It was a mystery 100 years in the making.
On Friday, the contents of a mysterious package from Otta, Norway were finally revealed. The package, which dates back to 1912, appeared to hold a collection of historical documents, letters, newspapers and national decorations.
The unveiling was part of a celebration that included musical performances and a grand opening on stage. It was live-broadcasted by the Norwegian news outlet, Verdens Gang, which had been the first to report on the package.
During the event, the mayor of the Sel municipality in Norway snipped the rope around the package, as two directors of a local museum in Gudbrandsdal held onto it wearing gloves. The directors explained that they were opening the package from the back in an effort not to ruin the writing on the front, which had instructions that said, “May be opened in 2012.”
Tension rose when the museum directors got through the first level of packaging, only to come upon another layer of paper with another rope tied around it. Then, they finally got to the actual items, including a white banner with gold tassels that said “Fra Kongen” which translates to “From the King.” There were several other banner and flag-like decorations in the national colors of red, blue and white.
“This is like gold for us museum people,” one of the museum directors told the audience.
As a video about the package previously released on the Verdens Gang website explained, a man named Johan Nygard gave the package to town administrators, telling them that its contents would “benefit and delight future generations.”
According to the video, little is known about Nygard, but he helped to plan a celebration for the 300-year anniversary of a battle that the townsmen won against Scottish mercenaries in 1612. That fact led some to speculate that the items in the package might be tied to the anniversary. Sure enough, among the documents inside were telegrams that the museum workers said were related to the celebration of the victory, and committee work for what might be a memorial of the battle.
Among the items discovered were letters from the United States, as well as newspapers from 1914 and 1919. (Nygard held onto the package himself for several years, according to Verdens Gang‘s live coverage.)
The museum workers are expected to give a full resume of the contents later on Friday.