History Wins As Norway’s 100-Year-Old Mystery Parcel Is Opened

And the prize worth waiting a century for was...

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In what was perhaps the most underwhelming non-event since the Y2K millennium bug (remember that?) or last year’s supposed Rapture, a “mysterious parcel” that had remained sealed for a century in a small town in Norway was finally opened.

The package, which was originally dated August 26th, 1912, carried a note from a man named Johan Nygard instructing the curious people of Otta — a town in the municipality of Sel in the delightfully named northern county of Oppland — not to open it until 2012.

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Much hype and speculation centered around the package, as Otta’s residents dutifully respected the opening date. While the mysterious six-pound bundle merely asked them to leave it sealed until 2012, the town of fewer than 3,000 situated northwest of Oslo chose a lauded anniversary to break it open: the the 400th anniversary of the Battle of Kringen, when the townspeople defeated invading Scottish soldiers. They had hoped the parcel, neatly tied with regal inscriptions on it, was related to the hallowed battle.

No such luck: The long-awaited opening yielded some not-too-valuable notebooks, newspaper clippings, community council papers, a letter, small drawing and other bits of paper, reports Forbes.

And it was far from the stock purchases or small fortune some had been hoping for. No surprise, then, that some VIPs at the grand unveiling — attended by Princess Astrid of Norway — found it hard to disguise their disappointment.

What’s more, as the current inhabitants of Otta respected the wish inscribed on the package, its original compilers didn’t even manage to heed their own request. Inside, newspapers dated from 1914 and 1919 showed that the package was added to after its initial sealing. Surely they could have tossed in a few stacks of money, too?

“Well, the package didn’t solve our financial problems,” said Sel mayor Dag Erik Pryhn. “But our history got richer,” he added in a consolatory footnote.

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