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UPDATE: Contents of 100-Year-Old Norwegian Package Turn Out to Be Horribly Disappointing

In 1912, Johan Nygaard, the mayor of the town of Otta, created a time capsule to be opened in 2012. After 100 years the contents have finally been revealed

smithsonian.com

This afternoon at 12:41 p.m. EST, a package that was sealed in 1912 in a small town in central Norway, was finally opened after 100 years of mystery during a ceremony to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Kringen. The parcel, which read, “May be opened in 2012,” was left in the council’s care by Johan Nygaard, Otta‘s first mayor, in 1920 and no one knew what it contained until today.

So what’s in the package?

Another package.

And within the package within the package, are several letters, newspaper clippings and documents. Some of the papers are dated “1919”, which is baffling as the package was supposedly sealed in 1912. As Kjell Voldheim, who works at Gudbrandsdal museum where the parcel has been held, sifted through the delicate papers, a translator narrated:

 ”There are telegrams from the big celebration in 1912. It is sealed but we will have to wait for it “

And wait we did.

If you missed the unveiling of the package’s contents—which was both elaborate and suspenseful—we thought it might be nice to hit the highlights in the following play-by-play:

12:01 p.m.: As commentators whisper, a murmur falls among the crowd. The lighting dims to a dark blue.

12:03 p.m.: A lady with a tiara is introduced. Lacking an English translation at this moment, we gather she is a princess and most likely very important.

12:05 p.m.: A costumed soloist sings a cappella. The eerie tune may represent the mysterious contents of the package.

12:15-12:30 p.m.: Instruments are played in a series of movements, which may or may not have something to do with the Battle of Kringen.

12:32 p.m.: One of the emcees dressed in stockings and other “historical” garb, jokingly describes himself as “world famous in Otta, Norway.” He reveals that this is the moment “some of us have all been waiting for.”

12:35 p.m.: Emcee reminds us that this moment, is actually the one we’ve been waiting for. Otta’s current mayor has the honor of cutting the “strapping on the package and the ropes that have been sealed for 100 years.”

12:41 p.m.: Crowd is silent; Voldheim reveals that the package is actually a package within a package.

12:42 p.m.: Within the package in a package is a letter wrapped in fabric that reads “From the King” in Norwegian.

12:45 p.m.: After much shuffling of newspaper clippings, letters, and documents, Voldheim says almost in exasperation: “Oye yoy yoy.”

After the historians decipher what is written on the various letters and clippings a more specific summary will be offered. Watch the rest of the live coverage on Verdens Gang Online.

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In 1912 in a small town in central Norway, Johan Nygaard, Otta‘s first mayor, scribbled a note on a package. In a lovely cursive scrawl he wrote the words: “May be opened in 2012.”

Tomorrow, a roughly 7-pound, secret parcel will finally be opened after 100 years of quiet existence. Not one person alive knows what’s inside—though some have their guesses. Kjell Voldheim who works at Gudbrandsdal museum in the Norwegian county of Oppland where the package is held, is one of two people who will get to open it. He shared his theories on what’s inside with the Norwegian newspaper, VG Nett:

“We have no idea what’s in it! It is incredibly exciting! There may be historical documents in it. Or maybe it’s “The Blue Star” diamond from the Titanic, which sank in 1912″

Voldheim asks a group of children what they think in the video embedded above. Their answers, as you might expect, are as good as ours:

“A knife that’s packed inside a large piece of paper”

“An ancient scripture”

“Imagine if it is a pea!”

The package has made it through two world wars and exchanged many hands in the last century moving from vaults to archives to the museum. It was practically forgotten and nearly thrown away in the ’50s, during a renovation at the local council hall, according to the Daily Mail. “100 years is a long time,” Voldheim says in the video, referring to its wayward journey to the museum where it lives today. Somehow, the secret, left in the council’s care by Nygaard since 1920, has stayed safe, whatever it is.

The opening ceremony will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. GMT 4 p.m. GMT (12 p.m. EST) on Verdens Gang Online.

About K. Annabelle Smith
K. Annabelle Smith

K. Annabelle Smith is a writer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico who covers a wide variety of topics for Smithsonian.com. Her work also appears in OutsideOnline.com and Esquire.com.

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