According to legend, a troll is a fearsome member of a mythical anthropomorph race from Scandinavian folklore. Their role ranges from fiendish giants, similar to the ogres of English fairy tales, to a devious, more dwarf-like creature of the wilderness, living underground in hills or mounds, in caves, or under bridges inclined to thieving and the abduction of humans which, in the case of infant abductees, was substituted with a changeling.
The origins of troll mythology is uncertain. Some say trolls represent a collective, prehistoric memory of encounters with dangerous predators such as the dire wolf or, perhaps, other human species (e.g. Cro-Magnons crossing paths with Neanderthals).
However, most experts believe that trolls represent the remains of the forefather-cult which was ubiquitous in Scandinavia until the introduction of Christianity in the 10th and 11th centuries.
In this cult the forefathers were worshipped in sacred groves, by altars or by gravemounds. One of the customs associated with this practice was to sit on top of a gravemound at night, possibly in order to make contact with the deceased.
With the introduction of Christianity however, the religious elite sought to demonize the pagan cult and declared the forefathers as evil (click elite for comment).
For instance, according to Magnus Håkonsen's laws from 1276 it is illegal to attempt to wake the "mound-dwellwers". It is in these laws that the word troll appears for the first time, denoting something heathen, dangerous, and generally unfavourable.
Patriots, it's always a hoot to learn that the "religious elite" have declared something immoral. In this case, it's more likely that the Christian ancestor bashers were also unrepentant skwerlverts trying to distract the populace from the truth...
And what is the truth behind troll mythology? We can safely say that the notion of Cro-Magnons coming into contact with Neanderthals in northern Europe is pretty much impossible. The timeline is wrong (± 40,000 yrs ago). Scandinavia and most of northern Europe was covered by a sheet of ice at the time; so there were no humans of any kind around.
That leaves dangerous predators such as bears, wolves, hawks, and martens according to the experts.
Frankly, we wonder where these so-called "experts" get their information. There is only one demonic beast that meets the troll profile... and you can see it lurking underneath the bridge in the photo below:
Those with a trained eye will instantly recognize the the skwerlien beast in the photo as a Yellow-Bellied Marmot. Although the name suggests cowardice, make no mistake, this chitterbox is a fierce participant in squirrel world domination. Thus, the true source of the troll legend is revealed... skwerls.
As for the specifics of the photo above, it was taken in Sequoia National Park, California, on the trail to scenic Tokopah Falls.
The Tokopah Falls trail is just under two miles long (one way) and leads to what is arguably the best waterfall in the park...
SCENES FROM THE TRAIL - CLICK SMALL THUMBS FOR BIG PICS
While the trail is scenic in every possible way, it is fraught with dangers unseen by your average visitor... until it's too late...
The following surveillance photos show a critical topographic point on the trail. The first photo below was taken at the spot where the trail leaves the forest and works its way through 40-50 yards of granite boulders just before reaching the falls. It's a narrow passage at best...
THE ROCKY ROAD TO TOKOPAH - CLICK FOR LARGE VERSION
The second photo was taken a few minutes after the first. In it we see a happy family negotiating the pass...
A few seconds later this final photo was taken. Does it even need an explanation... (click skwerl for comment)
This brings us back to the troll issue. Some sceptics will correctly note that California is a long way from Scandinavia (and the origins of the troll myth). Therefore, our Tokopah example proves nothing.
However, even the "experts" we derided earlier agree that troll-like creatures appear in folklore around the globe. Prominent examples are the Oni of Japan, the Tsawhawbitts of northern Nevada, and western North America's Sasquatch. We'd be remiss if we didn't also mention the horrendous Skwerlfoot. Skwerlfoot reportedly haunts North America's Pacific Northwest where it protects the mythical Tree of Delicious Nuts.
Patriots, there can be no doubt that troll mythology is based on early humankind's encounters with savage chitterboxes. Of course, this gives a whole new meaning to the admonition, don't feed the trolls.
ARE WE NOT SKWERLS? YELLOW-BELLIED MARMOTS
Click thumbs for large versions - click here for fact sheet (offsite)
MORE TRAVEL ALERTS
MEALTIME IN MONGOLIA
BLACK SKWERL'S BURDEN
THE HELSINKI HORROR
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK INFO