Skeptics among us have always looked upon the Kensington Runestone with a raised eyebrow and maybe, a wink or two.
The story had all the elements of a chamber-of-commerce-inspired tall tale, somewhat along the lines of Paul Bunyan, the north country's gigantic lumberjack.
Discovered by Kensington farmer Olaf Ohmann in 1898, the stones were originally seen as evidence that Vikings visited the Alexandria area centuries ago. As time passed, some accused Ohmann of pulling a joke on the community by chiseling the stone's runes and planting it in his field himself.
Now, the joke may be on the skeptics since the latest research indicates the stone may actually be an artifact left by Norwegians and Swedes who sailed up the Great Lakes in the 1300s. It boggles the mind to think that eight Goths (Swedes) and 22 Norwegians could have journeyed from Scandinavia to central Minnesota some 700 years ago. Perhaps the difficulty of that journey accounts for the good-natured rivalry that exists today between some Swedes and Norwegians.
Modern methods of testing the runestone surpass those of earlier years when the Kensington Runestone came under suspicion. Unless the scientists are in on a new hoax, it looks like the Kensington Runestone just might be the real thing.
Brainerd had better start looking for ways to authenticate the Paul Bunyan story. Is it possible he and Babe the Blue Ox really could have created Minnesota's 10,000 lakes by leaving behind puddles from their massive footsteps?
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