The Hessa Serpent SightingTime: 1999, June 1st
At: Ålesund town. North-west coast of Norway.
Seen by: Arnt Helge Molvær and his son Per, from Sula.
Stills from the video
NRK - June 2nd, the evening news at 19.00: A grinning reporter Håkon Ingolf Teigene announced a sea serpent footage at the end of the news cast.
A few days later I interviewed Molvaer by telephone who told me this:
Arnt Helge Molvaer had gone for a walk along the fjord. Then he saw a strange creature coming from the left, swimming 200 meters off and parallell to the shore line.
He described it like this: it was 75 to 95 feet long and 4.5 feet across, and tapering towards both ends.
1/3 of the way back from the head there was a dorsal fin 30 - 40 cm high; a kind of sqarish fin that was higher at the front end. He watched the strange animal for about 10 minutes through his 7 x 35 binoculars, before he decided to run home for his video camera.
40 - 50 minutes later Arnt Helge had returned with the camera accompanied by his teen age son Per. The strange creature was still there, but now futher out in the fjord.
The news footage showed an obviously living creature displaying its fin above the surface, creating a powerful wake when it moved. It swam away from the camera towards a floating whale carcass.
It was quite a distance away, with the town of Aalesund far off in the background. Father and son continued watching and video taping the creature who was occupied nosing around the carcass for some reason.
Molvaer said that his son Per had commented on the animal in this way: "It resembled an anaconda; only it was much much bigger."
Molvaer told me that he had found out that there were several other observations in the fjord during the last couple of days.
Update. March 20th 2001
Arnt Helge Molvær observed the animal from a vantage point 75 m back above and close to the shore. By using his pair of binoculars he was able to fairly well observe even the submerged parts of the animal.
The strange creature came swimming from the left, swimming 200 m off and parallel to the shore line. The sea was dead calm at this point.
The body: The 75 to 95 feet long animal swam in the surface, keeping its head submerged. The head did have the same thickness as the "neck" and looked like a gigantic anaconda head, a bit squarish in front.
It was not possible to see any obvious neck, as the thickness of the body just grew larger from the head back to the thickest part of the body, 1.5 m across, again tapering to end in the tail.
As mentioned earlier: 1/3 back from the head there was a dorsal fin 30 - 40 cm high; a kind of sqauarish fin that was higher at the front end.
Colour: Brown along the entire back. Along the sides the colour turned into a lighter brown tone. He did not see the belly well.
Swimming: The animal moved by horizontal undulations, very much like terrestial snakes do when on land or in water. At this point Molvær was positioned high above looking down at the animal which was swimming 200 m off land.
However, when the animal was feeding on the whale carcass far out in the fjord, ha was able to observe vertical undulations as well. This phenomena may be a result of the animal being stationary eating, having to bite or tear loose pieces from the carcass.
Carrion eating: After passing Molvær the animal detected the whale carcass and dragged it further away from the shore, "at quite a speed", Molvær said. He was astonished at its strength and agility.
This feat is remarkable; never being observed before by anyone. It then actually started feeding on the carcass. When Molvær returned with his digital camera and his son, the animal was still feeding off the carcass far out in the middle of the fjord.
Carrion eating behaviour is to my knowledge never before being witnessed or being described, not even by Sanderson or Heuvelmans. Chasing fish or fish shoals is however known, both in the New England Serpent, and in lake serpents in Loch Ness and Lake Seljord.
Bear in mind though that we probably are dealing with totally different species, judging from the descriptions of the animals.
Is Zeuglodon a candidate?
Still today there exists a healthy fear of facing " the sea serpent" in open waters. An experienced fisherman in a small boat panicked and fled to the shore when he met the Aalesund animal, a behaviour consistent with centuries of experience with the animal where tales have survived of boats and men having been "drowned" by the animal.
Two animals: Molvær says that it is possible to see two different eating animals at the same time from opposite angles when studying the film.
Several witnesses: Since the sighting Molvær has been contacted by several other witnesses who want to remain anonymus. All of them describes the same creature which stayed in the fjords for a fortnight. I hope to bring some of their statesments at a later point. This case certainly needs further investigation.
What sort of animal is this ?
Do there exist marine snakes of 90 feet with a fin on their back, or do we deal with a survivor of the supposedly extinct Zeuglodon of some kind?