Myths of the Rune Stone
For the week of November 1, 2015
In 1989, a Swedish farmer in Kensington, MN uncovered a large rock engraved with letters from the runic alphabet. Though the stone has since been dismissed as a hoax, the myth persists across Minnesota. David M. Krueger, author of “Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America,” discusses the history of the Rune Stone and what the myth reveals about how the Scandinavian immigrant community in Minnesota viewed itself.
- Part 1
(1:16) The history of the Kensington Rune Stone and why some believe the stone is evidence that Vikings were the first Europeans in Minnesota in 1362; (2:20) The evidence Rune Stone supporters believe in; (3:52) Krueger’s experience growing up with the story of the Rune Stone in Alexandria, MN; (4:44) Krueger’s inspiration for writing the book; (6:01) Olof Ohman, the farmer who found the stone; (7:32) The desire in the 19th century to find proof of American explorations before Columbus; (8:36) The Dakota War of 1862 and how the war influenced the creation of the Rune Stone; (11:06) Hjalmar Holand’s role in the Rune Stone mythology
- Part 2
(:24) The myth of the Rune Stone inspired ethnic pride for Scandinavian farmers in the 19th century; (1:38) The Rune Stone story claims the Vikings were sent to America on a Catholic mission; (3:53) Our Lady of the Rune Stone Church in Kensington; (5:02) In the 1960s, 60% of Minnesotans believed Vikings were the first European visitors to the state; (6:35) The Rune Stone has received national attention: it lived in the Smithsonian for a year and traveled to the New York World’s Fair of 1965 and, just this past spring, a Norwegian author traveled in a Viking ship from Newfoundland to the Rune Stone museum in MN; (7:54) How the Rune Stone became a tourist attraction; (9:08) Believers in the stone today; (10:10) Collective memory vs history and how myths create meaning for communities and social groups; (11:12) Similarities to other cultural myths
More information on “Myths of the Rune Stone” can be found here.