) consideration. However we have to think about the context of this confession. Katla had simply seen her beloved son Oddr hung by his enemies, and even worse: throughout his dying throes, his executor Arnkell factors the blame on the mom. This sort of cruelty is sure to be traumatizing, and Katla’s want to die there after which somewhat than stay on with the reminiscence of her son’s last moments is comprehensible. But when we re-examine Gunnlaugr’s accidents one other chance opens up. Earlier than he leaves each the witch Geirríðr and Katla’s dwelling, each ladies warn him concerning the penalties of his travelling alone. Geirríðr goes so far as mentioning imprecise paranormal exercise on that specific night time. Gunnlaugr ignores these phrases and disappears. This disappearance and later unconscious re-appearance match the scheme of a typical alien abduction story. What if the paranormal exercise that Geirríðr warned about was not, in reality, Katla’s witchcraft, however an alien spacecraft?
UFO sightings and temporal distortion in Njál’s saga
A way of time loss and linear confusion are sometimes related to UFO sightings and alien abductions. Such temporal distortions are fairly widespread in anticipating and following farm burning scenes within the sagas. Earlier than famously inflicting his household to burn inside their home, Njáll the Burner has visions of blood showing on the partitions, and his spouse Bergþóra additionally senses that that is to be their final night time. After the burning, folks can hear Njáll’s son Skarphéðinn utter a poem, regardless of clearly dying from the fireplace. Most significantly, earlier than the assault on Njáll’s family, the younger Hildiglúmr witnesses a glowing sphere and inside it what seems to be a person on a gray horse.
What may clarify these paranormal occurrences? A lesser scholar may recommend that these are manifestations of guilt that Njáll experiences on account of orchestrating his household’s dying. However it’s value remembering that many UFO sightings, from the looks of foo-fighters to the latest tic-tac video, have lengthy been related to applied sciences of battle. The truth is, some accounts inform of UFOs hanging round US nuclear amenities, and some even declare that they actively disabled nuclear missiles. The inconceivable form inside a sphere that Hildiglúmr experiences is often described in UFO reviews, as are the negative effects that he experiences following the paranormal encounter.
Alien know-how in Þorsteins þáttr uxafóts
The story of Þorsteinn Bull-Leg (Þorsteins þáttr uxafóts) tells of the loving brother and sister Þorkell and Oddný. Oddný is nonspeaking, and due to this fact communicates with Þorkell by carving runes on a stick. After a sailor will get her pregnant (the story implies that this was rape) and abandons her, her son Þorsteinn is disowned and virtually killed by her brother Þorkell, however their kinship is ultimately acknowledged later in life. One night time, when Þorsteinn is ten, he lies to sleep subsequent to a big mound, with the enslaved man Freysteinn wanting over him. When he awakes he relates a story of how he bought concerned in a battle between siblings contained in the mound. At its finish he obtained a chunk of gold, which he has in his fingers. He locations this gold beneath his mom’s tongue and she or he is ready to communicate from that second on. Whereas Freysteinn stands guard over Þorsteinn all by means of the night time, the truth that he awakes with the gold and likewise twelve silver cash signifies that one thing of a bodily nature had certainly occurred. These Viking mounds’ shapes are suspiciously much like some accounts of UFOs, and the paranormal occurrences connected to them strengthen the inkling that these two are linked.
Are UFOs actual?
One stormy night time in Norway, a bunch of drunken Icelanders waited out the dangerous climate in a straw-filled hut. All of the sudden, with out warning, a misshapen creature as giant as a troll enters the hut. The Icelanders begin attacking it, throwing fiery logs on the fiend. The straw catches fireplace and the Icelanders contained in the hut die. They may by no means study that the particular person coming into their hut was none aside from Grettir the Robust, who swam throughout a frozen channel to succeed in them and fetch fireplace for his crew of freezing shipmates. The chilly swim had turned the material he had round him icy-cold, and thus gave him an uncanny look, enhanced by the dancing gentle of the fireplace and the reality-altering results of the alcohol. Some issues will stay ceaselessly unexplained to us, however they’re in reality somewhat mundane. Had been the tales that fashioned the saga occasions described right here the identical? Or is there a extra mysterious, highly effective power at play?
See additionally the 2016 e-book Medieval Science Fiction, edited by Carl Kears and James Paz.
Dr. Yoav Tirosh will quickly start a postdoc on incapacity within the sagas of Icelanders on the Centre for Incapacity Research on the College of Iceland. He’s additionally an exterior member of CVM (Heart for Vikingetid og Middelalder) at Aarhus College. He creates the Viking Comics by Yoav webcomic about life in Iceland and Vikings. Click on right here to view his Academia.edu web page. You may study extra about his comics on Instagram, Fb, or Twitter @RealMundiRiki.
High Picture: The Northern Lights in Iceland. Picture by Sean O Riordan / Flickr