Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Born of Nordic lineage in Vorkuta, Siberia, Fenrir Osmundsen was known by only a few, and now his tombstone lies almost forgotten in a cemetery on the isle of Bukkstappen in the far reaches of Norway. He had lived in the European capitals of hedonism as a youth but those were strange places to him. He had no desire for the ostentation of high society, no love for the denizens of decadence and no fascination in the pursuit of wealth. The Omundsen's had lost much of their fortunes in the Cossack rebellions on the great Russian Steppes, fleeing in terror as the oligarchies tumbled and tyranny gave way to the cold brutalities of reprisal. Fenrir turned his back on his people, his duties and his family and bought a whaling vessel in the port of Severodvinsk. From there he charted the Kara Sea which begot the White Sea which, after a week of tempestuous and stormy sailing, gave way to the vast expanse of the Barents Sea. Not much is known about his journey to Svalbard, except that he made it. Besides the accounts of a few Whalers who traded with Fenrir, nothing has been learned about his time in Svalbard besides what is to be read in the small journal which he kept. Upon it's discovery in a small hand-constructed shack, it was not known that Fenrir dedicated almost all of his time to the study of the itinerant icebergs in the deep bays and fjords of those most desolate of coasts. From reading Fenrir's notes it seems that he felt a strange affinity with icebergs and that he believed them to be manifesting to him the various 'shades of humanity'. It is also evident that he named them after different emotions. Observe an entry dated the 3rd of May, c1824...

"As I follow Malice, it appears that she is more and more beguiling me, calling me out to sea. Why must she take me such places when she knows of their treachery? I hear the deep groans of her belly as she is torn on the granite-reefs. Her fractures bleed with melt-water and I am powerless. As I have an effect on the icebergs, so too do they upon me. I have so much more work to do if I am to understand such things."

The last entry in his so called "Shades of Humanity - a Metaphysical Study in Glaciology" tells us some tantalizing clues about his last hours and subsequent disappearance. 

"Lo! I have found her! The Numinous One! I will follow her unto the ends of the world and if I must, commit myself to her." - F. Osmundsen, 15th June, c1826.  

Fenrir Osmundsen - The Oceanographer of Kongsfjorden    c1799-1826?

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