Town Set to Open Mysterious Century-Old Package

A town in Norway is opening a package marked "can be opened in 2012" on Friday.

By Sam Schulz
|  Friday, Aug 24, 2012  |  Updated 10:29 AM EDT
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As a small Norwegian town prepares to open a mysterious century-old package, locals are speculating on what it could contain. The industrial registrar of the museum where it is kept says he suspects it contains mostly paper, possibly documents, such as the ones shown here.

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"Can be opened in 2012."

That is the inscription on a mysterious package that a former mayor gave a small Norwegian town a century ago — and Friday, the town is opening it.

Local officials are set to unwrap the paper-bound parcel at noon ET, a century after Johan Nygaard presented it to the town of Otta, promising it would "benefit and delight future generations."

"This is exciting. This is something you experience only once in a lifetime," Dagga Erik Pryhn, the mayor of the Sel municipality where Otta is located, said in a segment for Norwegian news website Verdens Gang.

"It's very exciting. We have no idea what's inside, so it'll be extremely thrilling to see what's inside," Knell Voldheim, the industrial registrar for a local museum, told VG Nett. Voldheim is set to participate in the opening of the package.

"We have fantasized a lot about what this can contain, and from the municipality we have heard wishes that it might contain a pile of stocks in oil, so that it could help the municipality," said Voldheim, laughing.

Voldheim said he suspects, based on the parcel's weight (just under seven pounds), that it contains mostly paper, possible documents.

Little is known about the package's provenance. The significance of its timing, though, could be linked to a 1912 town celebration of a 1612 battle that local Otta farmers won over Scottish mercenaries fighting for Sweden, according to Verdens Gang. Nygaard organized the 1912 celebration.

"For myself, I have to say that I don't sit here with expectations that the world will be turned on its head because of the contents of the package. But you never know — there can be something sensational that will give us a proper 'aha' experience," Pryhn said.

Verdens Gang will stream the opening of the package live at 12 p.m. ET.

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