Oslo: Johann Nygaard handed over the parcel to the local authorities in Sel in the 1920s with no word of explanation. It bore the message: “Can be opened in 2012.”
Now, the guessing game has finally ended. After fevered speculation that the package contained bombshell documents, a sheaf of oil shares to make the townsfolk rich or even the “Blue Star” diamond rumoured to have gone down with the Titanic, the truth was revealed.
And it could have been more exciting.
In a ceremony attended by Princess Astrid of Norway and streamed live to the world, the parcel was opened by a white-gloved museum curator. It was found to contain some notebooks, yellowing newspapers, community council documents and swatches of fabric in the colour of Norway’s flag.
As The Local, Norway’s English-language newspaper, put it: “If you were expecting an anti-climax, you may well be on the mark. Suggestions that some onlookers have fallen asleep are greatly exaggerated.”
The current mayor of Sel, Dag Erik Prhyn, attempted to hide his disappointment. “Well, the package didn’t solve our financial problems,” he said, “but our history got richer.”
The package, measuring 40cm x 28cm and weighing 7lbs, had been housed in the Gudbrandsdal Museum. It survived two world wars and twice narrowly avoided being thrown away during clear-out operations, once in the 1950s and again in the 1980s.
Before it was opened, museum curator Kjell Voldheim said: “We haven’t the faintest idea what’s inside. It’s going to be incredibly exciting. We have fantasised a lot about what it might contain.”
Authorities said the notebooks and documents would be examined in detail over the coming days.