The secret birthplace of Belle Gunness

My blog have now reached more than 2000 views, and I will “celebrate” this with a new post about one of the most used search-words to reach my blog, that is “Belle Gunness”. Of course, 2000 is nothing compared with the pink blogs who write about what to wear and how to put botox in the lips. But thats how it is. I find it more interesting to search the hidden secrets, beauty or nature in my local environment. Or other places.

Belle Gunness (born as Brynhild Paulsdatter Størseth in 1859) was a norwegian-americal serial killer. That is, before she emigrated to America in 1881 she probably was a quite normal, young norwegian woman. But she was born and raised in poverty on a very small farm in Selbu. In Selbu (4000 inhabitants today) there are no signs that tell you Belle Gunness was born here. Or showing the way to her birthplace. Actually there are no road going there, but there is a farm road not so far away. It takes you up into the hills.

There are no houses left were Belle Gunness was born. The place is now just some grazing fields in the middle of the forest, but the local history association have put a small sign that shows were Belle Gunness was born. If you can find it. I had to ask some people living nearby to find the place. And it was not easy. And I was told it was not every year people trying to find this place, high ut above the rest of the village Innbygda in Selbu. More photos from Belle Gunness birthplace.

This is the only picture that exists that shows the small farm were Belle was born (the one at the top), and it is not a very good one. If you read norwewgian there are some more infomation on Belle in Norway on this link, by the local historian Torger Størseth (and also something in english).

The first time I went to Belle Gunness birthplace was six years ago with Torger Størseth and Bruce Johansen (right) from La Porte County Historical Society (USA). The only other creature visiting the place was a cow.

Since then the sign have fallen down, been moved a few meters, and there is now a small fence around it. It is still not much to be seen. But it still feels strange to be on this place.

There is nothing at the Selbu village museum about Belle Gunness. But there is a small and new private museum at Granby Gård that tells the history about some of the thousands of people from Selbu that emigrated to America beacause of poverty some hundred years ago. Among them Belle Gunness.

Granby Gård together with musicians and students from the cultural school in Selbu presented Alias Belle Gunness, a musical play last spring. Based on a play and music by Anne Lorentzen.

Some photos from this play staged in Selbu. It was actually quite good!


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