Meet Storsjöodjuret, the Legendary Swedish Lake Monster That Rivals Nessie

Andreas Eriksson, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Andreas Eriksson, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Loch Ness in Scotland isn't the only European destination that boasts a legendary lake monster: Sweden claims to be home to a mythical, aquatic beast of its own. Storsjöodjuret, an underwater creature said to occupy the depths of Lake Storsjön, has been an important part of Swedish folklore for centuries, according to Mysterious Universe.

Like the Loch Ness Monster and Lake Champlain's Champ, Storsjöodjuret has been described as having a humped back and a long neck and tail. It has grayish-brown skin with a yellow underbelly, a dog-like head, and a body anywhere between 10 and 42 feet in length, according to people who claim to have seen the creature.

Similar to claims that Nessie is actually a plesiosaur, one popular theory contends that Storsjöodjuret is a leftover from prehistoric times. During the Ice Age, the story goes, the animal got trapped in the lake and survived to present day.

The legend of Storsjöodjuret is significant for its longevity. The earliest recorded mention dates back to 1635, when the vicar Morgens Pedersen immortalized the creature in a folktale that describes two trolls brewing a concoction that creates "a strange animal with a black serpentine body." In an 1878 sighting, a local mechanic reportedly saw something craning its neck past the water's surface. He described it as having a "snake-like head that was larger than what I figured the neck could support."

Over the years, hundreds of people have claimed to have spotted Storsjöodjuret in the lake. The mythical monster is so well-known in Sweden that in 1986, the Jämtland county administrative board declared Storsjöodjuret to be an endangered species. But its protected status was removed in 2005, so—as is the case with Bigfoot in Texas—hunting this hypothetical beast is technically fair game.

[h/t Mysterious Universe]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Fried Beer Exists—and We Have Texas to Thank (or Blame) for It

You can have your beer and eat it, too.
You can have your beer and eat it, too.
Kristy, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

For anyone who thinks beer can qualify as a meal, we have some non-scientific evidence to support your claim: it’s shaped like ravioli, it tastes like a soft pretzel, and it’s filled with warm, yeasty deliciousness.

It’s deep-fried beer.

The story behind this culinary triumph began more than 10 years ago at a bar in Texas, where Mark Zable and his wife were scanning another uninspired menu with the same few finger foods. Zable made an offhand comment about how the bar should offer fried beer, and the couple realized it wasn’t such a bad idea—especially for the state fair.

Zable, a corporate recruiter by day, was no stranger to fair fare. As he told NPR, his father had opened a Belgian waffle stand at Texas’s state fair in the 1960s, and Zable himself assumed control after about 30 years. He experimented with new items to enter into the Big Tex Choice Awards food competition—sweet jalapeño corn dog shrimp and chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls were two of his innovations—but nothing had won him a prize … yet.

Though the concept of fried beer was wacky enough to show real promise, execution proved difficult. Dropping liquid into a deep-fryer is a good way to get splattered with boiling oil, and Zable spent more than two years trying to devise an edible vessel that could both contain the beer and protect the chef. Finally, his 4-year-old son inspired a new angle, and Zable landed on a flawless design. Though Zable’s been tight-lipped on the details of that recipe, the Toronto Star reports that it’s essentially soft pretzel dough pressed into a ravioli-like pocket, filled with Guinness, and plopped into the deep-fryer for 15 to 20 seconds.

“It tastes great,” Zable told NPR. “Tastes just like eating a pretzel with a beer.”

Actual deep-fried beer from the 2010 State Fair of Texas.David Berkowitz, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

At last, Zable’s ambitious creation was ready for its debut at Texas’s 2010 state fair. He faced some tough competition at the Big Tex Choice Awards—including fried frozen margaritas, fried lemonade, and fried club salad—but even the other edible beverages were no match for Zable’s savory fusion of beer and bread. He took home the award for “Most Creative,” while “Texas Fried Fritos Pie” clinched “Best Taste.” Together, they’re a match made in state fair heaven.

[h/t NPR]