A Treasure Hunting Tale, 1990, Or So

The following extract comes from my book about the Bock Saga and the Temple Twelve, Temporarily Insane.

We got impatient and restless. Lemminkäinen Company was working hard. Almost every day we heard explosions coming from under the Etta Stupa. Bobcats were roaring and trucks rumbled past loaded with granite rubble. They went deeper and deeper into the mountain. We had no idea how far we were from a result. It could happen at any moment, or it could happen in five years’ time. We just kept on waiting; there was absolutely nothing else we could do.

We were all getting on each other’s nerves. We spent hours and days and nights talking and speculating about all kinds of Bock Saga intricacies. We drank tea, ate bread and cheese. That was it. I decided I needed to try something different to get to some sort of result. I’d heard a lot about the three golden bock statues, about how they’d been buried around the same time that the temple had been closed, a thousand years or so ago.

They’d been buried under two oak trees that Ior had pointed out in a place called the Offerlund. It was obviously a place where ritual offering had been performed in heathen times. My idea was to go to this place with a metal detector and see if I could get a reading that would prove the existence of heavy metal objects buried underground. If I could prove that something was buried there, maybe we could start an excavation more easily.

I decided to ask the owner of the land for permission to carry out a non-invasive test. All I wanted to do was walk around the land with a high-tech machine and see if it went bleep. It just so happened that the land was owned by the church of Snappertuna. Soma, Mr Yeah and I approached the minister and asked for his permission. It really wasn’t that big a deal. If the minister had some goodwill, he would grant us access and help with our archaeological research.

It turned out that the minister had no real say in the matter, however, and simply told us to speak to the National Forest Preservation who took care of the place and the whole area around it. Ok, easy. We made an appointment with their office, and after speaking to various people, we were referred back to the church. So, we visited the minister once more, and he referred us to the bishop. After weeks of referrals, we finally had some form of approval. We even found out from the minister’s wife that the church records mentioned the golden bocks! She told us that local stories spoke of these hidden statues, but it was unclear where they were buried.

That wasn’t a problem for us as we knew exactly where to find them. In the via-via group, there were two brothers from Denmark who were Bock Saga fanatics. Yes, I can call them that. There was a difference between their fanaticism and my fanaticism. I had an intellectual hunger and a burning desire for knowledge to make the world a better place. These two brothers, who’d visited Akanpesa often over the last two years, were chaotic madmen. You could see it in their eyes. They were madmen, but they also owned a metal detector company.

They’d offered to investigate the Offerlund for just the cost of petrol and the ferries to get there. We’d tried to make an appointment with them over the phone a few times already, but they’d always cancelled at the last moment. Finally, it seemed they really would make the trip. Soma, Mr Yeah and I waited at the location where we’d decided to meet. It was within walking distance from the Offerlund.

The brothers finally arrived two hours late. As they disembarked their vehicle, they spoke incoherently about things that nobody understood. When they finished unloading the equipment from the truck and screwing it all together, they realised that the main, most sensitive machine wasn’t working. It turned out that they’d forgotten to bring a vital part and now the whole machine couldn’t function.

 It was a three-day trip back to pick the part up. This knowledge increased the Danish scientists’ heartbeats and a larger and faster stream of incoherency flowed from them. This was coupled with a large amount of undeliberate and inefficient movement of unrelated body parts. Soma, Mr Yeah and I watched quietly. Oh, why could things never be normal, we asked each other with silent stares.

I know we were freaks, living a life that couldn’t be described as normal, but why did we always end up attracting even freakier people than us, people who were actually insane? The two Danish brothers had one smaller working device, which was finally assembled. We walked with this towards the oak trees and scanned the area for metal objects. No bleep. We really needed a bigger machine.

We realised that searching for metal in ground that contained heavy granite stones and an abundance of clay with a high metal content was not going to be easy. The brothers felt guilty that they’d let us down and were almost in tears. They’d failed to prove the Bock Saga, which according to them was all that they lived for. We told them to chill out and take it easy, but they left in a more chaotic state than what they’d arrived in. Later we heard that the younger of the two brothers had killed himself and had mentioned the shame and despair he’d felt that day as one of the causes of his depression.

We felt terrible. I mean, the Bock Saga’s important, but not important enough to die for. He could’ve come again on another day with the right equipment. But it’s hard to understand a depressed mind. We also heard that because the brothers came from an important family in Denmark, the newspapers had gotten hold of the story and connected the Bock Saga to yet another death. We shrugged it off again, but I tell you, we never got used to all the disasters that followed us and how the media portrayed them.